Monday, January 4, 2016
The picture is terrible, but who cares. That blur in the black sweater you see is Rudolph. Tonight, I went with a group to help walk some shelter animals. When I showed up, a lot of people were walking smaller dogs. When I saw this guy, I knew that he needed some fresh air......so off we went.
I don't know his story, but from the looks of things, Rudy (as I affectionately nicknamed him this evening) has had a rough go at life so far. As I got to know him, he had a lot of the same personality traits that Irving does. A bit timid at first, but super smart and wonderfully loyal once you have his trust. Also, he loves activity. It's safe to say that we became fast friends.
Bear with me in the length of this, but Rudy taught me 2 major things tonight that I think are worth saying.
#1. Make yourself available. - When I said "I'll take Rudolph for a walk", I was told, "he doesn't always like to walk much. If he doesn't want to go, you can bring him back and walk a different one." It took some coaxing, but once he realized that I was there to help him and wasn't going to let anything bad happen to him, he was the best walking and running dog you've seen. We walked a little over two miles together. Sniffing things along the way. Happy as a clam. You see, sometimes people or animals need help, but either don't know how to ask or aren't sure who they can trust. Make it known that you are available to help. Make it known that there is good out there. Then prove it.
#2. Patience. Rudy and I didn't make it 20' from the door before he needed to stop for a #2 bathroom break. No big deal...everybody poops, right? 30' later...we have to stop and do the same thing again. 50' after that...the intestines were already empty, but we've all been there with that "there is nothing there, but the works is trying to shove stuff out anyways", right? 50' again.....75'.....30'......100'...... each time, I could see that Rudy wanted to walk......but couldn't for sometimes 2-3 minutes. He'd look up at me in between "pushes" with a look of "I'm sorry man. If you want to go back, that's fine I guess". Each time, I waited. All he needed was "it's ok. I'm doing this for you, not me. Take your time and do what you need to do". Between that and some petting, he started to relax. The stomach seemed to settle down. My patience paid off. Happy dog. Happy walker. Helping isn't always about what's convenient for you. In this case, Rudy just needed me to be patient with him and help him as he needed.....not as I had initially thought he needed.
By the end of the hour long walk, whenever we stopped walking for a moment to chat or for a crosswalk, Rudy would stop right by my side and lean on my leg a little. He was smiling at the end of the walk and when the walk was over, he was ok with going back to his temporary home.
I really, really hope that Rudy can find a permanent, loving home. He's a wonderful dog. I checked with Irving and he is willing to share me for a few hours a week with his shelter brothers and sisters. So when I go back, if Rudy is still there, I know who I'm going walking with. I wonder what other new tricks he could teach this old dog....