Ever looked into the eyes of an animal and felt something familiar, saw something you recognized? Maybe you shared something, an understanding that transcended the connection through words. Animals reflect back to us our true selves, our raw nature, if we’re observant, they can reveal our behaviors and patterns.
Animals have been an intricate thread in my life web, ( I was conceived in a barn ) I grew up surrounded by all different animals and had you asked me who my best friend was when I was thirteen I would have told you my horse Magic. We shared a deep understanding in the most pure, simple way. As a teenager I had started visiting shelter animals around my hometown but it wasn’t until Bear crossed my path that my eyes were opened wider and I started to feel a call to be more involved.
We rescued Bear in the beginning of 2014 at 14 1/2 years of age. We weren’t looking into adopting a dog although it was something I had dreamed of doing one day. Bear was a litter mate of a friends dog who had since passed on, he had mentioned to me that Bear, who at the time was called Jager/Blacktongue had been found alongside a busy highway just outside of town. Her owner was moving out of town and hadn’t found someone to take her so she was abandoned. There was no question whether or not Bear would find her forever home with us. I couldn’t fathom the thought of this old dog who was left by her third owner being at the shelter even though the shelter is a wonderful, caring place it wasn’t the place for her.
I was so excited to share my life and love with an animal again but like an overjoyed small child I hadn’t factored in what she had just been through. She was not trusting, she did not feel comfortable being close and snuggling, for about the first two months she would cry in the car if we were anywhere near that highway where she was found. It was a journey with Bear- to gain her trust, and to watch her grow out of anxiety into security, to overcome neglect- it was life altering. My patience and respect for her journey encouraged me to act that way toward myself. We were healing together, we were blooming together. It was one of the largest honors I’ve had in my life to share that year and half with such an incredible, wise being.
Bear has since passed on and I searched for many ways to cultivate what she taught me (which is so much it will require many posts). I started making organic dog treats to take to a shelter in our valley which I call ‘Bear treats’ a small play on words as they are bare of unnecessary ingredients/preservatives and continued to inch my way into the rescue world. I am now part of the adoption team at Gunnison Valley Animal Welfare League (GVAWL) and also photograph the animals waiting on their furever home.
Each animal has its own personality and characteristics that require us to exercise our intuition. This is something that comes very naturally for me, I listen and greatly respect each animal as a being. Many of these animals feel displaced or stressed or very unsure- allowing them their own time to come to you builds trust, builds a relationship. Approaching an animal with extreme excitement “Omg Kitty, puppy!!!” could very well cause a negative reaction in the animal.
We must have a balanced, confident, and unattached energy within us. Unattached from outcome- meaning it is not personal if an animal doesn’t show immediate affection. We are the lighthouse, they are navigating their way to us- it is about them. Also, unattached from their previous situations. Animals are very in tune to our energy and if we feel so terrible for what has happened to them it often restricts their growth. Although it is natural to have a heavy heart when we know of such displays of cruelty, neglect, and abandonment it is more beneficial to fill them up with loving, positive enforcement.
Animals have a way of surpassing the role of student into one of our greatest teachers. They live in the moment as it’s the only reality to exist but prove existence isn’t confined to here and now.
I would love to hear stories about any interactions you have/had with animals or if you are involved with rescue in any way I would be honored to connect! I will soon be adding a ‘Rescue me’ page with photos of our adoptable animals including short bios on each and will update when they find their forever homes
Gratitude and love,