When one thinks of a dog’s life, one typically envisions a mutt stretched out in a sunny spot on the living room floor taking an afternoon nap; a happy-go-lucky puppy with her tongue hanging out as she enjoys the wind in her face on a car ride; a bounding buddy happily chasing a ball. These simple things indeed represent the joy of a dog’s day-to-day existence, and they are sublime.
That being said, balance is key in everyone’s life – human and dog alike. Imagine a life with all work and no play, or all rest and no work. A part of us remains unfulfilled when any of the fundamental elements of a well-rounded life are missing.
Considering the countless horror stories we encounter in dog rescue, we know it is a blessing when dogs have loving homes where they are well-fed, played with amply, and well-rested. Thank GOD for that. But when, in addition, dogs are given the opportunity to WORK, miracles happen.
Like humans, dogs have so much to give. Not “merely” unconditional love and nonjudgmental partnership (as if that weren’t enough), but potential to reach the implications of higher expectations. By having a job and doing it well, dogs are given the opening to become empowered, be productive, and feel proud! It is our role in their lives not only to love and feed them, but to believe in their potential, and foster its growth.
The two fine gentlemen pictured here are a perfect example of partners that will fulfill their own and one another’s great potential by working together.
Tyler is on the left, his gorgeous one year-old German shepherd, Aries, is on the right. Tyler returned not long ago from serving our country overseas. While I don’t know details about what Tyler experienced, I can see in his eyes and feel from his heart that it was painful. Aries was surrendered to the shelter by a family that adopted him as a rambunctious puppy, then failed to teach him how to behave and gave up on him as though he had somehow failed them. Inherent in their relationship is the chance for both of these wonderful guys to see what they are truly made of, which is GOOD STUFF! By bringing out Aries’ potential as a service dog, Tyler’s potential as a calm, confident pack leader will naturally emerge. And my own potential as a teacher and facilitator will also expand! Aries and Tyler have already made tremendous progress together in only a few sessions, so I can only imagine how far they’ll go.
How do you and your dogs bring out the potential for greatness in one another?
Dog Speed and God Bless –