We were out for our nightly walk along the water’s edge when the little guy stopped abruptly in front of us, one foot scraping the pavement acting as a brake, the other planted firmly upon his scooter.

“I thought you were walking a goose!” he exclaimed. Our dog Bailey stood by my side panting and I looked down at him and considered how he might be mistaken for a goose – the long legs and top-heavy body, perhaps?

“No, just our dog.” I replied trying not to laugh. I was struck immediately by the boy’s confidence and open inquisitiveness, his genuine curiosity and lack of fear. We were strangers to him after all. He was roughly seven years of age and so I looked around for a parent or older sibling as was normally the case in the suburbs from which I came.

“He’s not very friendly though.” I warned as he took a step closer.

“Why not?’ he questioned.

“I’m not really sure.”  I answered.

“Maybe it’s the food. Or maybe it’s the family.” He offered, trying to make sense of what might make a dog unhappy and therefore unfriendly.

“Yeah, it’s probably the family…” I conceded, not really having given Bailey’s grumpiness much thought up until then. Motherly guilt was slowly setting in.

“We had a cat once that hated us” he shared. “Maybe he hates you.”

Well, that’s a punch to the gut. I looked down at my dog who appeared to be patiently waiting for this pointless exchange to end. “Yeah, you might be right.”

“Yeah, it’s probably the family.” Were the last words the boy spoke to us before pushing off on one foot and scooting away.

Wait! I wanted to yell after him. We’re nice people! But it was too late. He’d obviously drawn his own conclusions.