Yesterday evening was SPRC meeting. I arrived at the church about fifteen minutes early to prepare, center myself and unlock the doors. When I pulled up there was a man (a stranger) standing in the church parking lot. It was dark. He had a hooded sweatshirt pulled over his head, partially obscuring his face. (It was windy.) He had most likely simply arrived early for the Boy Scout meeting, but there was no way to tell for sure.
In the past (due to my history and ~ yes ~ the fact that I am a woman) I would not have gotten out of my car. I probably would have left and come back closer to 7:00 when people would have started arriving for the meeting. However, this time I had Bady ~ German Shepherd Dog extraordinaire. As we got out of the car the stranger said, "Nice dog." I smiled and said, "Thank you." Bady looked at him and gave a nice 'big dog' bark. Nothing threatening, but it was as if he were saying, "Don't get any ideas, Dude. This is my Mumma." We then walked ~ calmly and assertively ~ into the church.
At a busy church, situations like this come up all the time and I've always struggled with them ~ strangers in the parking lot ~ strangers in the building. Let's just say Bady got a few extra kisses and some peanut butter in his 'kong' last night. Because he is doing his job, I am better able to do mine.