Zach seemed a friendly enough Staffy when he shuffled out of the shade of the house. He and his “sister” Zo, also a Staffordshire Terrier, ran out to greet the car when we drove in to check out a flat available for rent. It met my needs and three days later, I moved in.
My landlord’s house is a mere fifteen feet away, so I enjoy daily, sometimes hourly, visits from the dogs. My door is always open and the dogs come and go as they please. We all know if the dogs aren’t with them, they’re with me, and visa versa.
One late afternoon, Zach arrived and despite urging to come home from Cheryl, he decided to spend the night with me… and a strong bond began forming between he and I. In the days to come, I learned he was a survivor of abuse.
When rescued by Cheryl he was nothing but skin and bones. Cheryl told me she’d never seen such an emaciated dog. He had numerous lesions from fighting and having to live chained on a cement pad with no shelter for god knows how long. He subsisted on scraps thrown to him…if his owner remembered. The canon bone between his hock and paw on a hind leg had been broken and not properly cared for. So he walks with a swagger and not surprisingly has the beginnings of arthritis in his leg and back.
On arrival, he was cautiously quiet, subdued and not sure of what was expected of him. I’m sure to his amazement, there was no aggression, no females to breed, plenty of food and water, and a soft bed to sleep on… and plenty of love. His healing had to start somewhere, and he had to be patient waiting for the memories to fade, the bad dreams to cease. It was only then, many weeks later that an internal change occurred. Zach began actively searching out physical contact. He’s a leaner, but that isn’t always enough. It’s a gentle hand he desires most. Belly rubs are his favorite. Whether lounging on the futon with me, or lying on my bed, he insists on having his head on my chest or tucked under my chin, and always the presence of my hand on him.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen an incredible change in this handsome boy. He has completely exited his emotional shell formed of the past. He ecstatically plays with Zo, he wags his tail nearly incessantly, his ears are up, and he “talks.” Best of all, a beautiful light has ignited in this boy’s eyes. Instead of defeat, bright brown orbs speak of self-assuredness, love and trust. We didn’t change this boy, but we did give him the platform and tools to do it on his own. When he was ready, he did it.
Positive Lightning is about learning to trust and love oneself enough to accomplish feats not within a scope of belief at the time. We learn, we grow…and because we grow, we learn. It’s in the heart, just waiting for that discovery.
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