Petri: A dog’s apology for violating your personal space

Please, I had no idea this was frowned upon, so sorry for the face-licking. And the butt-sniffing.

By Alexandra Petri

The Washington Post

“Personal space is important, more important than it’s ever been.”

— Former vice president Joe Biden in an apologetic video posted to Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, as complaints continue to surface from people who found his intimate greetings deeply uncomfortable

Hello hello hello, yes I have just learned about personal space and I would like to apologize very much for all my prior behaviors. I have been bad and I am very sorry. I did not mean to lick your face just now but I was very excited to see you but I now understand that my behavior was wrong and I am sorry, so sorry, that I have been so bad. That whimpering noise you hear is me apologizing for my prior behaviors.

I just want to speak (I am good at speaking, and I am getting better at sitting all the time!) to say that as far as intentions went, I never meant to do anything wrong. Never! I love you! I just wanted to show you my love and respect, my deepest respect! From my perspective it is a deeply respectful greeting to circle someone slowly and then take a deep whiff of their posterior. I am confident that many I have encountered could think of no better way to be greeted! Also, I consider it a sign of love to lean firmly on your shoulders and attempt to lick your face. I am now hearing, I think, that this is not all right? It seems very black-and-white, but then again, so does everything.

I will try my best to learn about personal space. I am willing to be taught new tricks, although given that I am old, I do not know how well it is going to go. But that is what I once thought about staying, and now I am very good at staying. I am not good at shaking hands yet, but I bet we can get there! I would like very much to try because I am very bad at shaking hands and that is why this is happening.

And I have always wanted to heel; I think that is what the country needs, is heeling.

I just want to serve! I try so hard to serve and help! No, I am not certified as a service animal, but I feel that I performed a service. I am not begging, but I can beg!

I understand that norms are changing all the time. For instance, sometimes it is good to be on a couch, and other times it is very bad to be on that same couch, and people slap the couch with a rolled-up newspaper and say, “Off, off!” and this is because of changing norms, which I recognize and respect. Or like remembering when it is OK to eat chocolate. I think it might be sometimes, but then it turns out that it is never.

I am also so, so sorry for my uncanny ability to locate the one person in a room whom my presence makes uncomfortable, to beeline directly for her and to attempt to pepper her face with kisses. That, I now realize, is BAD. Oh, I have been bad and I am so sorry but again I just wanted to love you! I just wanted to love you all and show you respect and I thought this was how! I know this behavior is not fetching. Fetching is when you run after a stick and bring it back.

Please judge me only by my intentions and do not lock me out of the house! Personal space is a new concept to me, but it sounds very important, and I am eager to learn!

Look, to show you that I am sorry, here is something stinky that I picked up in the middle of the road. People like things that are in the middle of the road, I think!

I understand about the new ways. I can learn. I will not do the other things when I meet people. I will just gnaw gently on their shoes. That shows respect, I bet. I hope. It is very confusing.

After all, I am only a dog. I cannot be held to human standards.

Follow Alexandra Petri on Twitter @petridishes.

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