28 February 2012

it's the small steps

This past weekend was really lovely. I cannot believe we may have escaped winter with very little snow and intense cold. I have no complaints! I spent a good bit of time outside, a lot of that time, with my dogs. I have been working with a dog trainer for about a year now. E left me with two huge dogs to be responsible for and when the two together weigh about the same as I do, it can be difficult feeling confident walking them! He was brilliant with dogs, so when he was around it never occurred to me that I maybe wasn't. But, I am happy to say that a year later, after letting go of my ego enough to admit I need help with them, and lots of love and time together, the three of us have come along way. It is funny to watch the growth and change of the dogs alongside of myself. Mirror image actually. Anyone who thinks that dogs do not absorb and reflect what is going on around them is crazy. These two have absorbed ALOT over the past few years, and I am no longer sad to say that—and then in turn, do something about it. Both for them and for myself. I had a simple goal of feeling confident getting Oskar out again and walking him by Spring—a walk that didn't involve him pulling me along, or being nervous I wasn't strong enough to handle them, or things feeling out of control. Things sort of spiraled after E died, and there was a lot of fear and self-doubt when it came to stepping in and handling all of the responsibilities myself. Taking care of two very powerful breeds and getting them adjusted back to any sort of normalcy required me being able to feel confident and strong and happy myself. None of these characteristics have existed in me for quite some time now, and only recently have I been able to face this truth. I am grateful I had the pull to go ahead and get started down this path, long before I would be ready to walk it. This is true for any movement forward that I have been able to make over the past two years. In this case, I had one dog acting out by tearing things up in the house and the other being so sad and nervous, I had no choice but to stop and recognize they were grieving with me and it was my responsibility to help us heal. Slowly, but surely, the dog trainer has retaught me how to communicate well with them. She has helped me observe what needs to shift, as well as, the things that had already begun to change. We set realistic goals for my situation. No longer looking at what I should have been able to do, or what every other dog owner was already doing, but only what it was that I needed to accomplish. Just that one lesson, that one approach to changing this situation began to spill over into the other aspects of my life and vice versa. All of this letting go, and healing, and facing fears, and not comparing has turned out to be an avenue for all three of us to heal.

So on Saturday I looked up and realized I was there. I was moving down the road, with a confidence I had not felt in a long time, and my dog walking calmly by my side. It sounds so simple, but to literally SEE a tangible change in my life after working towards it, and waiting for it, well, it was a reminder that I am in fact not doing everything wrong. That maybe, just maybe, things will turn around a bit if I keep at it.


Faith said...

So happy for you! What a giant leap in all of the dog training sessions you have been doing. Keep on keepin' on!

Claire said...

Those dogs are amazing and they have an extraordinary mother. I'm so happy you identified the need to have a little help with them which rippled into something beautiful.

And may I say that pic of Oskar in the upper right hand side makes me uber happy. :-)

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