We have been living in an 1100 sq ft apartment for the past 5 months so this latest upgrade to our new home is pretty awe inspiring. I think we all feel a little like we can spread our wings (literally and metaphorically) and run around a bit. But no one feels that more deeply than our pup, Dolce.
I feel comfortable speaking for her when I say that she didn’t like living in an apartment. She was used to having a fenced in backyard, her own space to play and protect, which I think caused her to become territorial and anxious in the hallways and elevators. She was also used to meeting new dogs unleashed and in an open space and one-on-one so the sight and smells of dozens of unknown dogs throughout the apartment complex was obviously an issue. On top of it all, what I saw in her as anxiety because I know better, other people saw as aggression and so I didn’t always feel comfortable taking her out.
The moment we let Dolce out of the car at the new house she hit the ground running. It was one of those flat out, give-it-your-all sprints and you could see her loosen her joints and stretch her legs. It was joyful.
I watched her warily and followed her but she stayed close. Everywhere that I went, she used as the center of her circle. She roamed the circumference of that circle but never went too far. We quickly began to trust and test that boundary and, less than a week later, we feel comfortable letting her out in the morning cold and going about our business. When we think to let her back in she is always waiting at the door. She even welcomed the new Fed-Ex guy with a sloppy kiss and ignored the designers who came to measure the hosue. We gave her freedom, space, and trust and she has blossomed.
This is a powerful reminder to me of what we all need to be successful and to experience personal growth. Freedom, just enough space to move around comfortably, and trust. Give that to yourself, and give it to the people around you.