“We hardly know one another”
“You can learn me…”
“Yes or No”
~ The Constant Gardener
I am asked, almost on a daily basis, why dogs respond to me the way that they do.
I think this always catches me off guard, a little or a lot, as I don’t really think about ‘why’. Meeting a dog is just like meeting a person for me, I see and feel no difference. It is an introduction to ones self, a potential new relationship, allowing another living being to know you, and you know them, on the most honest of terms. An agreement between living beings.
This is my comfort zone, this is what I do without having to think about it. I am open, vulnerable, and honest, and I allow all other living beings to be the same with me without judgement.
In saying this, and my family has mentioned it more than once, maybe a bit to often actually, humans have a harder time at wanting to get to know me or letting me get to know them. While I understand social norms, and actually rely on them in my work, and while I was raised with manners and social graces, I can be a bit too heavy for those that choose to wear virtual armor. The people who don’t want to fully participate in life, and chose to distance themselves for their own emotional safety or comfort.
Other living beings don’t do this. And this is why my connection might be ever so slightly different, or deeper, or more open, or more honest, I’m not sure.
While some animals I work with are overt, and tell me a lot about themselves from the moment I meet them, others are reticent, and want to make sure I am worth trusting. But they are honest about that, and it is most humbling. It always makes me feel even more open, and even raw, because you can feel their concern, their cautiousness, their need for some space until they decide, and they are trusting me with this opening agreement, without even knowing me.
When I work with animals, I am on their time, and this can be hard for some people, but these are the very people that need to learn this lesson, they just aren’t open to it yet.
So, here is what I think people are feeling when they want to know why dogs, and other animals, respond to me they way they do …
I am not afraid to be me, good, bad, or indifferent. I am not afraid to learn about the animal I am working with, all of it. An introduction without judgement.
I am never careless with another living beings heart or emotions, if they trust me in their space, I treat this agreement with the utmost responsibility.
I do not react to reactions. I watch, observe, and allow another living being to show me something about themselves.
And in some way, I send each living being a message of love. I am not sure how it happens but I can feel it leaving me. A look, a feeling, a gesture, a touch, an exchange of breath, it is one or all of these things. But I can feel it. And I believe every living being wants to feel loved.
Learn me, Nancy