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Home / Articles / Columnists / Dog World with Tina /  Practice Paw-giveness
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Tuesday, May 6,2014

Practice Paw-giveness

By Tina Valant-Siebelts  
Rescued dogs with histories of abuse and neglect rebound and often find happy, loving homes. Dogs learn that not all people are mean, hurtful, troubled or angry. We can apply the example set by dogs… Consider this. From a bad situation, a dog can chose to remain angry, fearful or aggressive. They may growl or snap as someone approaches. People shy away, afraid of being bitten. Feeling unhappy and unloved, dogs must feel a need to change. But, is it possible for a dog to forgive and forget? Having witnessed and been a part of 100s of rescues, I believe so. With time, love and patience, wounds from physical abuse, fear, neglect, and abandonment usually heal. The dog becomes the loving, loyal companion they were meant to be, rewarding their family with an ocean of unconditional love.

During a retreat at Yoga Journey in Boca Raton, a curtain was pulled, exposing a priceless treasure. “Years ago, I was listening to Marianne Williamson, on XM Radio” stated Wendi Blum, Highland Beach resident and strategy coach. “It was 3 pm, she was addressing forgiveness. A heavy burden weighs us down as we harbor resentment or anger when others have mistreated us”, she added. Dr.Deborah Brown, clinical psychologist agrees, “Anger can be emotionally and physically harmful, when it remains stuck inside us, unmoving and unresolved. The only way I know to release long-held anger is forgiveness”.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." -- Lewis B. Smedes

“Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness."  --Marianne Williamson

“When you forgive, you in no way change the past - but you sure do change the future."  -- Bernard Meltzer

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” -- Mahatma Gandhi

Blum suggested, “Set your mobile phone for a 3pm reminder, then take a moment to forgive”. Forgive a slow or aggressive motorist, a family member, someone who mistreated you, or even yourself.

The person doesn’t have to know you forgave them. They may no longer be a part of your life, or may have passed on.

People tell me, “I hope you let them know what dirt bag they are, for surrendering the dog”. No, I do not. I focus my energy, resources and attention on the dog, who doesn’t understand why I am taking them away from the only home they have ever known. Forgive those who surrender. They usually feel badly enough.

Forgiveness does not pardon others’ wrongdoing.

Forgiving allows past bad feelings to drift away from you, like white billowy clouds. “You will feel lighter and happier, while you open space for better things to enter your life”, added Blum.

Be a part of a powerful, positive movement toward peace-your own, your dog’s, and the world around us, with forgiveness. Talk to your dog about it!

Tina Valant-Siebelts is a confirmed dog-o-holic, mom to many rescued pets, who volunteers with numerous organizations. To "fill all those dog bowls," Tina is an award-winning photographer, writer & event coordinator.



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