The Comfort of Canines during the Covid-19 Crisis
For those of us whose love language is physical affection, social distancing is hard. Definitely necessary, and worth it to protect the most vulnerable, but hard.
Once again, dogs are proving to be a most comforting companion during uncertain times.
While we are all worried about even breathing on one another, thank God dogs love us just because we breathe.
I’ve always had people in my life who love me unconditionally. I can’t imagine a life without these wild, free relationships that are stress free. One of the things I have learned by working with dogs’ owners is most people have not been so lucky. A dog’s love is the closest they have ever come to being loved without condition.
Some of this is repeat from an earlier blog I wrote, but I think during this coronavirus, it’s worth repeating:
Dogs love Democrats and Republicans, the rich and the poor, the sick and the broken, believers and atheists, the righteous and the criminals.
They aren’t uncomfortable about certain subjects, nor are they afraid of behavior that society frowns upon. They will walk beside you and just accept your story.
There is nothing that puts you at risk of a dog’s love.
I have watched a dog get dumped from a pickup, only to chase after the vehicle for all its worth, until collapsing from a combination of fear and exhaustion.
Yes, they even love those who don’t love them.
Had the driver turned around, that dog would have found the strength to wag its tail, kiss that man’s face, and hop back into the truck again.
They are the masters of forgiving and forgetting.
So many people are afraid of love. They think it hurts, but that isn’t true. Loneliness hurts. Rejection hurts. Love is the only thing in this world that covers up all pain and makes someone feel this life is worthwhile.
A missionary said something that stuck with me: “You can roll around in the grass with dogs, lions and tigers as if these animals are your own children. You remove all judgment, and engage them without any sense of fear. The animal senses this and allows you to partake in their world. If you can do this with animals, how about we go into the areas where bullets are flying, drugs are rising, and people are dying. The Bible says that perfect love casts out all fear. So, let’s go into the neighborhoods and roll around in the grass with people we wouldn’t normally associate with.”
My goal is to always leave people with a better understanding of their dog, giving them permission to fall deeper in love with them.
Love the dog you have. After all, they love you just the way you are.
My trainers and I show people ways they can have a wild, free relationship that is stress free with their dog, which is ultimately what gives the dog the ability to focus and do more disciplined behaviors. Just like you can’t expect a young boy to sit and do complicated math without giving him an outlet, a release of some kind.
When people see the military dog at the handler’s side, displaying impeccable behavior, what they often fail to realize is that dog gets a ton of free time to be a dog too. Lots and lots of mental and physical stimulation.
For humans and dogs alike, if you play together, you tend to stay together.
Since many people have been isolating in their homes during this time, several have decided now is the time for a dog, since they can give the time necessary for potty training, etc.
Plus, people are trying to deal with a lot of different emotions (fear, anxiety, etc), and here again, the unconditional love of a dog brings comfort. Being too “strong” and suppressing emotions is how we break. When we numb painful emotions, we also numb positive emotions. Emotions are safe around dogs and it’s why the are so therapeutic.
Dogs teach us best how to live and love. Always.
I dedicate this blog to all the dogs who continue to be a constant comfort during crises, and all the people who are social distancing (despite the discomforts), for those of us who are most vulnerable. Having received a cancer diagnosis during this already uncertain time, I am even more grateful for dogs and the people who love like them, choosing to be by my side through the darkest of times.
May 22, 2020
October 17, 2018