For the Love of Dog

It’s Easter Sunday; what to do on this kidless weekend? No Easter baskets, colored Easter eggs, or plastic eggs with money in them. No Easter egg hunts, Easter Bunny, or JellyBelly beans. No giant chocolate bunny, Cadbury eggs, peanut butter and chocolate eggs, or malted milk eggs. No church. 

That’s okay, I have my own sacred space where my spirit thrives! I have discovered the riches of Dog’s world: fun, joyful, exuberance, unconditional love, playfulness, presence, in the moment. This is a Dog, and the recipe of life! Dog is my co-pilot, Dog is my companion in learning how to be a grounded leader. Oh, My Dog, I am certainly learning from these wise four leggeds!

Aldo, the pit bull doggie, 11 months old, currently at the Berkeley City Shelter







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Today, I had the pleasure of training Aldo at the BAD RAP training program at the Berkeley Animal City Shelter. I have volunteered with many shelters and rescues walking, adopting out and fostering dogs, educating the public, and even served on the board of a shelter. What’s special about these two groups is they are working in concert not only to raise awareness and educate the public about the plight of pit bulls and the tarnished reputation that precedes them, but to provide a solid training program that utilizes volunteers to help these dogs find forever homes. Tim Racer commenting on CNN about getting the Michael Vick dogs into home: 

So who was training who today? The trainer said to me “your letting the dog walk you” and that I have to be “funnier and more energetic to get his attention” and that “cooing softly isn’t going to get him to move!”  LOL. Alright, so I have a lot to learn, possibly much much more than the dog (well it was my first time seriously training a dog). And I look at those comments as subtle messages for me from the Universe on how to shine my own light, toot my own horn a little more and be solidly grounded in my body, especially if I want to lead these powerful yet gentle souls? 

Leave it up to a sweet black pit bull to teach me, even though I thought my only purpose to train these dogs was to help them be loved, not scorned, and appreciated for the big hearts and smiles they will give to their next family. And when his eyes look into mine, there is such trust, gratitude, and wanting to please, then a treat. And after the training, Aldo is happily tired, rolling in the grass, lounging with paws over my legs, belly up and happy to take a little nap while accepting the body rubs from a person, like me, who is in this for the Love of Dog. A gift of rebirth! 


©Shelley Carlisle 2011


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2 responses to “For the Love of Dog”

  1. Many people, like pit bulls and most other dogs, respond in kind to the way we perceive them, and the kindness and love we give them. Some wise one once said, treat all with kindness, show our loving nature, and it will be returned to you tenfold. There was a time, or times, in my life, I thought this was way too good to be true, certainly easier said than done. Quite recently, however, I was most definitely, and delightedly, proven, yet again, to be wrong. Today I am blessed with two goofy, slobbering, affectionate, wonderful, and silly dogs – (courtesy of my wise daughter, Shelley), and the icing on my cake is an equally wonderful guy. (Who, incidentally, is all of the above, with the exception of the slobbering part, of course). So once again I fall back into the pattern of the wise one – giving love and affection, and having it all returned a hundred fold. Life is soooo great ….
    For all mistreated and potentially loving pits out there – hang in there, there are more people like Shelley Carlisle just waiting to show you a positive and healthy way back to a loving, comfy life…….stay as sweet as you can be.

  2. Thanks for the kind and wise comments!

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