In July 2021, I wrote a post called “Lessons from Dogs”. This post was inspired by the three Weimaraners that I’ve been so fortunate to have in my life. Since I published that article, I’ve had a foster dog come into my life. Bella came to the Mile High Weimaraner Rescue when a puppy mill was shut down and the dogs were surrendered to the state. She stayed with me for 3 months and I saw her transform from a quiet, reserved dog with little energy into a happy, energetic and lovable girl with a tail (in the Weimaraner world we call it a Nub) that never stopped wagging. As a tribute to her, I wanted to share a few lessons that she taught me in her short time with me.
She spent the first part of her life as a puppy mill momma. I don’t know everything about her previous life, but I saw how much resilience she had after coming to our home. I had no idea what to expect when she arrived. I didn’t know if she was house broken, what food she ate, if she knew how to play with toys or if she would get along with our other dog. It wasn’t very long after she arrived that she started coming out of her shell. She started playing with toys, chewing bones, getting excited to go on walks, eating like a champ and the list goes on. The reality of it is, she had a tough life to start. But she was so resilient and began to thrive in her new environment. This was a reminder to me that we can move past the bad things that have happened in our past. We don’t need to be defined by our past or let it dictate our future. I know its not always easy, but it will be worth it.
I realize that not all dogs that come into a foster home and trust their new family right away. But with Bella, she very quickly realized that we were here to help her, and she trusted me that I was going to take care of her. I did just that and she became very attached to me. Trust is not easy to develop with others and once its broken it can be a tough road to get it back. The lesson here is that even when we are hurt by others, we will have to take the risk of trusting again in order to change our life.
Go with the Flow
When she came to our home, I treated her just like our other dog and got her into our routine. Within a few short days, she was used to it. In fact, she would see the leash and come running with her tail wagging. How many times in our life do we resist a schedule or routine put upon us? Maybe the next time your feeling confined to a schedule or timeframe, try surrendering and going with the flow. I’m willing to bet your attitude will shift.
Love your Body
In my last post I talked about how dogs don’t worry about their physical appearance. This was so true in Bella’s case. She came to the rescue with mass cell skin tumors. After evaluating them with the vet, we made the decision to have them removed. This was a major surgery, and I took care of her afterwards. Even when the vet brought her out after the surgery, she was wagging her tail and so happy to see me. It was amazing to see how quickly she recovered. She never complained about the swelling, or the bruising, or the fact her hair was shaved. She wasn’t worried about gaining weight or what others thought of her. She just went about her day with a happy and relaxed demeanor. I’ve had surgery myself and remember being upset about what I was going through. Our bodies are amazing machines, but they need to be loved and taken care of especially when they need time to heal. This is the only body we are going to get, so its vital that we take care of it.
I’ll be the first to admit that patience is not one of my strongest virtues. But Bella showed me the benefit of being patient and she repaid me with her love. When you foster a dog, you don’t know if they are trained, and you have to remember that the dog doesn’t understand the boundaries in your home. It takes a great deal of patience to show them what is acceptable behavior. It wasn’t always easy, but in my heart I knew that my patience would pay off and she would learn. It’s quite rewarding to see her learning and following commands. This reminds me of the importance of showing patience to others. We don’t always understand where someone else is coming from or why they do what they do. Showing patience and compassion can be a gift.
Bella is a very sweet girl that touched me in a way I would have never guessed was possible. I know in my heart that she came into my life so that I could nurse her back to health. Now that she’s been given a clean bill of health, she is living in her forever home. She left a paw print on my heart, and I know that we will always have a connection. As hard as it was to say goodbye to her, I know that it was time and I’m blessed that I helped her transition to living her best life in her new home.