Many times when asked who do you admire the most and who can you learn from, many answer, Mother Teresa, Churchill, Charlize Theron, etc., but for me the best teachers I’ve ever had, after my aunt, mi mami Elvirita, who raised me, happen to be the dogs that enter my life. When I was a child living in Ecuador something very traumatic happened to me and the only person that I told was my mother. She had the ability to protect me once I told her about it, but she chose to do nothing. Perhaps it was ignorance, carelessness, well, who knows. Time went by, and I was living in the US with my very first dog, Casey, an American Staffordshire Terrier. He was a handful, to say the least, and because of his breed before he turned a year old, I enrolled him in Obedience I. I wanted him on his best behavior because I knew he had a lot of potential, but also because of his breed. I loved going to the training classes with him, and Casey seemed to enjoy it a lot as well. One of the things the trainer, Janet Bennett, told us was that it is normal to get mad at your dog sometimes. We are human after all, right? But, and this is a big but, you were not to hold a grudge because this would confuse your dog. Dogs live in the moment, unlike us, humans, that allow things from our past continue to bother us. Anyway, Casey truly pushed all my buttons. He was a very difficult and challenging dog with an aggression problem to complicate things even more.
I enjoyed the classes so much that I ended up taking a total of 3 classes, Obedience I, Obedience II and Canine Good Citizen, with the same trainer, and one morning while in the kitchen I had an epiphany: I did not resent my mother anymore. I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I picked up the phone and called her. We talked for about an hour. The exercise I had to do with Casey, over and over and over again, which consisted of once I got angry at him I would correct him and then I had to let go of my anger worked better than I thought. Forget therapy. Casey was the best therapy I could have ever hoped for and what a wonderful beginning this was for me. This happened many years ago.
A couple of months ago, my mother, sister, and only niece, betrayed my confidence in a way that I had never thought possible. To say that I am hurt would be an understatement. I thought about what happened years ago, and I told myself that I am going to allow time and my dogs heal this wound and, the optimist that I am, perhaps get the same outcome I had years ago. I raise my wine glass, just kidding, to a new beginning.
I saw a post that I enjoyed a lot that said something like this, “I feed my dogs. They feed my soul.” This is so true.