Walk this way.
The moment my hand touched the bright yellow leash draped over the dinning room chair Tristan ran to the front room where he made himself as small as possible mashed into the corner of the safe haven he finds in the brown couch. I am reminded in a flash what terror looks like for him, but I have to be stronger than his fears. It is hard to watch him in these moments and it breaks my heart every time those fears come to the surface, I feel the tears hot in the back of my eyes but I will not cry for him. I can’t let myself feel sorry for him, he deserves to move forward. Breathing deeply and thinking about nothing but stillness and calm I walk to him with the leash and kiss the top of his head, the clasp of the leash clicks onto his collar and I turn to move.
“Lets go out guys”, Tully and Maggie run to the kitchen and I gently tug on the leash and to my surprise I do not feel resistance, so I keep going. We all come to a sudden halt in the kitchen just feet from the door leading to the backyard. Tully brings a toy to lay down by Tristan and waits patiently for what will happen next. Maggie is next to Tristan looking up at me as if to say “Momma he is scared!”
Another deep breath, and we forge on. I open the back door and keep moving. Tristan bolts out much like a horse with wild abandon into the yard, I manage to hold onto the leash and I let him get his barrings. There is no doubt in my mind that Maggie and Tully know exactly what is happening, they do not leave him at first. Right by him they will stay until he goes to take his first steps.
I remain still, feet firmly planted and I am sending this sweet boy every ounce of courage I can muster up, for a few minuets we are all frozen. I start whistling as I often do when I am cooking or folding laundry then I slowly turn and begin walking. I can feel him move with me, I turn and look then I keep moving. In a soft voice I praise him, I walk until he stops then turn around to see the progress.
My estimation is that he moved about 8 feet, which I think is pretty amazing because how we do things in this household is one step at a time. So my boy is already an over achiever!
I walked over to him unclasped the leash and gave him praise and a treat. Then I hooked the leash to Maggie and we walked around the yard, I have to tell you she was very dumbfounded by walking in circles on the leash in the backyard, but a very good sport none the less. Then I did the same thing with Tully who had a toy and a tennis ball shoved in his mouth as he went straight to the garage. (when he is on the leash we always go out the garage door for walks, or rides to the groomer or dog park) I had to pull him in the opposite direction and mutter to him that he needed to try to be a good example on the leash for his brother! It is fascinating to me the bond these dogs have and Tristan would not be where he is today without Tully and Maggie. Everyone got a treat and a cuddle and back in the house we went. Tristan rebounded quickly from his adventure on the leash snoozing on his favorite bed and acting like nothing happened the next time we went outside. We will do this routine at least once a day until the routine is established with comfort before we move on from the backyard.
Tristan inspires me. I needed to walk, and so I did. I left my house and I walked 6.5 miles.
I walked to the river.
Then I walked to the bridge, and I saw these…..
I thought of Tristan and how brave he was and I ran up the first two flights of stairs until I could go no further then I kept going anyway and I walked across this.
It was beautiful. There was beauty everywhere I looked, and it was a bit overwhelming. I looked to the left and into the empty seats of the Cincinnati Reds ballpark where I found my dad dancing around in my thoughts. I looked to the right and I saw these words scribbled on the bridge….
In those words I thought about the new year, about “resolutions” and how sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to conquer unattainable tasks and feats and then beat ourselves up when we can’t possibly achieve them. I have worked very hard to get my head around the notion that if I push myself and do my very best then no matter the outcome, in the end it’s okay and to hold my head up, be proud and keep going. My goals for the new year are to SEE the world through eyes that are different than mine, taking the time to not assume I understand what others go through in life. TOUCH on the parts of my past and myself that still need work and let them go, doing my best not to run or make excuses to harbor them any longer. LOVE more than I ever have before, giving of myself to those around me and also taking the time to show myself that I am worthy of others love, accepting it with gratitude, while continuing to love myself… shortcomings and all. Finally to continue to TASTE what it is that nourishes my body and my soul, not my fears by mindlessly eating to numb the pain.
I walked across the bridge, thinking about Tristan and what had happened earlier that morning, I found myself daydreaming a bit of what it would be like to walk him. Holding out my empty hand I could feel Tristan’s leash in my palm and looking down at the shadows on the ground I swore I could see the outline of his body walking beside me, I smile feverishly at this thought, this hope that we can both continue walking this journey together.. just one step at a time.
May 2014 be filled with much love, laughter, and happiness for us all. Thank you for following along with me, and I look forward to the amazing adventures that await us in the new year!