The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth


rot


To those who self-chastise, celebrate instead - or fight.

Not a day passes for me without listening to family members, friends, acquaintances, and strangers berate themselves for not standing on their own two feet. “I’m tired of being used,” they exclaim. “I’m sick of being a doormat,” they shout. “I wish I were stronger,” they rant.


Have you heard it?

Some people are blessed, born into perfect families, with tons of support, coffers filled to the brim, and love in abundance. Like many of us, I missed much of that luxury in my younger years. I just never had the good fortune to accept my plight by humbly yielding to the powers enslaving my existence. I always fought back. Indeed, hiding in the shadows is a tough journey through life, yet walking the Earth is equally difficult for fighters.

Two years ago, I rescued a dog about to be euthanized. I identified with him. I rarely write about the untoward events in my existence that sculpted my being. Admitting that life has been a long string of connected struggles is not a clich√© that I own exclusively. Nor is clawing one’s path through life limited to the human species. Bentley is living proof. The day before the powers that be were prepared to spare the pooch from the miseries of walking the planet on all fours, a humane organization gave him a final one-day shot at existence.

When I first encountered Bentley, he simply hated. From birth, he experienced much, nothing good. He had been kicked, scarred, and even hurt, which is far from an auspicious beginning for a growing pup less than a year old. But he was a fighter, and I have trouble envisioning canine pugilists as less deserving of life because of sour temperaments forced upon them.

Bentley is mostly Rottweiler, a line originally bred in ancient times to guard the Gates of Rome. Socialized early, Rotties become fabulous family dogs, playful and loving. Mistreated, they become objects of human weakness and cruelty. When created by man, they are feared and adjudged to be unworthy of life. Fortunately, Nature, not mankind, determines the fate of the living.

Saving Bentley from the needle did not prevent his continued grappling to survive. Once introduced to his new environment, he had to cope with a new 110-pound sister, and most of all, with people, whom he had learned to fear. Dog owners know that new family members must be invited into the home. That takes a while, but fortunately, my gigantic retriever picked up my vibes quite rapidly, and accepted Bentley very quickly - and I love animals.


The new dog struggled, with fear in his eyes for close to a year, flinching prior to every pet of kindness. I understand fear, confusion, uncertainty, and distrust. Now fully grown, Bentley has enjoyed a dog’s life for the last two years. He is as loving a creature as Nature can produce. To say he loves his family with a passion would be a gross understatement.

As Dr. Jekyll, he licks and plays and fetches. When he looks into the eyes of his family members, he loves. He expresses so clearly the heartfelt thought that nothing else matters on Earth for as long as he breathes. He actually allows me to sleep peacefully, with both eyes closed, for the first time in my life.

Nevertheless, Bentley is not overly concerned with his own popularity. As Mr. Hyde, he is a force to be reckoned with, still guarding the Gates of Rome. He has trouble letting others into his heart. He trusts outsiders very little, until he gets to know them. He listens attentively, and never rests, day or night. He is never off guard. Never.

If Bentley were human, I would swear he lived each day to affectionately re-pay his family for his gift of life. As a fighter, he doesn’t really know how to love the world, but as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, he will keep his promise to protect and cherish his loved ones.

 Believe me, I know.

. . .

Comments

  1. People always need to approach strange dogs causiously for this reason.

    It may be a wonderful dog, but some breeds do not treat everyone like family, you need to earn their trust.

    Rotties are wonderful dogs...but you NEED to respect them!

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  2. joeh: This is the first one I have had, and you are exactly right. I treat all dogs, big and small, with respect. I try it with people too, and sometimes it works!

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  3. He has the most adorable and loving face ever. To me he screams hug me, then please throw the ball okay? Thank goodness you were there to give him the life he so deserves, and that your own dog was so accepting right away as well. Bently is as lucky as you!

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    1. Karen: I am very lucky, and appreciative.

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  4. I can certainly see why Bentley isn't free w/his affection.. From what u have described I'd be the same way... As a pup he wasn't shown affection so, how could he really give it? The trust factor is also understandable... But I will say animals generally are unconditional .. kindness goes a long way... and if that pic is Bentley he's got my heart for sure... I don't know what it is, but dogs and I just click... My friend's mastiff ( puppy) still goes crazy whenever I call his name... The eyes say it all..You'd think I was his only friend...
    To the folks u mention who complain- well, as I believe- quit complaining and do something about it.. don't be a doormat- stand up/man up...it ain't that hard, believe me.

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    1. KBF: I'm not sure I have ever met a dog I didn't like.What you said is very true. Kindness is repaid with unconditional love.

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  5. I know that you were seeking a comment on your post, but your response to joeh cracked me up. "I treat all dogs, big and small with respect. I try it with people, too, and sometimes it works!" I laughed so hard when I read that. Yes, you do.

    The thing that I love about dogs is that they always respond purely to everything.

    Thank you for sharing your story with Bentley.

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    1. Robin: Humor gets us through life. You are right on the money. I have never had a dog lie to me.

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  6. Thank goodness you were there to rescue Bentley. It's amazing how he spends his every waking moment showing you his gratitude. You have both opened up your hearts to each other which makes this story deeply moving.

    Julie

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    1. Julie: Somehow, they just know. We love him.

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  7. I have no words to write here except tears are rolling down my face but I have lots of love in my heart reading this post JJ. You are a good soul, dee :-)

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    1. Dee: Nah. I just love animals, but I do thank you.

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  8. What a WONDERFUL heartfelt story! I commend you for saving such a sweet and caring animal. I had saved my lab from the same fate. He too was abused and flinched to a raised voice or outstretched hand. He didn't even speak for six months.

    He was my boy for eleven wonderful years until his body gave out. I miss him always. Once I sell my petless condo, I plan to save another friend for life.

    I hope you have many happy years together.

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    1. Michael: Bentley has enhanced our lives. We are fortunate.

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  9. Rescuing a dog is such a fabulous thing and yet it is a lot of work. I have also done this to mostly success with only 1 time being quite a failure. Dog rescue can be kind of a double edged sword, but is so worth it. I commend you for this and also for all the ways you recognize and offer kind understanding to those of us who also function as 'double edged sword humans' ourselves!
    I know your dog will bring you so much love and happiness and you have earned that, with all that you have given him.

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    1. Jasmine: He has already enhanced our lives. We are lucky.

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  10. I find that treating animals a lot like people works really well for me. I give them space, respect, kindness, and understanding. I listen if they tell me to back off by using their ears or tail to send signals. I wait for them to make the first move if they want love.

    After the last few days of trying to get some abused and neglected pit bulls rescued that I saw pop up on my FB feed, it makes me smile to come to your blog and see a post about Bentley being spared because someone like you took a chance on him. I wish more people had hearts like yours, and less humans thought it was okay to treat animals like objects.

    Hope you're having a good week :)

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    1. Tracy: Thank you for your kind words. You said, "give them space, respect, kindness, and understanding." I could not have said it better. I did smile at "treating animals a lot like people." People who abuse and neglect animals would do the same to human beings, in my opinion.

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  11. Bentley..I love that name! It would seem both yourself and Bentley were blessed the day you found him. Dogs are just so giving, loyal and forgiving. We recently adopted a 9 month old Silky Terrior/Border Collie cross. Her name is Rosie. She is such an intelligent and adorable little dog. We've only had her a month and she has well and truly wormed her way into our hearts. You JJ, have such a tender heart. You are the best kind of person there is!!

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    1. Katherine: Nah, but thank you. You're just being nice. All animals deserve love and respect.

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    2. Well this is where we will beg to differ JJ ... I've been reading your posts for a few years now and if there is one things I've learned from reading your posts & that is that you are a tender hearted, kind and very wise person which puts you in the best kinda person category!

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  12. Hello JJ, It was nice to see you stopped by my blog :) I love this post. I love Bentley's face. I am so glad you found each other. And I think it is wonderful that knowing Bentley is on guard allows you to truly rest.

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    1. CailinMarie: I think it was just fate.

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