You need to be the alpha.
And the list goes on and on.
Many years ago when my beloved soul dog Shiva found me, I had no idea how traumatized an animal can be - and here he was with me. Shiva's recovery became my main focus.
In the beginning Shiva was a total basket case. He was afraid of moving cars, men, noise, black shirts, uniforms, firecrackers, clouds in the sky, sun glasses, tall people, beards, hats, skateboards, getting into my car, getting out of my car, grass, wet surfaces. Pretty much everything!
In order to help Shiva become a well adjusted canine member of society I had to accommodate him. I had to unlearn many of the prevailing belief systems with regards to dogs such as the ones mentioned above. Shiva needed the space to make choices. He needed to feel safe enough to consent to any measures we took.
Shiva taught me to venture into unknown territory and see the world from his point of view. He inspired me to study holistic methods designed to help animals with severe trauma. Eventually the nearly impossible happened: Shiva became a happy dog.
Did he overcome every single one of his fears? Of course not.
Did this old beat up rescue dog learn new things? Absolutely!
Did his PTSD go down? Yes, significantly!
Was it a quick fix? No.
Would I do it all over again? In a heartbeat.
Boy, it was so worth it!
I kid you not when I say that SHIVA was one of my greatest teachers and the catalyst for the work I do today. SHIVA changed my life.
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Photo Credits: Kristin Zabawa, Malcolm Pullen, Nancy Yamin