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A Paw on the Knee

It was my proudest moment of being a dog mom/handler/owner, whatever you want to call it. Bear put his paw on my knee. I’ve had dogs go High in Trial, Best of Breed, Champions, and rank in the national top ten in obedience. When Bear put his paw on my knee, I melted. I was clipping Truman’s toenails. I use positive reinforcement to trim nails, one toenail=one treat. Truman enjoys it, and often gives me his paw to do more, after I have finished clipping all his nails.

What about Bear? When we adopted him from the shelter 10 months ago, he was terrified. If you tried to touch his leg, or hold him, he would mock bite, and scream. He ran from the room if he saw the nail clippers. Six months after we adopted Bear, I dropped off a donation at the shelter, and one of the workers said she remembered Bear. “He had problems,” she said. He did. He was depressed and terrified. His way of dealing with fear was to fight and run away.

So yesterday, when I was doing Truman’s nails, and Bear came over and put his paw on my knee, and willingly let me clip his dewclaws, I almost cried. It was the most sincere display of trust I have ever experienced with an animal. Bear was flat out saying, in spite of having people hurt him, reject him, throw things at him, hit him, confine him, he trusted me. Me. I was honored.

Trust

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