Two and a half years ago around this time somebody walked into my life for the first time. She came into my life and taught me many lessons. One of the important ones being trust. Through her I have learned that trust should be earned not given. If you trust somebody freely you’re giving them all the means they need to hurt you. If you approach a situation with caution and build up trust, that means so much more and there is more substance to that trust because you had to work to get it and that means that when push comes to shove you won’t be as apt to throw it away when the going gets tough.
After about a month of having Sahara, we took a trip to visit my parents for her second time. My mom got home from work and I took Sahara outside to greet her. She wasn’t on a leash and I only had a hold of her collar until I made the conscious decision to let go because I thought she would stay right there with me. She quickly wandered off down the street and met all the dogs in the neighborhood. Some were friendly and the others not so much, she should be thanking god there was a fence protecting her from those dogs in particular.
Somehow she and I got corralled into somebody’s screened in porch where there was a mother and her two children gawking at us from inside. I thought this was my chance she can’t go anywhere. As soon as I would be able to catch her and pick her up she flew right past me out the door. Apparently I’m not as quick on my feet as I think I am.
As a new dog mother I read all about how to react to different situations you might find yourself in, including this one where your pup gets loose and you have to get them back.
Somehow I was able to get her attention and run away from her tailing me back to my parent’s house. I ran and ran and ran. She did too, although it was more cautiously and she would get distracted a bit but by that time we were back in the front yard and that gave me enough time to open the gate to the fenced in backyard where she eventually caught up to me.
She didn’t know what she did was wrong but I told her she made a sad choice. But could you blame her? At this point we had only be together for a couple of weeks or so.
She had no reason to stay, no reason to trust me…
and I had even less of a reason to trust her. But I did anyway, she however, did not.
Eventually and with patience we learned to trust each other. After building that trust and training her, I can now let her outside off leash and trust her to stay in the yard or close to me while hiking off leash. Trust isn’t only for off leash situations. Trust is her now being comfortable doing things with me that she wouldn’t do before and her being able to trust me to protect her like she would for me.
I can trust her to come and try to find me when I call her even if she can’t see me. It means more that she trusts me because I’ve earned it rather than because she trusts everybody (which she definitely doesn’t do). I believe that somebody hurt her and betrayed her trust which has caused her to be reluctant to meet new people, she’s not alone, how many of us have been betrayed and left with broken trust and broken promises. This is not easy when it comes to meeting new people and trying to develop relationships because your past leaves you feeling vulnerable so you keep yourself closed off and protected until that trust is built.
But what about when trust in a relationship isn’t enough? What then?
No matter what it is we go through it together, the good, the bad, the ugly. Sometimes it is thunderstorms, I remember a few weeks ago she woke up in the middle of the night with fully body shakes, the usual for thunderstorms, to come up in the bed with me and sit on me. I, dazed and confused, held her and rubbed her for I don’t even know how long until the storm passed and she laid down. Before, even within the last few months she would crawl under the bed or in another dark spot in the room.
This is a fine example of trust and how it evolves to incorporate into other aspects in life depending on the level of trust you have built together. Now, she sees me as more safe than being by herself in a place that may be darker and confined. Words can’t explain the way it makes me feel when I know that our trust in each other is growing. There are still many obstacles to overcome but with patience, time, and persistence the trust between us is and will continue to grow.