After several experiences, I now use this model as a frame of reference, and call this my DOG THEORY.
Weeks back, when the landlords had a painter come to take care of the outside of the house, I had an immediate dislike of the man. I don’t usually have this happen, and I don’t usually make quick judgements of people, so I dismissed the feeling. When Emma Lou ran out to say hello, he was very curt with her, which I thought was odd. She is after all, really cute. Once painting began, he told me to block off the pet door because he needed to paint the deck. He said, “SHE likes to come and poop on the deck.” Not calling her by name, but SHE. At this point, I really didn’t like him. Turns out that empathic hit was accurate how he treated my time, space, and belongings, when he rushed through the job, lost one of my keys, and threw my stuff into the middle of the yard.
I had a new friend at church awhile back, who came to visit at the house. He was nice to the girls but saw them as “dogs”, if you know what I mean, talking of pack animal mentalities and hierarchies. When I explained I couldn’t stay out late at night because I needed to take care of the girls, he ignored that need and told me they’d be just fine, and for me to come out and have fun. He later showed himself as someone who cared very little about what I needed.
And finally, I recently had my propane converted to gas, thanks to my great landlords. The process will save me a ton of money on bills. The oven was converted and apparently, there was some kind of problem with the appliance. While baking, the whole house smelled like gas! I called the gas company who sent over the crankiest man I’ve ever met. He came into the house and as Emma jumped up to say hello he screamed at her, “Stay down!” He wasn’t even nice about it. He explained poorly to me what the problem was with the stove, and when I didn’t understand, he snapped at me! Not once, but twice. How he treated Emma was a clear indication, again, how he’d treat me.
So there really is something behind my dog theory. I wish I could take Emma Lou with me everywhere to be able to weed out potential friends and colleagues. For now, I will trust that gut feeling (empathic hit) I first get when I meet people, and not dismiss it.