Updated: Jul 26, 2021
As he walked in reluctantly through the door I could see that he was very attached to his family. He was a Golden Retriever about 5 years called Rusty. He didn’t seem to resonate with the secure feeling that his family felt about leaving him at Petspace while they went on a trip for a few days. Understandably so, he hardly knew Petspace or me until that moment. They had to literally cajole Rusty to enter his kennel and the family left with the note to be called at any time if so required. I gave them my assurances knowing what it feels like, given I have two pets of my own.
Most dogs adjust to the new surroundings quite easily and once they are able to sense the love in the air they tend to be more comfortable and relaxed. Not so with Rusty. The next morning, he practically spent all time sitting near the exit in eager anticipation of seeing the family drive in again to pick him up. No amount of cajoling and enticing could wean him away from his yearning for them.
As if in reciprocation the skies started showering a torrential downpour of rain. All other dogs quickly scampered to the warmth and dryness of their kennels except him. He would not budge an inch and if anything, the rain only seemed to dampen his spirits further.
I could sense the pangs of separation in his heart and I knew that if anything could bring him back to his cheerful self it would have to be love…oodles of it! I immediately brought an umbrella and sat next to him holding us both under its one shade. It seemed like we just sat there for eternity huddled together at the gate. Feelings and emotions far greater than words were conveyed in those moments escaping not just the rain but the false world of ‘newness’ and not knowing each other.
I was brought out of my reverie with the warm lick on my face and the movement by my side. I realized that he had finally connected with me. While I could not replace his family he did acknowledge the love he would receive at this new place from this new lady. He was ready to go into his kennel and partake his meal :) .
That day taught me in quite a most dramatic fashion how no amount of intellectual studies can teach this one basic value in establishing one’s rapport with a dog: Love and trust. When one truly reaches out to them, being so good in sensing the environment as they are, it is but a question of time and patience before they open up to give and receive the goodness and joy that fills our hearts.