Monday, April 06, 2009

Reassurance: Restoring Our Calm

Poor Ridge.

Lightning struck uncomfortably close to the house this morning (close enough to hear the sizzle first). Our only damage, thankfully, was a fried telephone line (and one land-line phone). No biggie.

But poor Ridgers.

He'd been doing so well: firecrackers and thunder no longer terrorized him; they haven't for at least 18 months, maybe even two years now. This morning's strike, however, unnerved him (admittedly, it startled me, too). No pacing, no barking, no heavy panting like he used to do -- just a look of sheer terror in his eyes. His old monster was back and it scared him.

Poor guy.

Funny how former terrors return to bite us when we least expect.

When they do, a bit of patient, offered-in-love reassurance goes a long, long way toward restoring our calm and sense of well-being. No finger-waving is necessary - just loving affirmation.

Goofy, silly, fragile, loves-his-humans canine boy! Ridge is my daily reminder that relationships require patient, enduring investment over the long haul, and that love and persistence can overcome just about anything when given time.

(Yes, it's me in the pics with Ridge.)

(That's my foot under his head.):

He's become our lap dog and snuggle bug. Once insecure and fearful, Ridge is confident and calm -- even low key and secure. He loves our attention and views us with unwavering trust.

Oh, like all of us, he still has his neuroses (stuffed things that squeak for one):

He's still all nose, too (here he is investigating the compost bin at the back corner of the property -- with Tuc's help):

And when strangers come to the door or things go bump in the night, he'll get excited and let us know.

But after years of investing our time, affection, love, training, and affirmation in him, he's finally comfortable, even-keeled, relaxed, and tender with us. He's settled in and happy here.

Every now and then, though (like during this morning's lightning strike), Ridge's insecurities resurface.

No worries. There is nothing Ridge fears that can't be cured by a reminder of his place in our hearts (a little snuggle time with Momma Joan or Daddy Don will do just fine).

And when Ridge's fears return to haunt him (and they will again, I'm sure), we just need to remind him that he hasn't failed us (that he's done all he can do to protect his humans), that we love him, that he's safe, and that all is well (or will be okay) no matter how it feels at the moment.

When my old fears return to haunt me (they do and they will), I hope others will remind me of the same. Just think where we'd be if no one offered us kind words when we're afraid. Just think where Ridge would be.

We all need reassurance now and then. And we relish it when it comes.

The question is: are we willing to offer the same reassurance (with patience, tenderness, love AND no finger wagging) to those who are trembling around us?

Oh, what a world it could be.

'Til next time,


Chester's Mom said...

Poor Ridgers, and poor you! I'm not sure who was comforting who in those pictures. But that just goes to say, it's easier to face the things that make us quiver when not alone.

Woofs and comforting slobbers!

Mary said...

Ridge sounds much like my precious beloved Shadow. She was terrified of thunder and lightening and we were constantly having to reassure her. Ridge is lucky to have you and if ever you are in need of a comforting word or an ear to just listen, I'm totally there for you!

Ms. ~K said...

I'm comforted just looking at these pictures...such love!!!
My Zack can hear thunder in the next state I turns him into jell-o and breaks my heart to see him that way...he knows all he has to do is come running and I'll protect/comfort him.
Hugs to all,

Charlie said...

Good thoughts, Joan! And what a sweet guy Ridge is!!

Cheryl said...

Poor Ridge. My Shiloh, after 7 years, is still terrified of storms!

I'm glad that you all escaped serious damage!