I am not a dog person. Not by any means. When I was little, I was petting a dog the way little kids do, by scrunching its fur with every ounce of my little body. The dog bit me in the face. For the longest time I had a little scar by my eye and my mom says the doctor told us “One more millimeter, and she’d have lost that eye.”
While I don’t remember the event, my body does. When I see a dog, I tense. The weird thing is, dogs seem to really like me. They’ll come bounding after me, tails wagging, tongues lolling and intellectually I think “Oh, they’re coming to say hello”. Emotionally I think “DEAR GOD THAT DOG WANTS TO BITE OFF MY FACE!”
We are not friends, canines and me.
Except for one. We got a dog mostly for the kids, but she’s snuggled right up close to my heart. We take walks together. Sometimes when I don’t really want to, but I guess that’s a benefit of having a dog too. She makes me leave my house. Everyone in the neighborhood knows her and you can hear echoes of “Hi, Reggie!” when we walk up and down the block. Once a woman called out “You got your dog a haircut! She’s looking goooooood!”
This morning we took a walk in the snow. There’s a peculiar thing that happens after a heavy snow. Things quiet. I’m sure the snow muffles the world. This morning, it was particularly quiet. No cars whizzing by. No insects. No birds. Just the soft shuff shuff of my boots and the click of Reggie’s claws on the icy sidewalk.
The air was so crisp and clean and I just breathed it in. Reggie dug her face in the snow and occasionally looked at me for approval.
We plodded along, in the cold and the white, and I thought, “You know, some dogs are okay.” And mornings like this put me back in center. In calm.
Later Reggie and I will take a nap on the couch. She will lay her head down next to my face and we will sleep.
See? Proof that you can learn to trust again, even after you’ve been hurt.