Lessons From A Dog’s "Ruff" Life

A few years ago we adopted a dog from a rescue in Arkansas- of all places,
and he has been teaching me lessons on life,
love and TRUST ever since he came to live with our family on that fateful day.
I have really never trusted dogs, although I love all animals.
I confess I have been biased towards cats most of my life as far as the domestic arena goes.
I have kept company with many greats, there is no doubt about it and faithful companions they have been. But my focus for this post is really a dog not cats and how one particular dog is teaching me.
Dogs to me have always seemed more unpredictable – I just did not trust them.
Of course part of this belief came from my lack of firsthand experience with dogs.
 I can read cats well.
I have studied them with delight and although many believe them to be less loyal than dogs,
I have found this to be completely inaccurate.
They just don’t do the “pack” thing.
They do everything on their own terms but they are not completely uninterpretable.
You just have to know where to scratch and understand that claws and teeth
are loving playfulness as well as angry expression.
I remember telling my very possessive cat Arnold
(named after Arnold Schwarzenegger– the bodybuilder not the Governor-at the time)
while pregnant with my daughter,
“You must love the baby”.
 He did.
I have pictures of them and she dragged the newly tolerant Arnold everywhere
and he never lifted a claw or bared a tooth at my baby!
When she would cry, he would sit on the end of the bed and cry.
It was crazy!
But there came a time when my girl decided a dog was needed.
 Little did I know the sweet mutt that would come into our lives
would ensnare my heart and turn me into a (forgive me felines) true dog lover.
Looking back I really didn’t think he was the cutest dog.
 But there was this look in his eyes I could not forget.
 I just so wanted the right dog for our family.
It was about trust; this dog had to be good with cats, my girl and trustworthy to me.
I didn’t trust him at the start. He didn’t trust me.
We had to earn each other’s trust.
It took time.
It also meant learning about one another.
In the beginning if I walked near his food bowl, he would growl.
It took time for him to realize that I wanted to give him good things not take them away.
It took time for Banjo to learn who his family was.
It also took time for him to know that he had a safe place with us.
We all need a safe place to be…with people.
 Sometimes we lose our trust in people because of what we experience and we stop believing that there is a place of safety. 
As I watched our new furry family member struggle and learn to trust I saw so much of my own struggle with trusting others.
Banjo had good reason not to trust.
He was abandoned.
 Was he abused?
Was he fearful during the long nights?
Did some crazy territorial farmer take pot shots at him as he padded across his property?
Whatever the case,  I know it took time, communication and love to earn his trust.
 I relate to our “pup’s” baggage, but right now he is in a safe place, with a loving family. 
I see so much of the providence of God in his little rescue story.
I see so much of my own struggle learning to trust a good, completely trustworthy and faithful God because of life experiences.
I have been that growling dog baring my teeth 
when I feared  “my portion” would be taken.
But I have learned to trust the one 
who gives the portion that truly satisfies.
So thankful that God rescued me!
I will be on vacation for 1 week and hope to return with a fresh breath of faith to share!
In the meantime- keep digging beneath the surface,
Winter morning watching the waves.
 Here is the Link to the Rescue we got our Banjo as well as his foster mom Janice’s place:

Published by enthusiasticallydawn

Dawn Paoletta is the author of Journaling for Discovery and Delight. Her writing is included in several anthologies and her poems have been included in the Wickford Poetry and Art Exhibit and Books. Dawn is currently working on her next book. Inquiries at dawn.paoletta@gmail.com

6 thoughts on “Lessons From A Dog’s "Ruff" Life

  1. “I see so much of the providence of God in his little rescue story. I see so much of my own struggle learning to trust a good, completely trustworthy and faithful God because of life experiences. ” Yes, yes, YES!!!!! Me, too!!!Loved this post, Dawn. Who knew you were not a dog lover from the get-go? LOL! And the look on Banjo's face in the last picture — humorous and priceless! ❤


  2. What a beautiful story Dawn…brought tears to my eyes! Sweet Banjo is very blessed to be part of your family…trust takes time and patience, good job! Love that


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