What training my dogs taught me about life, love, and happiness

When Fear is Gone

I remember this day so well. We were in agility class, the photographer was shooting us for the book; Sheila was scared. Her ears were back–always a sign of fear. She wanted her treat, for sure, but she was nervous, hyper-aware of the man with the camera, unsure of what it meant. I can read her emotional state in this photo because I lived through this moment–and so many others–for years.  The photograph shows a slight wrinkle in her ears.  That happened when she was uneasy. It’s subtle, but I know every inch of her.

Now, five years later, I never see this. I see curiosity, occasional embarrassment when she’s in trouble, assertiveness when she’s protecting hearth and home (and me), but I don’t see fear. I never see the contraction of her flesh that wrinkles in response and echos so painfully in my heart–as if all the moisture was drawn out of her all at once, and vitality drawn out of me.

What do I experience now? I feel a brave companion by my side–an attentive dog that’s ready for whatever comes our way. I finally have a friend who can play with me, join me on long walks, and demand attention and affection when she needs it.

Is that how long it takes to be strong? Five years? If so, it was wholly worth the wait.


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  • Tammy Sexton


    My name’s Tammy and I’m the Marketing Coordinator at TheUncommonDog.com. I found your blog through Blog Paws and thought you might be interested in seeing a fun and engaging infographic we’ve created that focuses on dog safety during the hot summer months: http://www.theuncommondog.com/Images/infographics/dog-days-summer.jpg

    If you like the infographic and want to share it with your readers please feel free to do so. The only thing we ask in return is that you link back to TheUncommonDog.com in someway from your post.

    Also, definitely let me know if you do decide to post it because we’d be happy to spread the word about your blog by linking to your post from our Facebook page.

    Big Tail Wag!
    Tammy Sexton
    Marketing Coordinator

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