Dogs are an important part of my life. I’ve barely worked the last month due to CFS and I actually miss alot of my dog clients. I am sad when one passes away and I am joyful when I meet a new one. They all have something different to offer. Some make me laugh, some make me calm, some make me excited and of course some test me.
The ones that test me are probably the most important in the greater scheme of my life, what I want to achieve and also what I want to contribute to others. As a dog groomer, dealing with difficult dogs has taught me how to take a deep breath, pause and calm down. It is difficult to describe how much that has improved my life. Firstly I had to acknowledge the anxiety, and then figure how to release it. The dogs left me with no choice, I had to do it! This means I am mostly anxiety free these days, it took 2 years of grooming, two major depressive episodes and some internet mentors for me to achieve it, but I’m there.
Dogs don’t generally do well in grooming situations, they do even worse at the hands of a stressed out basket case on the brink of a nervous breakdown. So, essentially whilst I was working it was a dog and a human both freaking out and ready to implode, left to figure it out! As it turns out, it was my responsibility to fix it, we owe it to these furry misunderstood companions to at least try. And try I do. It is one of the most fulfilling experiences to help a dog feel more confident and overcome a fear. It’s also interesting when I think about my long term regulars. We have ridden the ride together. The dog and I have learnt something important from each other along the way.
I have lots to say about handling dogs and calming them, but Ill leave that for another day…. There is something I admire immensely in dogs, it never ceases to amaze me and I think its what separates human and canine to a large degree. But it is also one of the saddest things about what it means to be dog. Forgiveness
Even when I was a stressed out basket case on the brink of a mental breakdown, they forgive. As a groomer I often have to do things that completely and utterly scare the bejeesus out of the dog. Before I learned to centre myself I was often doing this to dogs whilst oozing frustration and rushing. But they always seem able to shake it off after the ordeal, is this forgiveness? I don’t know. It probably isn’t- In the realm of dog behaviour its the wrong word to use. But its the reason why I’m a cynical dog lover.
The sad thing about dog ”forgiveness” is that people don’t see it often enough in their own dogs. They instead find reasons why their dog is being ”dominant” or ”naughty”. They sometimes fail to try and understand what is really going on, and then forget to forgive their pooch for chewing the wall….
A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.