Ben has been with us for six months – and what an amazing journey it’s been with him. He came into our lives a terrified, mistrustful, highly aggressive, red-zone dog. Today – six months later – though he still has some issues with being dog-reactive and he still can’t be around cats or other small animals, he is the opposite of what he was. Today, he is loving, compassionate, affectionate, comical, comforting, playful, and so much more.
Ben has taught us so much during his time with us that it’s hard to really know who has been the real teacher – us, or him. He’s taught us so much and given us so much that the lines between student and teacher have become blurred. What I do know is that Ben is going to be an amazing dog to his forever family. He will give them everything he has and then some, and along the way, he’ll teach them how to be, just like he’s taught us how to be.
As humans, we have a tendency to lie to ourselves about how we’re truly feeling, especially when we’re stressed. We tell ourselves we’re calm, but if we’re not living that, our animals have no problem showing us what the real truth is. Ben has been a perfect mirror in that regard – and a wonderful teacher. He has given us time, patience, and consistency, and in the process, he has helped us become more aware of our actual truth. By mirroring our energy, he’s helped us learn to recognize when we are being honest with ourselves, and when we’re not. We are grateful to him for being so patient with us; we know we haven’t been easy to teach.
And teaching humans is really what it’s all about, isn’t it? Dogs already know how to be. They only get messed up and become imbalanced because we humans give them the wrong energy, or we nurture the wrong behaviors, or – in extreme cases – humans are just plain mean to their dogs and they create fear, mistrust, aggression, and complete instability and insecurity in their dogs. Our dogs give us the truth of who we really are; they don’t lie to us about that. They can’t. Because they are all about energy and body language – as I’ve said many times before.
Ben has been a phenomenal teacher to us. And as we have learned from him and we’ve applied what he has been teaching us, he has become calmer, more trusting, more affectionate, more compassionate, and much more relaxed. In return, he has worked very hard to overcome the negative impacts of his life before he came to us. Yes, he still has issues that have to be addressed, but just like he’s overcome so many of the challenges and obstacles he had when he came to us, he will overcome these, too. It will take time, patience, and consistency, but he will heal.
These past six months with this amazing dog have literally changed our lives – and in ways far too numerous to even begin to describe. It has been a real privilege and a great honor to have had the opportunity to work with this beautiful boy. We’re going to miss him something fierce when he goes to his forever home.
Have a great day, and remember to stay calm and lead on…