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The Gift of a Dog

The Gift of a Dog

The Gift of a Dog

As a newbie trainer, I noticed a couple in my puppy class struggling to pick up the baggie of treats they dropped. Every time one reached down, their puppy would growl and snap at them. I walked over, thinking I intended to help. I spent years learning about dog body language. I read every book I could get my hands on about how dogs think and behave. I trained countless shelter dogs. That was the moment I had worked for; I was going to save the day. 

I reached down to pick up the treats, and the puppy bit me, deep, to the bone of my hand. As I sat in the emergency room, humbled by the fact that no amount of knowledge would ever cause me to be as fast as a dog, I removed the invisible cape I thought I wore as a trainer. And from then on, I watched and listened to dogs much more carefully, giving them more space and time than I thought they needed.

That’s the thing about dogs. They teach us lessons without even trying. 

Gavin and I were running post-move errands this week. And, everywhere we went, he sashayed through the aisles, spreading love here, making someone’s day there, and wiggling with delight to repeat the process with the next person who seemed inclined to engage with us. 

I know a lot is happening in the world, and I’m struggling to understand how I can be of more service and make it a better, safer, more loving place. But, when I’m stuck, I look at my dog and think, maybe it’s one act of love at a time. And I don’t feel as overwhelmed. 

May you be safe and well, and may you feel and share love today and always.