Learning from our animals

20th March 2019

Every day our team learn so much from the animals we work with, and it's wonderful to hear about how our rehomers who have adopted a dog from us do to. We really enjoyed this recent Canine Life Coaching post from ex-resident Amber's new owner and we hope you do too:

Be Like Amber (or Life Lessons We’ve Learned From A Tatty Rescue Dog).

1) Be open-minded and trust in fate:
Two years ago we were at Oak Tree Animal Refuge in Wetheral viewing a perfect puppy that seemingly matched our request for a young, medium-sized dog, but we didn’t click with him. Would we like to see an older dog that had just come in? Why not? Amber was a short, long (comically long) fawn-coloured Jack-Russell-Cross-With-A-Who-Knows-What, probably seven years old. She wasn’t what we went in for, but she was The One.


2) Enjoy exercise, mindfulness, healing and rest:
Amber joined our family at a time of illness and worry. Walking her brought us a welcome distraction and defused intense situations. We enjoy fresh air, nature, connection with other dog walkers and discovering new places in our local community. She stops to sniff her surroundings, encouraging us to stop, look around and absorb the present. At home, it’s hard to get on with chores and work when Amber is soothingly sleeping on your lap. Be still. Grab a book or have a nap yourself.


3) Celebrate your imperfections:
Amber has a scarred face, a bald tail tip, a torn ear, a bony head, pronounced underbite, stupidly short legs and manky breath. But people adore her and remark on how gorgeous she is. She’ll never make Crufts or win Kennel Club prizes but is beautiful in her own way.


4) Be yourself; don’t change to impress people:
Amber tolerates affection. Contact is on her terms. She loves a warm lap but will groan and turn around if you start fussing over her. “I’m fond of you, and I know you adore me,” she may as well say, “but I don’t need proof or approval. Let’s just be.” We get apologetic when people stroke her and she appears aloof, unacknowledging. Instead, we need to practise more of Amber’s take-me-as-you-find-me attitude.


5) Enjoy your food:
Amber doesn’t go in for faddy diets. She wolfs down her tea, relishes snacks, accepts treats from strangers and tries anything. She wakes with excitement each morning in anticipation of her breakfast (sometimes far too early, it has to be said). She doesn’t skip meals (she makes it clear when it’s tea-time) and is certainly not fussy (she often scoffs questionable finds on her walks).


6) Be happy:
Amber makes us laugh every day. Her expressions, her playful antics, her pigeon-like coo, her occasional meerkat-style stance, her regal stretch after a long sleep, her smelly yawns. She’s happy in her own skin and only needs the basics to be content: food, water, shelter, exercise (not when it’s raining, obviously), sleep, most of our bed.

Amber, you tatty little mongrel, we’ve learned so much from you. You were a rescue dog, yet you rescued us. Thank you for so many life lessons. Now stop nudging my hand away from this keyboard, I know it’s tea time, I’m getting up now, honestly, get off …
 
 

Learning from our animals

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