i_love_freddie: (Giveadamn)
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.
i_love_freddie: (Cory)
People are always telling me that I should post more pictures of Cory... so here are a few for you all:

Photos )

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i_love_freddie: (Default)
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August 2017

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