The Benefit Of The Doubt ….

When we first found Tuffie we thought he was a puppy because of his small size.  Then the vet then told me he was at least five years old.  I was so sad!  Five years of his life were already gone and I would never get to see them.  I wouldn’t see him as a newborn puppy (I bet he was so tiny and cute!) or as a frisky young dog.

I will never fully understand why he does some of the quirky things he does like nucking, sitting pretty, and talking.  I’ll never know why he can’t jump up very high, or even jump down from very high.  His legs are just not strong enough for some reason.

 When we first found him he had not been fixed.  He was at the mercy of some pretty powerful hormones and had been for his entire life.  He growled at us constantly, which is why we named him Tuffie (such a big growl for such a little dog!).  He nipped and snapped at us a lot.  But something in his eyes told me he was more afraid of us than anything.  My daughter promptly labeled him “spoiled” and “grumpy” and “mean.”  He only bit me a few times, but honestly, I think I scared the bejeebers out of him a few times, and I knew he’d had a hard life, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

I stuck with him.  I kept petting him, loving him, talking to him, trusting him, and doing everything in my power to show him I would not harm him.  Little by little he let me in.  Little by little he trusted me.  It took a long time and a lot of patience.  It took many long nights of sleeping with one eye open to make sure I didn’t accidentally roll over on him in the middle of the night and scare him awake.

Now I can reach over any time in the dark of the night and scratch or pet him and he doesn’t blink.  He knows its me, that I’m not going to hurt him, and that I love him.  he isn’t shocked awake and no longer nips my fingers in fear.

He gives me the benefit of the doubt now too.

How many times have I been reeling from circumstances and situations that other people have no idea of and have nipped the people I loved in self-defense?  How many times have I judged someone else in haste who may themselves have been reacting to unknown terrors.

We never know what people have gone through, or are going through, when we encounter them.  Life is harsh enough without us making it harder on each other.  Everyone has days when they need you to see past their behavior and give them the benefit of the doubt.  Even a little stray dog.

There is a little bit of Tuffie in all of us ……

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