Dr. Wayne Davis: The power of forgiving animals
Grace likes to ride under the back seat of my pickup. Frankly, I think that’s goofy. You’d think she would want to at least look out the windows. But there she was with three of my kids riding back from Vernal. About half way back from Vernal she became very agitated, forcing her way between legs and shopping bags toward the left back door. (Her preferred exit).
I pulled over quickly to let her out even before the noxious aroma of a lovely brown liquid entered my nostrils, firing my smell receptors and was interpreted by my brain. She took off into the sage behind the proverbial bush. Even in an emergency her sense of modesty remained intact and what was proper prevailed (she does bark with an old school English accent).
As the mess was being cleaned up, I glanced over and noticed Grace peering at us from behind the sage with her ears laid back and the most pitiful look of embarrassment, shame and concern on her face. No, we don’t beat her, she is just very sensitive. “Time out” and taking away her allowance, I saw from the beginning, were not going to be needed.
My heart went out to her. I called her saying “It’s Ok, you’re a good dog.” She understands that very well. She came running; her whole demeanor changed by my words. She was jumping in circles at my feet, her whole body being wagged by her tail. If she could have done back flips, she would have.
Why was she so happy? She was forgiven. But realistically, if my opinion didn’t matter to her she wouldn’t have cared to begin with. So much of her joy was based on relationship.
She could have dealt with her feelings of guilt, I suppose, by just deciding I didn’t exist. Dogs are realistic and don’t seem to be prone to, or capable of such self deception (as humans seem to be). She could have just run away.
Then she would have been guilty of running away (a much greater offense). Or she could have just decided it wasn’t that big of a deal (the reason many prisoners are not paroled).
Or she may not have had much of a sense of the rightness or wrongness of things and was therefore unaccountable? Her joy in being forgiven may have given me as much joy in the act of forgiving her. Makes ya kind of love her.
Dr. Wayne Davis is the owner and veterinarian at Craig Veterinary Hospital.Dr. Wayne Davis is the owner and veterinarian at Craig Veterinary Hospital. Dr. Wayne Davis is the owner and veterinarian at Craig Veterinary Hospital.
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