The Birth of A New Man
It all started with a brindle Boxer named Cassidy. She was an abuse case rescued by a local group. I was asked to watch her for a few days until a foster home could be found. They told me that she would be no bother, she was very shook up and not trusting of humans. They said she would just sit in the corner, shaking from time to time. At this point in my life, I was still recovering from some traumatic events of my own. I wasn’t eating properly, and sleep came an hour or so at a time, sometimes waking frightened and perspired. I remember laughing as I thought how I would be in my corner, shaking from time to time. Well Cassidy sat in her corner, as predicted. It was several hours that passed before she became curious about me. I had been giving her space, it felt like the right thing to do.I wasn’t a dog trainer yet, I knew nothing of dog psychology. Cassidy finally found the courage to come lay down on the floor near me. I extended no hand, offered no gesture of reassurance. A half an hour later, she rested her chin on the couch and looked up at me. To be honest, this was my first experience with a Boxer and I kind of thought she was ugly.
That aside, it seemed like she wanted to come up on the couch. I invited her to join me and she happily accepted. She rested her head on my lap, and let out a deep sigh. I found her breathing to be extremely relaxing. I soon fell asleep and woke up several hours later. Looking down at this sweet dog, I laughed as I thought how beautiful she was. It took a few minutes to realize, but I felt great. I was refreshed, and very hungry.
This brindle Boxer named Cassidy made years of pent up stress disappear in five hours. And even more amazing at the time, Cassidy seemed at total ease as well. She starting eating the food that I left out for her. After that, she slapped her front paws down but kept her rear end high. Her little nubby tail was going like it had a motor in it. She was happy and she wanted to play. Years later I would learn that slapping the paws down in that manner is called a play bow, and her eating was a sign that she wasn’t in distress anymore.
THAT’S NOT ALL I LEARNED.
I have an innate ability to connect with most dogs. It’s an energy that vibes very well with canine energy. Even with a weak state of mind, I had something of comfort to offer Cassidy. And she reciprocated with something I needed. Our bond that day helped us both move forward. If I had tried to approach her before she was ready, she would not have trusted me, she may have even bitten me. If I used logic and reason, tools of the human world, she would not have felt secure. My attempt to reassure her would be perceived with uncertainty, pushing her deeper into her shell. By showing patience and allowing her to adjust at her own at her own pace, she saw a leadership quality. That’s when she felt secure enough to approach me. By allowing her to be in my space and still offering no gestures, she became even more comfortable. It’s so counter-intuitive, but it makes perfect sense. I earned her trust, and I felt empowered. We had seven great years together until she abruptly passed. We were hiking in one of our favorite spots when her heart failed. I carried her out of the woods and tried to get her to a vet in time to revive her, but I knew it was too late. Of course I was devastated, but there was a peace during my time of mourning. She had a great life after overcoming a tough start. She was happy right up until the second she died. She didn’t feel any pain. She set me on a path that would lead to enormous personal growth and happiness for me. This brindle Boxer named Cassidy changed my life.