Healing Turning Points: Our Dog’s Love Story
I’m back with another installment of Healing Turning Points: Transforming Pain into Self-Love. The purpose of this series is to show you that you are not alone, that others have experienced the same pains you have, and that there is a path to healing.
You can catch up with previous installments of the Healing Turning Points series below:
Healing our emotional wounds is a journey that is unique for each person and full of twists and turns, as well as surprising realizations.
While we can be mostly healed from our past, our growth continues and as we grow, different aspects of ourselves are brought to light. This can bring up new aspects of early wounds. This is just a natural part of the healing process.
But one thing that is true for me, and has been for all the people I’ve helped, is that you never forget that point - the point in your life when you finally said, “ENOUGH!”
I call this the “Healing Turning Point”.
We get to our Healing Turning Point in our own time, some people suffer longer than others before deciding to seek the help they need, but eventually, we all experience that moment when we know something has to change.
Today, I’m sharing a different kind of Healing Turning Point story, the story of our beloved 4-legged companion, Girl…
When you trace relationship triggers and symptoms to their source inside of you (e.g., to your childhood), they become opportunities for healing. The close bonds we share with our pets can also trigger deep healing for us.
Two years ago we rescued our dog, Girl, and her life and situation evoked something very deep in me. For two days, while I was trying to find her a home, I was totally altered as I was releasing the deepest grief from my childhood. As you will see, I saw myself more clearly through her. Recusing Girl was like rescuing my inner child.
Our pets show us examples of true love, empathy, wisdom, presence, courage, boundaries, and if we are open, so much more. I wrote Girl’s story from Girl’s perspective and just as there is so much that she has given me, her story may evoke something in you. One thing she can teach is that it’s never too late to get the love you want.
Girl’s Healing Turning Point
When I was 77 dog years old, something miraculous happened - I met 2 people who really loved me and brought me back to life. When I first saw Elicia and Doug, I was scared of them but I really liked their dog, Brocco. I had a crush on him, still do. Oh, Brocco... I’ll tell you more about him later.
Elicia and Doug, who I now call Mama and Daddy, came to visit me while they were looking for their lost cat. I lived outside in a tiny fenced in area in the backyard of my owner’s house. Years ago, I dug a hole under some cement in my pen so I could hide when I felt scared or cold or if it was raining.
At first, when my owner introduced me to Mama and Daddy, I turned around and hid in my hole. I heard my owner tell Daddy that I dug the hole myself and he said I was “an architect,” it was the only time I felt he was proud of me. Now I see how wrong it was for him to leave me outside and watch me dig my own hole to feel safe and warm.
When I would see Brocco I got excited and would come to the door of the fence. Mama and Daddy would let me out of my pen and play with me. It was the first time anyone gave me attention like that, I liked it, but I was still scared.
I was scared of people because my owner hurt me and so I thought all people would hurt me. Since I’m a dog I don’t really think about my past, but just to fill you in, my owner would hit me when I was a puppy.
I thought I was bad and deserved to be left outside.
Mama’s and Daddy’s visits were the best part of my week. I wasn't scared of them anymore, they were so nice, they didn’t hit me and I got to run around outside. Once they were ready to leave I would run back in my pen where I felt safe. I started to think about them when they weren’t around and I know they were thinking about me, too.
My owner wasn’t around much during that time. I would see Mama and Daddy more than I would see him. He would come by a couple of times a week to drop off a pile of dry junk food in my igloo. I drank water from a bucket that had leaves and dirt in it. Sometimes I would have to find food myself.
I had no idea this wasn’t normal. One time, my owner didn’t come by with food for 2 weeks, I was so hungry. During that time, I saw Mama and she came into my pen and put the most delicious food in my igloo. I could tell she was sad and worried about me.
On Mother’s Day, Mama took me out and took pictures and a video of me. She started to find me a new home, meanwhile, she was also feeling her own pain from her father through my abandonment by my owner.
Me and Mama had similar lives, we both are very strong, sometimes our trauma gets triggered, but we are very loving. We even both found love later on in our lives.
Shortly after Mama took those pictures she came with Daddy and two other people and everyone chased me around my pen. I didn’t know what they were doing nor what they were going to do, so I ran from them. Finally, Daddy caught me and Mama put me in her car. Looking back, that was the best day of my life. I was running away from them, thank god they caught me! Fear is a strange thing, I thought my pen and the hole were keeping me safe, but that fear, which caused me to hide, was also keeping me from getting the love I wanted.
I didn’t know where Mama was taking me, but I felt loved by her. I let her carry me from the car to the doctor’s office. I had never been to the doctor before, I didn’t know what they would do to me there. That first visit they stuck something in my leg and it made me feel weird. So my first night in my new home with Mama and Daddy was a blur. Mama put me in the shower and brushed my fur for the first time - I didn’t like it but I knew she was taking care of me. I slept on the rug in the bathroom, the furthest room from the door. No way was I going outside. When Mama and Daddy would take me outside I would do my business and run right back inside to be cozy with my new pack.
I was excited to finally live with Brocco but soon realized that he is gay and isn’t interested in an old lady like me. He was already ignoring another old lady in the house, Molly. I didn’t like Molly, but she died shortly after I arrived.
Brocco has since warmed up to me and we lay against each other in the backseat of the car. Sometimes he sits on me, and I like it.
Mama and Daddy bought me a comfy bed for every room of the house. They give me triple filtered water and the most delicious gourmet raw meat with dinner. I was even taking all kinds of supplements for a year and a half that made me feel even better. I now know what I deserve and what it feels like to be loved.
Once I was walking with Daddy and we saw my old owner. He was surprised and a little hurt that I wasn’t excited to see him. I walked up to him and he would knock me on my head with his knuckles and told Daddy that I like that, so I walked away from him. He said, “I thought she’d be more excited.” He really is clueless when it comes to love and I now know what’s good for me.
My body also feels so much better after going to see the doctor for a year. The doctors removed things hurting me in my mouth, my throat, my lungs, and my lady parts. I even found my voice again and I bark when Brocco barks.
I look at Mama all day and feel her love for me, she also tells me how much she appreciates and loves me all of the time. She always knows what I need and gives me so much more than I knew was possible. I also know Brocco and Daddy will protect me and that they love me too.
Recently we took a long journey to Costa Rica, it’s hotter but we are outside a lot. Sometimes we go in this salty water and it feels really good. Mama, Daddy, and Brocco are relaxed and happy so I am relaxed and happy too. I still get nervous sometimes but healing takes time. I even like it now when they pat me on my back near my tail, where I used to get hit sometimes.
I thought I’d never leave that pen, and then when I did I thought the neighborhood was all there was and it was wonderful.
Now I’m in a whole new country, and life keeps getting better and better.
I feel so grateful and loved.