TRAUMA OF THE POODLE KING … #1000speak

unnamed (3)Anyone who reads my blog knows, I have an inordinate and undying love of all things Douglas. If you are not a longtime follower, let me bring you up to date. This year Doug turned fifteen years old. We met at the SPCA where he was a patron and I was a volunteer dog walker. On the day of our meeting, Doug had a previous appointment to meet his maker. He had only been at the shelter for a few days, but in his fear of people (and I suspect being hurt any further), had managed to mutilate a good number of the staff and volunteers. He had been biting and difficult to approach without a willingness to take your life in your hands. Being ridiculously arrogant, stubborn and full of myself, decided to take Doug home. Later that week he decided to give me stitches—six to be exact. I later found out that he had been the dog at a local crack house in the town where I worked. The veterinarian who was willing to take us on, explained that he was in pain due to a severe case of colitis, and there was evidence of several healed bone fractures of various ages. Doug had been neglected and beaten severely on more than one occasion.

  unnamed (4)Douglas was already ten years old when we met. It’s been five years since then. He is no longer aggressive and he has had nothing but unleashed open space to romp, constant attention from me and my neighbors, homemade dog food, nursing back to health, toys, snacks and the run of the bed and household. In that time, one would think a dog would not retain too much about his past. Don’t fool yourself. The other night Doug became very excited about having dinner. He proceeded into what I affectionately call the poodle dance. He gets up on hind legs and twirls a bit. Albeit at 105 years old he is a bit off balance. He tumbled over his water dish, which proceeded to flood the kitchen floor. I am not apt to blow up over silly things. As a matter of fact, when it comes to Douglas, I am more likely to laugh or rub his head as I did this day and say, “Well now I know why everyone calls you Grace behind your back.” He was having none of it. In the time I’ve had him, I have never seen or heard Doug cry—until this happened. He was shaking and inconsolable with fear. I picked him up, sat down and comforted him until he could slow down enough to let me dry up the puddle and give him dinner.

If you’ve been exposed to it, you know that the effects of abuse are enduring. Its consequences are not always insidious but they are pervasive. They dig in and they dig in deep. They continue long after the situation has passed—showing up in memories of a certain face, a place, a look. It doesn’t even have to be that specific; it can come at you out of nowhere. What is surprising to me is that I am still stunned at how much it permeates ones existence. People move on from trauma every day. The effects of trauma can be overcome, but it will not be forgotten. Even if one dissociates themselves from it, the memory will still be holed up somewhere in the psyche lurking and waiting for a chance to strike. Our very cells chronicle our life stories. Douglas has given me a prime example of how I must stay vigilant of my own behaviors and perceptions. I don’t always remember that if it’s a living thing, then it’s most likely a product of it’s environment—of what it lives with- and through. Yes, Doug is a dog, and yes, I treat him like King of the Poodles, but witnessing his level of understanding is all the more reason to be careful with my words toward myself and other people. Doug may not process hurtful words beyond their tone or volume, but there’s reason to be even more careful with those who can. I’m not the best at that. Oh, I’m great with Douglas, but I need to consistently practice that with myself and others who can understand me better than he can.

” Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting their own battles.” Einstein (That includes yourself… “Be careful out there.”)

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The following is credited to: My good buddy Lisa at The Meaning of Me

(cuz I can’t think of a way to say it better!)

On February 20, 2015, United Nations World Day of Social Justice, one thousand bloggers will join their voices to speak through their blogs about compassion. I will be one of them.

Why?

Read the headlines. Look out your window. Walk down the street. You already know why. I don’t have to list and link the stories here. You already know. Far too many days I see the news and find myself wondering, “What is wrong with people?” We can sit and try to answer that or we can prove that there is so much right with people. It’s out there. Compassion, kindness…it exists.

So join us, won’t you? Help us spread the word. Visit the 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion Facebook page. Sign up to add your blog post to the effort. Ask to join the Facebook group. Use the hashtag #1000Speak to promote this event.

And if you don’t have a blog or aren’t on Facebook or social media? We’ve got you covered. Visit the #1000Speak for Compassion site at http://1000speak.wordpress.com/and join in.

Help make all of our voices heard.

#1000Speak

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25 thoughts on “TRAUMA OF THE POODLE KING … #1000speak

  1. Hey…did you quote me??? I thought I was losing my mind (possibly that’s true) and then I was all “hey, I feel like a celebrity.”
    It’s amazing how long the effects of a life lived in circumstances like that will last. If a dog can hang on to it all those years later, imagine how deeply it sits for a human. Bad.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Even though Douglas is always the star (king), I just also want you to know how much I appreciate your thoughts and knowledge about what each person, each survivor, each traumatized individual (and trauma is defined in many ways, different for everyone) carries with them and a seemingly small incident, no big deal, can cause hurt and suffering and pain all over again. “Don’t judge a man(or woman) till you walk a mile in his/her shoes.” Native American saying, I believe.

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  3. How wonderful of you to adopt Douglas under such circumstances – most people would turn their back and forget they ever met him. Although the trauma of his past is so deeply rooted in him, dogs are mostly “in the moment” creatures and you have given him so many moments of love and caring. You’ve changed a life completely. I hope you realize how special that makes YOU. I’m so very glad you are going to be participating in #1000Speak – I can’t wait to read your post!

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  4. Hey! Where ‘s the icon to click for “Very Like”?
    I’ve heard you speak of how you and Douglas came to be as family and it so warms my heart. And for that reason, you both reside in a most special place in my heart:)
    Seeing as I’m a tad brain dead, I’m sure Jen won’t mind if I echo her sentiments? She expressed them perfectly!
    Thank’s for writing this piece!

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  5. This was such a moving story, Ivy, because I know exactly what you are saying here. I see it in myself, and in so many others. Damage that should have long since healed in view of a much better life now, pops up in little ways… our fears, our pain, our sadness. I love you for the wonderful life you have given Douglas, his senior years are truly golden, and I know that he returns the favor in so many ways for you. I love that you are patient with him, and I thank you for the powerful reminder for us to be more patient and compassionate with our fellow humans, and ourselves. Awesome post!.

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  6. Reblogged this on beyondtheflow and commented:
    For all my friends who love a good dog story, I loved this. Ivy rescued Doug the poodle and writes about the lingering effects of trauma. Ivy is also joining me and spreading the word for 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion.

    Liked by 1 person

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