i_love_freddie: (Giveadamn)
[personal profile] i_love_freddie
Trust...

Yes, trust isn't something I find easy to give. In theory, I believe that everyone deserves to be given a chance until they prove themselves to be untrustworthy. But in reality? I just have too much to lose. A few years ago I had several sessions with a psychologist who came to the conclusion that: growing up in a violent and unpredictable environment led to develop core beliefs of the world being unsafe and others being unreliable and either absent or dangerously intrusive and abusive.

Don't get me wrong, there are a few people I can trust. A handful of family members, my intimate partners, a few good friends. But on some level, my anxiety makes me suspicious. Human beings, by nature, are unpredictable. People die. People leave. People have their own issues and problems and addictions – there is not a person in existence who stays the same. No one can give me what I truly need... consistency.

**********

I find myself drawn to animals. Whether soft and fluffy, hard and scaly, big, small... animals are so very simple compared to humans. They have individual personalities and quirks, that is true. But an animal will never get jealous, try to manipulate, act maliciously, or abandon you because they have decided they would rather have that new shiny owner next door. If a dog starts acting out of character, it is not just having a bad day and being spiteful – it is scared or ill or hurt.

I seem to have a talent for attracting damaged dogs. Cory, my beautiful German shepherd, was a tiny ball of fur hiding under the table from the big, terrifying world. I heard many times that there was no hope for this dog – what can you do with a dog so scared that he attacks strangers in the street, goes for other dogs, cowers from fluttering leaves, tree branches swaying in the wind, refuses to walk past balloons, plastic black bin bags, snowmen and endless other objects?

And later on I reluctantly acquired Poppy, a little Yorkshire Terrier who had had multiple homes, who had been abused. When she came to me, she cowered and snapped when I tried to touch her. When I picked her up, her little body was stiff. Dominant by nature, she refused to do anything I asked of her and fought me at every single turn. She bit me, she attacked Cory. Scoldings failed, praise failed, rewards failed. What can you do with a dog who is unwilling to even try to work with you?


This is Cory now:

 photo IMG_0331_filtered_zpscs2qe7jw.jpg


This is my Poppy now:

 photo 2015-09-07 13.13.14_zpsasegzl3y.jpg

Both are unrecognisable now - happy and relaxed and confident dogs. They are happy because they know I will never give up on them. They are relaxed because they know that I am pack leader and that I am ready to deal with any danger. They are confident because I have set boundaries in place and praise and reward for doing the right thing.

Me? I am terrified. I have one dog who is so in tune with my body language and my emotions that I can't fool him for a second, and another who is quick to jump on any sign of weakness or vulnerabilty because she feels that our pack needs a strong leader.

Most days, I don't even trust myself.

But they trust me and that is enough. It has to be.

Date: 2015-12-08 11:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashgaelsonaria.livejournal.com
I could have written this, tho I know from experiance that humans are not the only animals that can be jeliouse which is truely just an expression of possesiveness. My dog is extreamly possesive and gets very jeliouse.
I chose her the day she was born - she was the largest in the litter, her birth assisted (the only reason I was over there), was recesitated and when her dame went to sniff her she pushed her away.
I had been trying to find a low shed poodle mix to train as a seazer/health aid dog but something just clicked.
She is not an alpha type and not brave - shes always got my back, and in a litter of mostly lab with aketa and rottwiler in the mix the aketa came out big in her so she is definatly not low shed but she is a perfect match. That dubble coat can be a pain.

Date: 2015-12-08 04:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] redlightlove.livejournal.com
Your dogs are beautiful!!

Date: 2015-12-08 06:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] murielle.livejournal.com
Yes! A thousand times yes. You write the truth.

Date: 2015-12-09 01:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
Your dogs are way cute :) I've been talking with my therapist lately about a similar theme, how I've got these "survival skills" from growing up in an unpredictable environment, and coming to terms with the way those skills have affected me as an adult. It is hard to trust sometimes, and animals are a great outlet for trust.

Date: 2015-12-09 03:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] prog-schlock.livejournal.com
Oh, I am such an animal person. You totally had me as soon as I scrolled down to Cory's handsome muzzle-in-muzzle-thing and I almost squeed myself silly when Poppy appeared. Oh! That face!

Sorry, I know there was more to your post than that, but... Squee! Doggies!

Isn't it amazing how they trust us despite the fact that we humans are wrecks? Animals are amazing.

There's not as many dog songs out there as you might think and most of them include the word "Snoop" in the title. However, Jane Siberry has a delightful song called Everything Reminds Me Of My Dog which I think will ring true for you too. :D
Edited Date: 2015-12-09 03:51 am (UTC)

Date: 2015-12-11 12:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellison.livejournal.com
I love this response! You're an awesome comment-er! :D Also, I love animals like crazy too, so "squee doggies!" was also my reaction. ;)

Date: 2015-12-09 07:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halfshellvenus.livejournal.com
I believe animals can be jealous (usually of someone else getting the attention, and more often if it's a person or other animal they don't get along with)! But they're typically not spiteful or malicious, just worried, mad or scared.

This showed very nicely what a comfort animals can be when you need the world to be less unpredictable and less judgmental. But you also showed what your own constancy has given both of your pets-- and it has transformed both of them! That friendship helps both ways. :)

Date: 2015-12-09 11:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eternal-ot.livejournal.com
Wonderful take on the prompt..and very realistic..the pics helped too..A good read ! :)

Date: 2015-12-09 12:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adoptedwriter.livejournal.com
They're beautiful "babies"! Glad they have a loving home with you! Nice take on the topic. AW

Date: 2015-12-09 03:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bleodswean.livejournal.com
Some hard truths here. Your dogs look wonderful and surely that is a reflection of your consistency and commitment to them!

Date: 2015-12-10 07:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] majesticarky.livejournal.com
Glad to hear about corey and poppys improvement day to day! Sadly our german shepherd seems to somehow get worse as he gets older, not better. Recently he attacked and bit a random stranger crossing the sidewalk when my parents werent being 100 percent careful. Hes got at least 4 years left so we really hope there will be no more incidents like that.

Date: 2015-12-10 01:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] uf0s.livejournal.com
awww, i loved this :D

Date: 2015-12-10 06:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] whipchick.livejournal.com
I'm not a dog person, and it is so interesting to read your insights on the relationship between human and dog - thank you!

Date: 2015-12-10 07:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lordrexfear.livejournal.com
Wonderful animals. Also clearly written and open.

The reason I don't want animals in my life are for all the same reasons you do. I don't trust myself and I don't trust falling in love again with something I know is shortlived. I admire and respect all who have the time, energy and will power to raise the universe's most wonderful creatures.

Date: 2015-12-11 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellison.livejournal.com
I love this entry so much. I, too, have anxiety and it's hard. And at first when I got my dog and he was kind of a mess, barking at every sound, scared of every little thing, I was like wtf did I just get myself into?? But then I realize he needed me, and I needed him, and we're working on stuff, and he's getting so much better. His confidence is growing, and it's awesome to see. I love that he trusts me, even when the world is scary. I wish he wouldn't chase the cat away from the table when there is food there that he thinks ought to be his, should any fall on the floor, but we're working on stuff like I said.

Your dogs are beautiful and so are your words. Well written, for sure!

Date: 2015-12-11 01:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alycewilson.livejournal.com
Dogs are such great friends. I used to call my late Una the Nurse Dog, because she would look after me when I was sad or sick.

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