Friday, November 27, 2009

{Healing} Paws

It's not very often in life that we get a firm affirmation that we are on the right track, that what we are doing is what we were meant to do. Most of the time we just have that feeling, or that faith. Some of us just move forward off of a hope and a prayer. But this week, we received that affirmation that what we have planned for our lives, and for our pups, is exactly what we are intended to be doing.

As part of the puppies' training, we take them to lots of different places to help socialize them and get them accustomed to being in many different environments while still being expected to follow their commands.

Pivot is farther along in his training, and Kevin is able to take him to work with him about once a week. This weeks' trip to work resulted in a life changing opportunity for Pivot and one of Kevin's customers. A woman started to walk into his shop and exited when she saw Pivot was inside. Pivot is a fairly mellow dog. In fact, his name came from his habit of "pivoting" on his bottom to turn around because it was easier than getting all the way up. It is his mere size that intimidates others.

This woman was headed into the mechanics' bathroom- if she would brave going into that bathroom rather than be in the same building as Pivot, you know her fear of dogs was very real! Kevin asked what was wrong, and she explained that she had been mauled by a dog a long 25 years ago. But to her, the fear was real, and the memory raw as she took off her sunglasses to show her scars.

Kevin assured her he would move Pivot so she could safely use the restroom. In doing so, she witnessed Pivot's obedient and calm demeanor, how he followed Kevin's commands to come when he was told, and to lay down calmly. Then a conversation ensued about Pivot's training and our hopes for he and Bella to become certified therapy dogs. This must have comforted the woman a great deal, because she asked if she could meet him.

At first, she reached out a single trembling finger and touched his ear. Just a quick and short contact, as fear and determination both surfaced. I can't tell you what happened next, though I presume it had something to do with Pivot's puppy dog eyes and wrinkly grin, because before long, the woman sat on the floor and let Pivot snuggle his head into her lap, and she sat petting him for quite some time.

It was the first time she had gone within arms' distance of a dog in two and a half decades. This experience, which proved to be just as therapeutic for us as it was for her, ended with a kiss. She allowed Pivot to "give her love," on the same face that had been mauled by a different dog all those years ago. And the two of them showed us that this is truly our destiny.