Beck’s Dog

This sweet, wonderful woman I know—I’ll call her Beck—has the funniest dog.

Beck describes her childhood as Vietnam. Her home life was unstable, to say the least. She was abused and manipulated. In and out of foster care.  Beck never knew what was coming and she never felt safe.

I think the world of this woman, Beck, and how she’s made her way in her post-war world. She’s done remarkably well and she struggles. The ways Beck learned to cope with Vietnam as a child show up today. Health, creativity, softness, joy and thriving also show up.

Beck is hard on herself at times. She knows that her old conditioning isn’t needed today and her go-to is to judge herself when it comes up. She tries to scold and criticize herself into change. Guess how well that works.

So anyway, about Beck’s dog.

Beck’s dog barely survived his own Vietnam. Beck rescued her pup from abuse, neglect, and extreme malnourishment.

Like Beck, her dog learned to cope through his Vietnam the best he could. For nearly two years after Beck adopted him, he crouched in corners and wouldn’t let anyone touch him.

He tore up their home. Beck’s dog cost thousands of dollars in damage, not to mention many months of sleepless nights and hours upon hours of time and effort to help his little body adjust to food rather than the rocks and dirt he ate for the first year of his life.

Beck was determined to love her dog to sanity and health. (She was loving herself back to sanity and health at the same time.)

The dog is now 8 years old. When Beck and I are talking on zoom, she picks up her dog and locks eyes with him. He clearly feels safe with her. He loves and trusts her, and her him. But the funniest, cutest thing happens.

Even though this adorable little dog looks at his Mommy with so much love and trust, he growls.

It’s a loud growl, but there’s no real juice to it. No bite to his bark. It’s a conditioned response he learned long ago, that no longer fits but still shows up. It’s so clearly not him. He growls on auto-pilot and then licks Beck’s nose.

Beck thinks his habitual, residual growl is the cutest thing ever. It endears him to her.

Isn’t that interesting?

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