Friday, February 22, 2008

Perennial Hope: One Dog's Journey

On my web site there's a photo of a little dog peering up at the camera, with the caption, "Archie, learning to trust." His wonderful guardians, Melissa & Nick, gave Archie a second chance (or maybe his third or fourth or fifth, since animals cannot tell us where they've been and what they have had to endure before they arrive in our lives.) However, they do know that somebody shot him. This poor little dog has a pellet in his body.

When I met Archie at a client consultation this past summer, it was evident by his body language that he was quite wary of strangers, and he emitted several warning growls. However, he had a trainer, and we all believed that by working together his life could be turned around with consistency, structure, and kindness.

Recently I told his Mom, "I really hope that some day Archie will come to my lap." She assured me that each day he was becoming a happier, more secure little guy. When I arrived for a four day stay with him yesterday, Archie greeted me at the door with a wagging tale! That evening, sitting on the sofa with a wonderful book (Pay It Forward), he sat across from me on the love seat. Much to my surprise, he jumped to the floor, walked over to me, and stared into my eyes. He held the gaze (unusual since staring is usually an indicator of a challenge and possible aggression in the animal kingdom). I talked to him in a soft, reassuring voice, wondering what he would do next.

Suddenly, he jumped up on the sofa, curled in the crook of my leg, his little head resting on my foot, and closed his eyes. My heart did a little leap of joy. Archie is beginning to believe that he is safe, and that he is loved.

Most dogs embody what I call perennial hope. That belief that something good is coming. Thankfully, Archie still had that; he had not given up on the potential goodness of life.

This entry is dedicated to all the compassionate rescuers like Melissa & Nick who open their hearts and homes to the abused, the neglected, the discarded.

The people who demonstrate the goodness of life by providing forever homes for animals, giving them another chance.

After all, isn't that what all creatures deserve?

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