Dogs are spectacular in their willingness to trust and love unconditionally. Even a dog who has been abused in the past can usually be won over again, with enough patience and love. What about older dogs who have had a stable home that are then given to a shelter and then (hopefully) re-homed? For example, Ginger: She had a home for 5 years, then BOOM, out of the blue, she’s stuck at a shelter for 6-7 months until I came along and rescued her. Given all that, how has she completely adjusted and adapted to me in only two months? Minus a few random quirks, I have virtually no issues with her, no acting out, no devious or distrusting behaviors. She listens to me, cuddles with me, licks me, sits with me when I’m sad, and let’s me pet her.
When we, as humans, have something traumatic happen to us, it can take years before we’re willing to trust and love again, even if what we’re offered is true love, an open heart, and a willingness and patience to support. Why are people so much harder? Why does it take us so much longer to get over being hurt, used, abandoned, or mistreated? Why do we carry everything from a broken relationship into a new one and pollute it? Where is our sense of faith and perseverance? Where is our sense of freedom and commitment? Is it because our memories last longer? Is it because we can hold a grudge longer? Is it just pure fear?
Maybe that’s the big key. Maybe, as humans, we hold onto fear as a safety blanket, whereas dogs are willing to put aside their fear to find out if it’s possible for life to be
good great beautiful again. Their desire for love and companionship is stronger than their fear, or they make their desire stronger.
I don’t know any of the answers to these questions. I am definitely no dog expert, nor human psychologist, but I know that a year ago, I was afraid of a lot of things, to try a lot of things. I lived my life very cautiously. But when my life was threatened by cancer, when my doctor gave me my diagnosis and promised that he would get me through this, my outlook changed. Right then, right there. I knew that if I could beat that, if I could come out of all the treatments, all the emotional pain, the physical pain, the fear of losing my own life before the age of 30, that I could and would do everything in my power to live my life without fear. I would love wholly, fully and unconditionally anyone in my life. I would live and express passionately those values, traits and emotions that I believed in. I would try anything I wanted to try, and I would improve my quality of life daily. I would lean on faith and trust. No longer would fear be a factor.
I know it’s hard for people who haven’t been in that position to understand completely, but I do challenge everyone I meet to try and understand, to think about the fragility of life and live as if there’s no tomorrow. I will not wait for life to find me, I find it every day. My life is full and I have tried more new things in the past few months than I have in the past several years. And I’m very blessed to have adopted a pup who seems to have that same outlook on life. There’s no reason to waste time not trusting, not loving, not experiencing the amazing gifts we’re given.
“Love; it will not betray you
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be
There is a design, an alignment to cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be”
Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More