Rescue dogs are extraordinary. They've been through hell--negligence, abuse, abandonment. They've learned that humans are dangerous. That food must be fought for and protected. That sleeping too soundly is a death sentence. Their trust has been betrayed in every way you can think of.
And yet they're willing to trust again. Not just that; they're willing to put it all behind them and move forward.
If we let them.
I used to feel sorry for them. How could I not? I found them a day away from death, maybe even hours. I found them with gashes, with gunshot wounds, sick inside and out. Poor baby, I'd whisper against their matted fur. Poor, poor baby.
It took forever for the dog to move forward.
No, correction: it took forever for me to move forward so that the dog could, too. I, and my pity--my memory--were holding them back.
When a trainer friend taught me this, I made an effort to suppress my pity and treat the dog as a non-traumatized animal. Lo and behold--the dog began to act as a non-traumatized dog.
Which brings me to my point. The image we have of someone--or of ourselves--will show up in our behavior. It will reinforce that image. It will, in a very literal sense, make that image a reality.
Memory is a gift--but it can be a curse. Be careful what memories you hold on to, what images you project. About others, but also, perhaps most importantly, about yourself.
Pity--and everything else--is in the eye of the beholder.
~ * ~
Thanks for the visit, and happy A-to-Z-ing!
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