Trust- Better Earned Than Given

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.

Building trust with your dog. Trust is better earned than just given!

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.

Building trust with your dog. Trust is better earned than just given!

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.

Building trust with your dog. Trust is better earned than just given!


Building trust with your dog. Trust is better earned than just given!

26 thoughts on “Trust- Better Earned Than Given

  1. What a beautiful description of the bond between us and our furry family members! It brought tears to my ears as I read about Sahara crawling into bed with you during the thunderstorm as her mindset shifted to feeling safer with you than by herself.

    1. It definitely made me feel the love in that moment! It’s important to cherish the little things our furry family members do that make us remember why we love them so much!

  2. Never really thought about trust like this… I love your take on trust with your dog, and it is so cute that you guys have built up trust. People don’t get that they might be only a percentage of our life, but we are their entire life in most cases, so trust is so important!

    1. Thank you, Nicholas! You make a good point about us being their whole lives, it makes it that much more important to build a great relationship with them! Thanks for your take on it!

  3. I agree with you that trust is something that should be earned. This holds true for people as well as our pets. It’s a good thing they can’t talk, or else they would really be able to take advantage of us. LOL

  4. It is interesting that you named your dog Sahara. Whatever your reason I think there is it is bound up in some emotional ties. It seems that even in the initial stages Sahara found a friend in you.

  5. I’ve always been a fan of pets and furry family, I’ve been dreaming of having one at home. I remember whne I was younger my family had 2 dogs and 3 puppies it was so great to see these guys together, they are those ones that we can truly trust and help us whenever needed. I enjoy reading your story, thank you for sharing!

  6. Dogs certainly teach a lot, from trust to love and so much more! My dog was adopted from a shelter this summer and obviously was abused, and while she seems to trust me as a whole, I know some situations will turn up that will make her question everything. We went through it with my previous dog (also an abused shelter dog), and he was so stressed when the kids were born and then when we moved to another state. I’m hoping over time our newest fur baby knows she’s part of the family and with us for good.

  7. I am really enjoying reading about your adventures with Sahara, and how you turn the stories into life lessons for us all. I’m so sorry that Sahara had trust issues, likely indicative of past experiences, but you are helping her to trust and heal!

  8. Such a precious dog! Dogs are more than just animals, they’re your companion, friend, and basically everything. People who don’t have dogs don’t realize they’re missing out on life lessons.

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