Heart Reading … Day 81
The pursuit of wellness VI
Day 6 of 10.
I dedicated a whole chapter of my book, Beyond Karen: emerging from the depths of an epic epithet, to my hound dog Rosie because we can learn a lot about trauma and healing from dogs if we observe carefully. They can be the epitome of patience. They have their little quirks. But in terms of “pursuing wellness” they are refreshingly straightforward about their needs and honest with their feedback.
We do our best to be proper guardians to our companions — sometimes we get it wrong and sometimes we get it right. Today I may have gotten it right.
Rosie has a sister named Luna who we believe experienced some troubles in foster care before she was “rescued” and brought to our home. We think she may have vision issues which is what I sometimes say to others walking by when she growls at them … or their dogs … or their kids. Today she growled once at a little boy — no big deal, the mom was cool and said I had my hands full — and once at a little girl, which could have been a big deal.
I drove the dogs to a beach that lets dogs run around unleashed. It’s a feeling I wish I could give them all day every day. They first suffered through a few of my heart photo taking adventures and sat, gave me high fives, and seemed “good” so I let them both off leash — they ran together and rolled around in the sand and then headed for the water. I didn’t see any other dogs so I took my heart (featured in every heart reading) out of my pocket and snapped a nice picture on the beach.
In that moment the dogs quietly ran away to another dog and, by the looks of the two humans nearby were not welcome, you know, “persona non grata.” So I got there as fast as I could, apologized, coaxed Luna over to me, picked her up and walked back toward the leashes and sadly leashed her up again. On the way out she lunged at the little girl.
This might be where the story ends for most of us dog guardians. But because I am feeling this 10 day pursuit of wellness, I noticed that as soon as we got home I sat on the floor with Luna and showed her some love. I felt she needed it because she had just gone through a lot too.
Hurt people hurt people. And dogs have feelings too.
On the floor I gently stroked her back and her front leg until her eyes rolled around in her head and closed, until her mouth fell slack and her face and legs got twitchy. She opened her eyes with every little sound outside. For all her potential vision issues she has bionic ears and a nose that could get anyone home.
This would normally be where the story would end for me, but I was dialed into Luna and noticed the way she’d pulled her paw back from my first touch as if to say, “I don’t trust you right now.” It took a bit for her to fully rest or “let go” of that experience but she did nap for about two minutes and, as if she still didn’t feel comfortable enough, suddenly woke, got herself up, and went to her chair. At that moment Rosie (who was lying a few feet away) twisted her head to look at me, plunked it back on the floor and let out a heavy sigh.
After another minute Luna got up and went to the bedroom. After another minute she came back. She walked right up to me, still sitting in the spot we had been at, and kissed my face. That’s where this story ends.