Going into my “Animal Girl” mode in this post to share with you some beautiful insights that our dogs can show us in their unique ways if we’ll but pay attention and allow them to do just that. This time we are stretching into trust with two simple canine lessons.
I’ve shared many times how much my American Bully dog, King, has been able to teach and help me as regards my energy, my attitude, my emotions. In the beginning I thought I was helping him when in reality it was the other way around – as is often the case whether people realize it or not. In fact, I’ll digress briefly and state that it is really us that need the rescuing more than they. In fact, more of what is wrong with our animals IS us not them. They just pick up on it all and are so tuned in that it really affects them. Our stress and emotions translate to them without filters because animals just simply receive that information from us the way we do reading a book. They are that tuned in because in their world it is how they communicate the most.
Back to our story…the last two weeks have been very difficult for me and my family. Rather than allowing that space in this blog post, I’ll just refer you to the newsletter I wrote on that: Joy Comes in the Morning. To get more centered so that my emotions weren’t constantly ruling me, one day I decided to just put down any work and simply play with my dogs. They were here in my office together already so I took that opportunity to just sit with them. King rolled onto his back hoping for a tummy rub which I gladly gave him for a bit. Then I did what I often do with my dogs, I stretched him out lol. I just grabbed both of his front legs and stretched him ever so gently. King really likes Donnie and I to do this as did Shadrach and Meshach before him.
Schatzie, my Carolina Dog, on the other hand isn’t too keen on this whole thing. I was in my “weird” Animal Girl state (definition of that: I was called that in a derogatory fashion as a child but I am totally owning it now – it meant I cared more for animals than anything else and that was very true) just living in the moment with my two dogs. I tend to be much more “dog” than human during those moments 🙂 It’s quite fun by the way because it allows you to throw off all those nonsensical titles, analyzing, etc., and simply BE in the moment with them.
When I tried to stretch Schatzie, she held her front legs real close to herself, so I looked at King and said, “Let’s show her how we do this.” He totally got what I was saying because he got up, walked over to me and laid on his back. I called her over and she laid down on her side, then sort of rolled halfway onto her back. I knew she’d do this because I’ve seen her follow King’s lead on these things in the past. She and he both knew he was “showing her the ropes“. She had lived so feral with her uninvolved former humans that she really had to learn how to interact with people. She’s always been people friendly but unversed in our ways is all.
This leg stretching thing is also very much a trust thing as well. Schatzie trusts me, but stretching them out this way isn’t something they do in their own society, it is totally a human thing. So I thought, I’ll just hold one of King’s legs and one of Schatzie’s at the same time and just very gently pull as far as she would allow. She allowed me to do this as I was doing it simultaneously with King – only briefly but it was progress in trust over this very unnatural thing. I am not a dog trainer or behaviorist, this was just me being weird Animal Girl lol.
I was grinning from ear-to-ear after this as I could see King’s total trust and Schatzie working to let go and just allow me to prove I won’t hurt her in any way or take advantage of her vulnerability in that position. She isn’t totally there yet but it’s not like I do this every day either. It is just a “relax into the moment” thing.
Stretching into trust isn’t only from the dog to the human side either…this swings both ways.
Going back to my earlier comments on how King has helped me in reining in my energy and being aware of out-of-control emotions – he has designated himself my therapy dog. I am grateful God blessed us with this boy! Anyway, after this loss my family suffered, I know my emotions had gone out of kilter…way out as I was overwhelmed with grief.
On this particular day, a few days ago, King was looking at me funny all morning. He also left whatever room I was in. When I called him and Schatzie for grooming, he wasn’t at all enthusiastic. Normally when I go to groom them, he is a chipper, happy, spunky, loving-life little guy…but not this particular day. He waited his turn, as Schatzie normally goes first as befits her status in their two-dog pack. When I got to him and started grooming him, he gave me his warning snarly lip that always alerts me to the fact that my energy and emotions are wrongly aligned.
It would take a while to explain how I learned all this. I am not a psychologist, counselor or psychiatrist. I simply know and understand my dogs and I also am too familiar with my own quirks.
When he did that I looked at him sternly for a minute and then came my usual “ah ha” moment. Recognizing what was happening, I was able to take my thoughts and emotions captive, and release that whole tension I was obviously carrying around. Following that, King’s eyes softened and he came over to me almost apologetically as he does saying, “I’m sorry Mom but it has to be done.” I know some of you won’t believe me or maybe think I’m a weirdo. I’m okay with that. I know what I know and that King has helped me tremendously.
He was gifted to us through a friend as the stories here on this blog reveal. I know it was a purposeful gift on the part of our friend Mike being used of God to gift us this special boy. And of Schatzie to be the loyal, loving companion she is.
We thought they needed us, but in reality it is a mutual need…and we continue this journey, stretching into trust.
Until next time…
Have a pawsitively tail waggin’, NATUROPATHICALLY healthy day!