Connecting With Grace
A therapy dog wasn’t something Grace had remembered from her brief read through the Center’s website. It was wholly unexpected to see a honey-coloured canine stroll into the group room and join in by greeting everyone, one after another with a soft gaze and a comforting nuzzle this morning.
Skybear was introduced as a certified therapy dog who’d had a rough start in life down in New Mexico. It was pretty clear life had improved for her since being found alone on the streets at 7 weeks old.
Grace caught herself feeling a common bond with this little creature. Her memories seemed to echo Skybear’s experience when she recalled her own scary, confusing, unpredictable, unprotected times. Grace imagined Skybear’s early life in New Mexico would have bred the same kind of survival anxiety she knew now that she’d been experiencing.
There was something about the ease with which the dog held herself that she really wanted to embody. Grace wondered how the dog had managed to get so relaxed after all she had been through. As she was about to pose this question, she heard Jeff begin talking about Skybear’s rehabilitation period that had restored her equilibrium and natural canine curiosity.
Relating to other dogs that were quickly experienced as non-threatening and friendly on her Wednesday social ‘outings’ had apparently been a big part of it. Grace related this to the way she herself had gradually been opening up in the growing safety of the group here.
Grace’s dog Pete was always cuddling and comforting her at home, and having another dog as a ‘surrogate snuggler’ was a huge relief. If she was going to be completely honest, when Skybear looked at her with those knowing brown eyes & the open, unabashed pleasure of just being in her company – tail wagging madly – Grace felt feel a level of acceptance that had barely been possible in the company of people.
The lack of expectation from Skybear (ok – there was definitely the occasional longing glance at the treat cupboard!), filled her with a strange sense of relief and in this moment at least, she felt truly connected, content and purposeful – (well hey – someone needs to get those doggie treats down for her right?).
To be continued…
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