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Friday, February 14, 2014

Bonding

I usually leave the philosophical topics to my good friend Sakoieta' as he has far more insight and wisdom than I do. However, here is my attempt at senior understanding. A good example of bonding is the bond I have with Echo our German Shepherd Dog. I was volunteering for a dog rescue and got a call that he was going to be sent to a kill shelter as they couldn't afford to keep him and would our rescue be interested. After an exchange of information and photos, we agreed to accept him. I picked him up to transport him to the rescue three hours away. He was aloof and evasive the first part of the trip and would not look or come near me. After a while he decided I was okay and we shared a snack and made the remainder of the trip on friendly terms. I now realize we were bonding but he knew it long before I did. It was so hard to leave him at the shelter but I did. Since I qualified the applicants I wanted a very good one for him. The ones I sent he would not have a thing to do with. Finally 3 months later when he was destined to go to the next available applicant we agreed to adopt him. We drove up to get him and when he saw us he was excited beyond himself and immediately bonded with Carol and our other three dogs. He is the most loving and caring - attentive boy that I have even known. He had rejected other applicants as he knew we would come for him one day. I knew it to but not as clearly as he did. We needed to be together and the bond we initially formed was a life long bond.

The initial bonding has grown stronger each day and the love he shares with us and our other dogs is incredible to witness as well as our love for him. That brings me to the topic and the wisdom I have gained from Echo and our other rescue dogs over the years. When you reach out to a rescue dog and bond you are receiving far more than you could ever give or expect from the union. The bonding process is really important regardless of the species. Loving someone or something takes something special from within you and takes you outside yourself. Giving love when you don't know if you will receive love in return is risky but guaranteed when you extend that love to a rescue animal. So rescuing a pet is a very special act that tells a lot about a person.

More specifically I have noticed over my lifetime that those people happiest are the ones who can extend love and expect nothing in return. I have noticed many things about doing this and reaching out to another person or pet. Some buy a puppy from a breeder or pet store. Everyone loves a puppy as they are cute. But then when the puppy gets bigger or grows up and is no longer is as cute they no longer care for the dog. Their need initially was for and about themselves and had nothing to do with the welfare of the pet.  I have also observed that those who do not have pets, when they easily could, redirect that love to themselves or something like a possession which is incapable of loving them back. In our community I have noted that those who do not have pets to give their love  or concern to are for the most part unhappy people who substitute the giving and receiving love to causing trouble, bullying or trying to hurt or damage others. Usually those who actually can extend love outside themselves and whom they consider weak. They totally lack understanding why you may love your pets and either use your love to manipulate you or try to harm your pets. Some people are allergic to dogs or cats and can't have pets. This exempts them from my general observations.

Initially I was angry at these mean spirited people but have come to feel rather sorry for them. The only ones they have to love them back is usually themselves. I have also noted that many of these people attend one of our local churches seeking love and are able to talk the talk but do not seem to find what they are looking for and remain unhappy or pretend they are happy. I have also noted that some of these people do not possess the capacity to actually love anyone but themselves and prefer their self love. They are people who only have themselves to give them back the comfort they desire.

I therefore believe that adopting a pet is actually an act that reveals much of your character and capacity for love. Providing of course that you are doing it with the right motives and not self centered ones. I'm sure that some would disagree with these observations but these are my observations and I have found them mostly accurate. When people say that they trust their dogs instincts about other people I consider that a pretty accurate saying. Our dogs have rarely been wrong in their judgement even when Carol or I have been fooled. How you treat your pets and how they relate to you says a lot about a persons character in my opinion.

The above photo was borrowed from face book and depicts the special and unique bond between a girl and her horse. When you bond with another I believe you are required to reach outside yourself and risk potential rejection but still love and let it overcome any deficiency. So who really is the weak one? The self indulgent person or the person who risks and loves beyond themselves?

4 comments:

Bruce said...

Comment by Pat: So right, so true.

I have developed that bond with Belle, Sherry's huge white great pyrenese she adopted from people who had no time for this gorgeous love of a dog... It's a mutual love affair. Belle is a very reserved dog. As gentle as she is -- and she is, she is indifferent to most people. She and I liked one another immediately. Even though I don't see her often, when she sees me, she quietly comes to me and just accepts my love. I never make a loud, big fuss...she wouldn't like that. I just talk softly to her, tell her how beautiful she is, and gently rub her head and back, and she just melts. She's another dog that just likes to lean on me. Yep, she owns me and she knows it!

Sometimes you have to figure out what says "love" and what doesn't.



Sent from my nuclear-powered subatomic thing-a-ma-bob.

Bruce said...

Comment by Raylene: I so enjoyed your message and can truly say I fully understand as I have experienced the same feeling with the two cats that I rescued and who, in turn, have rescued me. Zoe, in particular is an example of what you offered about your dear dog. Zoe was the off spring of a “wild cat” found in a farmers field as he accidentally ran over the nest of newborn kittens in his field when plowing one spring. Zoe was the sole survivor of the litter but did lose a couple of her toes on her front paw. She was treated by a local Vet who did gratis work for a local animal rescue group and then was placed in a home with a volunteer who was a nurse for “rehab” care to her paw . She was nothing short of a wild kitten and got to be too much for the children to handle safely. So she came to Miss Raylene’s “Finishing School for Wayward Kittens” . I had a parcel of kittens of similar age at that time but found I had to keep her separated from them as she was too wild. I gave her one on one attention several times a day and she finally allowed me to handle her without trying to scratch my eyes out…but only me. It was pretty obvious that I either kept her and continued to work with her or she would have to be euthanized. Along the way, I had decided to keep, Jack, a dear and very sweet tabby and Zoe did tolerate him once they were the only cat kids in the house. Zoe is now a very responsive and caring cat---she plays appropriately with Jack and shows affection to us both. We all have verbal and non-verbal communication with each other and I find my cats are as responsive to me as my dear Bearded Collies were.

Bruce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patricia M said...

Dogs are wonderful in so many ways. But, owning a dog or two does take some sacrifice in terms of time and money and even the way you live (we can no longer jet off in a moment's notice because we have the dogs to consider), so totally selfish, self-involved people are not going to want a dog. I can honestly say that our two dogs have enriched our lives. They entertain us with their silly antics, provide unconditional love and are a warm little ball of fur to snuggle with on a cold day. And, last week when our neighbors' home was burglarized, we could help but wonder if our two big barking boxers were earning their kibble by watching our home in our absence.