As I wandered back home in the early Sunday evening following a lazy hour spent in the garden of the village pub, I passed several people walking dogs and a few children playing on bikes before I stumbled upon a frail old lady on a mobility scooter, walking her elderly dog.
I say “walking” – the scooter was barely moving over the uneven ground which led through the woods, and I was unsure whether it was the dog which was taking its owner for a gentle exercise or the other way round. It was certainly unclear who was taking the lead.
My initial reaction was one of surprise at the slightly incongruous sight, but only a few minutes later my mind had distilled out a few of the critical dependencies which appeared to be involved in that little excursion.
The owner depended on the dog for love and companionship. And possibly some distraction away from her own frailty and focus onto something or someone else.
The dog depended on its owner for love, companionship and probably food and shelter.
Both depended on the scooter. From what I could see, without it there would be no outdoor strolls, no fresh air for the owner; possibly no short journeys to the village shop; and no exercise for the dog. I wondered, briefly, how many times the scooter had failed or its battery had run flat, denying the owner and her dog the outing they had looked forward to.
It made me think. That little 3-man team (the term “man” here being sloppily used to variously describe the elderly lady, the dog and the scooter) was like a 3-legged stool – all three being fundamental to the operation of the stool. Any scooter-related failure would be catastrophic to the dog and the lady; whilst loss of either the dog or the lady would change forever the life of the other.
I was impressed by the evident determination of each member of the team – not to let the others down. Despite the obvious challenges involved, they were each playing their part and getting on with life as much as they could. How often do we find ourselves in teams where each member plays such a critical role in the lives of the others? And do we take it seriously enough?