True compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it. – Daniel Goleman
Sometimes, I’m amazed by the pure perfection of our four legged friends. Everyone has their story of how their dog has showed unconditional love, bravery and compassion. I’ve been able to be a part of my own stories. Yet, it seems that every time a dog shows compassion towards me I’m still amazed. And I hope that’s something that never goes away. I never want to take that for granted.
The other day, I was having a difficult day. A family member passed and it was one of those times where it hit me like a wave. There are 3 things I know that help me reset my emotions and regroup my energy. Those things are water, nature and my dog. So, I went to the lake and took Porter with me.
Porter had been cooped up in his crate all day, so I knew there would be a ton of energy that he needed to get rid of. However, when we got in the car he was calm. He would occasionally give me gentle kisses and I could feel him just staring. He knew something was not normal so kept looking to me for direction. As you know, the direction doesn’t always have to be verbal. And he was able to pick up on the energy I was exuding and knew something was different with me.
You know the saying it’s the little things? Well, that’s what Porter did for me that night. A bunch of little things. And maybe to some, they wouldn’t have noticed it, but to me, they made a world of difference.
As we sat by the water he didn’t go around and sniff at the grass or find a stick to chew like he usually does. No, he chose to sit right next to me and lean in so that we were both holding each other up. He chose to not whine when he was bored. Instead he would occasionally give me a lick or a touch with his nose.
When we got home, he didn’t ask to be fed. Instead he pulled his blanket closer to me on and curled up. He made sure he was in reaching distance so I could pet him.
When he laid down, he didn’t just go to sleep. Instead, he positioned himself so he could watch me. His brown eyes watched my every move to make sure he didn’t need to be on comfort patrol.
When I found myself laughing at something, instead of looking up annoyed because I was interrupting his resting time (yes, this does happen), he would let out a big sigh as if it was relieving to hear me make a normal sound.
When I went to bed, instead of curling up by my feet, he chose to sleep right by chest so that his nose was facing mine. Instead of going to bed right away, he stayed awake and would intermittently give me a kiss.
Porter made small choices to show me that he cared. He did what he could, and that’s more than I could ever expect. And that’s the amazing thing about dogs. They read us look a book. Then they do what they can. There’s such pure devotion from an animal that if it doesn’t make you have a feeling of awe I’m not sure what can.
Your dog doesn’t have to pull you from a burning building to show you the amount of love and esteem they have for you. They can simply choose to move that blanket a little closer. Time to be a little more present and notice the little things our dogs are doing for us.
Darwin Dogs, LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, OH