This past weekend I was at a retreat. The Align Divine Weekend at Glastonbury Abbey in Hingham, Massachusetts. This was my weekend. My weekend to regroup and re-discover myself, and to continue my growth. I realized that the two words that came up for me time and time again over the weekend were FORGIVENESS and TRUST.
Trust is just as important as forgiveness. The two words are intertwined. This morning I slept through my alarm, waking to a phone call from the Pet Resort, letting me know that my dogs were in the lobby of my apartment. I quickly got dressed as if the fire alarms were screaming and ran down four flights of stairs. I couldn’t wait to see my pups.
Tucker, my 12-year old schnauzer, was more excited then normal to see me. He raced to me, jumped on me pushing me to the floor, licking my face all over. Kai, my 18-month old baby, waited patiently for Tucker to be done, and then he too jumped on me with his greetings. Both of their tongues were in my ears, on my face, my neck, my mouth. How great is the unconditional love that only pets seem to be capable of!
I walked upstairs with my pups thinking about the weekend. The word TRUST continued lingering in my mind. And thoughts of Tucker popped into my head.
My daughter brought Tucker home to me after her first semester in college in Iowa. He was almost a year old at the time. Tucker seemed like any normal schnauzer. However, when we got home, he was an entirely different dog. Broken. Distrustful. Angry. Bad Temper. These are only just a few of the many words that I used to describe him. It was obvious that this puppy had been abused in every way possible. Every single time I tried to hug my daughter or even touch her Tucker would attack me. I have many scars on my legs and hands from this dog. He was very protective of my daughter.
When Jennifer returned for her second semester of college, it was just me and Tucker. He didn’t trust me. I had to move very slowly around him so as not to get bitten. If I even moved the wrong way, he would attack me. I went through five trainers. Three quit as soon as they entered my home. Each trainer told me to put him down. His veterinarian told me that there was nothing to do for him and to put him down. They told me this would be the only humane thing to do for Tucker. Really? Kill a life to take him out of his misery? Really??
I didn’t. I was just as broken as Tucker was at that time and nobody put me down. Having gone through a divorce, I was starting my life all over again. I was scared. I was also very distrustful. I was lonely and sad. I could even be mean and nasty at times. I had no idea how to start my life over again. I lost a lot of weight. I cried all of the time. I felt sorry for myself. For the first time in my life I felt as though I had nobody. I was miserable just like Tucker.
Tucker and I have very similar stories. It took four more years for Tucker to even begin to trust me. It took him even longer to trust anyone else. I couldn’t entertain anyone in my home. He was very protective of me. I had to muzzle him when around people. He would try to attack people and dogs when just walking down the street.
Tucker grew very attached to me. He slowly began to trust me more. I never had to leash him when we were hiking in the woods. He would never leave my side. We protected each other. We meditated together every morning on our rock. Together we slowly dipped our feet in the water and starting living and trusting again. It's still a process, but the journey began and is still continuing. Our self-development and growth is such an important process.
Today, Tucker is 12 years old. We live in an apartment with Kai, my puppy. Kai has taught Tucker and me to trust, too. This morning, after living in this apartment for one year, Tucker ran up to James, the concierge and sat down, gave him his paw, and then kissed his hands. That was a proud moment for me. Little by little, even at 12 years old, Tucker becomes more trusting of the people around him. He plays with other dogs now. He loves his brother Kai. It’s been a long and sometimes tedious process, but a worthwhile and loving and miraculous one.
During our meditation this morning, and afterwards, I thought about all that transpired this weekend. I realize that Tucker has taught me so much about trust and unconditional love. He has taught me to be in the moment and to trust the process. He’s also taught me patience.
Dogs don’t think about what is going to happen in five minutes, let alone tomorrow. They forget about yesterday almost immediately. Dogs live in the now. How wonderful is that, to be able to let go so quickly of things that happened only a few minutes ago. Dogs also don’t hold grudges. They give love and accept love unconditionally.
Tucker is just one of my many miracles who have entered my life when needed the most. Our paths crossed to help us both grow. I trusted in the process. Tucker and Kai are best friends, best brothers. They trust each other with every fiber of their being. They fight like brothers and they cuddle and play like best friends.
Unconditional love. Trust. Forgiveness. No judgement. Letting go. Living. Loving. Being. Divine. Grace. Love.