There are days that I am simply amazed by the level of trust that my dogs seem to place in their humans. On a regular basis, my lab Jake will lie next to a rocking chair in our house with his paws, his tail, or even his head under the bottom rail of the rocking chair while someone is sitting in it. One careless forward rock could be a seriously crushing blow. I don’t think he does this because he’s stupid, I think it’s because he trusts us not to hurt him. Why shouldn’t he? We’ve never given him any reason not to trust us completely.
Since Jake was a puppy, life has been nothing but good. He’s never been hit, never left out in the cold, and never gone without food. He’s never had any reason not to trust. That’s not always the case with dogs. We adopted our last dog, Max, at the age of three. We were his third home and it’s pretty clear that he was abused early in life. He never completely trusted us. Max would cringe when anyone picked up a broom, a rolled up newspaper or a vacuum. He almost never let people touch his stomach, and he sometime growled when people make sudden movements around him. Kids made him especially nervous with their unpredictable behavior. In every other way he was a great dog, but it made me sad that this beautiful golden retriever had learned not to trust his humans. Jake is so different, his gentleness and trust know no boundaries. He’d willingly let a 2 year old use him as a jungle gym or take food out of his mouth.
Complete trust. It’s a beautiful thing. And so rare. Imagine how different life would be — and how much more connection might be possible — if we humans could always be so simply gentle and trusting with each other.