Rusty and I are Up North taking a week off together to try some different walks.
It has occurred to me that Rusty is my hero. I say that with some trepidation as my relationship with dogs is a bit of mystery to me. On the one hand I feel as though I should form the ability to appreciate people as much as I do dogs, yet people baffle and annoy and disappoint me. Dogs never do; they rise above every abuse , every cruelty and every expression of disdain. They forgive and they are patient. When I tried to explain to a Christian how dogs embody those religious value preached by the Christ the human being recoiled as though I blasphemed. You'll hear your neighbors describe people they hate (and they hate much more easily than dogs hate) as "animals" and that annoys me greatly.
Animals that I have met and read about would not do half the things humans do when humans behave like "animals." I look at Rusty, just the latest unwanted dog that has come into my life and I see a creature who has every right to not trust people to be angry at the abuse he suffered, traumatized by the life he lived as a stray but after a short period of adjustment he has regained those qualities one expects to see in a happy well balanced emotionally stable dog. People couldn't do it so swiftly and so completely.
(I have heard the phrase about wanting to be the person your dog thinks you are, but I want to be the person my dog is). Rusty the great forgiver, the dog who waits patiently for his walk, who suffers disappointment without tantrums. I don't think I can do it not least because part of me feels the world owes me something, which it patently does not, but that quarrel goes on inside me and occasionally spills out. Apparently there is no sense of entitlement in Rusty, lucky dog.
I have to say I firmly believe that these feelings of respect and the pleasure I get from seeing him happy are born out of his prior circumstances. They could not exist in me were he a bought puppy. The fact that he suffered so much and now suffers no more is part of my pleasure in him. Which brings us back to why I can believe I have a relationship with my dog that transcends all: because he makes me feel good. That's all. We humans are such self deceivers. One more reason to trust your dog.