White Dog and her siblings hung their heads in sadness as I told Steve about last night's Mark It! antics. I am not sure they saw the problem with leaving dog-style messages, but they clearly saw that their actions distressed me to the point of saying, "maybe we took on too much too soon."
As we approach the first anniversary of Quinn's death, I am hit again by how much loss we had in the past year...Quinn...then Nuka...then Oso. Half of the White Dog Army has been with us less than a year. "But that is exactly the point," Steve said, wrapping his arms around me. "Time, you know it, time and love is what it takes to work through all of the little things that come out. And it is a good thing it comes out."
The WDA crowded around both of us and looked up. Steve continued, "You are remembering the past when things were settled not those first days when Quinn bit your hand open and Nuka would stand and growl at everything that got near her or Puff wouldn't even stay in the house. Nuka refused to use the dog door. And YoYoMa got into a fight with Quinn and hurt him the first few weeks he was here. It was you and your constant calm belief in each of them that fixed the broken parts and taught them to trust us and each other and be an Army.
"Today is no different. The problems and manifestations might be different but if you give Taiko and Bella and Sachi the same faith and love, they will in time, ease into a trust that erases the need to claim territory, or resource guard, or run away, or fear their status will suffer. "
Bella was lying in the middle of the room, listening intently. "Look at how far your Tiny Dancer has come. In your care she is learning that it is safe here and that she doesn't need to hide." Taiko shoved his head between Steve and I. "This boy has lots of baggage that he carries; we only know part of his story of neglect and being tied outside, and getting shot. Yes, he gets too carried away sometimes over treats or the others getting close, but I see him look at you and think about it when you tell him to stand down or demand that he be gentle...and I see his look when you tell him you love him and stroke his cheek. He is not a lost cause."
Sachi was lying like a frog along Steve's leg. "He has only been with us for 10 weeks. I know it seems like he has been here forever, but he is a newbie. Think of how long it took us when we moved to Albuquerque to feel like this was home. And he was an only child so all of this is new to him."
"My point is that you make miracles happen with these pups that find their way to us from all over. Sure, I help and walk them and give baths, but it is you that sets the tone and guidelines that develop a bunch of broken strangers into a caring, loving family." White Dog was pawing to climb onto my shoulder and the pack wanted to touch.
"I know it seems like a big thing, but don't sweat the small stuff. It is only the carpet and some cleanup time. They will learn...not because they don't want to be punished because they know you would never hurt them, but because they don't want to see this look of disappointment in your eyes.
"It is part of the process. There will be stumbling points. But believe in what your heart already knew when each of them joined us. Believe in the power of us."