I've written a few times about our dog Tobey. He was about a year old when we got him. As you can see from this picture, he is an absolutely beautiful Sheltie. He's posing with his best friend Molly Mutt Paws.
He may not have been so certain about me. He ran away the first day and I had a very hard time running through the streets of Franklin trying to get him before he got into serious trouble. For months he was afraid to enter the door to come back in the house and had to run exactly five circles around the yard before he had the courage to dart through.
Eventually I learned that he felt safe with four things - Molly - on the couch - on the bed - and on a leash. After he grew to trust me, the best way to introduce him to new people was to put him on a leash; even in the house. If we are connected, he feels safe.
I can measure great progress with Tobey. We are so lucky to have great friends. Now, as Front Porch Folk gather at the house to play music, little Tobey eventually wonders down on his own and timidly works his way around to his musical friends. They have patiently searched for ways to connect with Tobey and it has added meaning to all our lives.
And what is Molly Mutt Paws story? Not so very different from Tobey's. She was a stray waiting adoption at the Humane Society - 9 months old. She too had a hard time connecting. Many times when I first had her she ran away. She was afraid of children to the point she cowered. Today she is Miss Socialite and cannot get enough attention. That is due to neighbor children, my nephews, family and friends, a trainer and agility training helping her.
I never understood why Molly was so fearful in those early days. Then, after having her some years, I recently discovered, she had been shot and still has pellets in her leg. She too had troubled days.
It took a village of people to help these two furry friends live happier lives. We could not take away the traumas they once suffered. It could not be just me alone. It has taken a broader love and compassion than I alone could offer.
To me, they represent the greater work we must all share for humankind. We cannot raise our children in isolation. We cannot grow in isolation. It takes a strong community - a broader love and compassion to make a real difference.
Let me be part of that kind of change!