A Leading Perspective

Pragmatic insights for the leader in you

Pathetic Dog, Lesson in Empathy

Our minds will look ahead when fear is left behind.


My ex-husband, Steve, and I share joint-custody of our 3 year old Rhodesian Ridgeback, Lucy.  Steve, technically, has full custody but I agree to watch her when he travels, which he happens to be doing this week.

photoAs you can see, Lucy is less than thrilled with this arrangement.  An otherwise happy and personable dog with Steve, she becomes this sullen  “I don’t feel like doing anything but look pathetic” dog with me.

Also “substituting” this week is a young woman in my son’s 1st Grade classroom. Bless her heart, she’s getting some push back and other inappropriate behaviors from the students.

And finally, my daughter’s soccer coach is traveling with another team and therefore, there is a coach stepping in for training this week.  My daughter and almost everyone else on the team are not happy with this arrangement.


Change is hard.  

It’s hard for dogs, little kids, teenagers and adults.

How can you help?


I think you can help by talking about it.  (Communicate?  Really?  What a shocker!)

Talk about it!


  • Prepare the person for change;
  • Outline the parameters of the change and better yet, tell him/her all of the things that WON’T change;
  • Describe or define your expectations during the transition;
  • Check in early and often to make sure he/she is ok, behaving properly, and that he/she is knowledgeable, if not anticipating, what is yet to come;
  • Recognize his/her effort and/or the result of his/her actions;
  • Whether it is positive or negative, offer him/her feedback; and, more importantly
  • Solicit feedback regarding your own actions.

This obviously won’t work well with poor Lucy…I don’t know how to speak Dog. However, just as I would need to do with my kids, my colleagues, my employees or anyone who was going through a transition or change, I need to convince her that she will be ok.

Because when it comes right down to it, that’s what she’s afraid of!



Fear is why people resist change!


Eliminate the fear, and you’ll see a positive result.  

Best of luck to you…and let me know if you’re interested in dog sitting.



ChangeCommunicationsEmployee EngagementEmployee RelationsEncouragementEngagementHuman ResourcesLeadershipPerformance ManagementRecognitionRole of HRSHRMWorkforce Satisfaction

Heather Kinzie • February 21, 2014

Previous Post

Next Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published / Required fields are marked *

WordPress spam blocked by CleanTalk.