What is Resilience & Why Do I Care?
I have been thinking about resilience a lot lately, both in my life and in those around me.
Resilience is how quickly, or slowly, someone bounces back from a difficult event.
And while the last 14 months have been one hell of an event to bounce back from, I have been drawn to a more local show of resilience.
Over and over again I am amazed to see little souls in my house grow in confidence and share their true personalities.
What the hell am I talking about?
Dogs. I am talking about dogs!
Why Do These Dogs Personify Resilience?
My wife and I started fostering dogs over the pandemic.
It was her idea, and I am so thankful we gave it a try.
Their little faces and total vulnerability make it hard to not immediately fall in love.
These dogs come into our house from a place that was all they knew – the familiar faces, smells…all just gone.
They are usually coming from somewhere that wasn’t great for them, but at the same time the familiarity they once knew is lost.
They are picked up, driven in a strange vehicle in a crate, likely with other sad and scared animals, and then dropped off at a totally new place.
They don’t know if it is safe. They don’t know what’s going to happen to them.
These dogs were taken from their familiar lives and just shoved into our house.
They are usually scared and timid, and run from us when we are near them.
Sometimes they do not eat well or sleep well. Sometimes both.
We have two dogs and it is incredible to watch them help the new ones out.
Without a language I understand, our dogs are showing them how to live here – where to get the water, how to walk on a leash, who is safe to be around, where to sleep, how to play…
I find it so inspiring to watch these pups figure out their new environment through our dogs, and I am hoping maybe a little bit through our love and patience.
Their changes happen daily.
Every day they get more confident and you can see them feeling more safe and protected.
I Love Dogs!
I have always loved animals.
When I was little, I would love going to work with my dad only if he was going to a farm where I could play with a dog or some cats.
I remember one time going to a farm of some family friends and they had potbelly pig babies!
They were so sweet, and I wanted one so bad.
As I grow and have more opportunities to watch all different types of animals interact, I am drawn to how they connect and communicate with each other.
Our fosters have been helped so much by our two dogs, and I am so grateful we have them to show the pups the ropes.
Our dogs just feeling safe is a huge lesson that the fosters very quickly pick up on.
Watching them check each other out in the backyard makes me so intrigued by what is going on between them.
What is the body language they use to make them feel comfortable?
Is there some energetic communication going on?
There is so much I cannot see or understand, and it doesn’t even matter because the results are right in front of our eyes every time with every dog.
We usually have these foster poochies for about two weeks, and I don’t even recognize their personalities by the end.
These dogs are put into a new and scary situation, and yet they slowly come out of their shell and show us their true personality.
Somehow they trust us enough to relax and be themselves.
Constantly taking in surroundings and adapting to them is a remarkable feat, and I see it over and over again.
They are so in the moment.
I want to take these traits and have them put directly into my bloodstream!!
Life could be so much easier with a bit more resilience.
I volunteer at an amazing place called FARRM – Farm Animal Rescue and Rehoming Movement.
Other than it being my heaven on earth, it is a sanctuary for neglected and abused farm animals.
There is such a great mix of sweet fuzzy buddies out there: goats, pigs, horses, sheep, chickens, ducks, geese, dogs, cats, donkeys, and as of about a month ago, one cow!
One of the most common posts on their Instagram page – which you should follow @farrmanimalrescue – is when new animals come in and a resident will become best friends with them and show them the ropes.
It is so common, and always brings joy directly to my heart.
And the coolest thing is that it isn’t always the same species.
I was out there the day I wrote this and a turkey, lamb, and calf were all sharing a watermelon!
They were all just chillin’ on a hot day.
A lot of these animals came from bad places.
They also become friends with animals that came in around the same time.
There were two goats brought in during the winter with extreme frostbite damage.
They each had different issues and one now has a wheelchair, but they became best buds and they are now living their best lives.
To me this is all resiliency – coming from a pretty horrifying environment, moved to a new place with no friends or anything familiar, and yet find a deep inner strength to keep going.
And in doing so, having that beautiful soul that was maybe a little hidden, begin to shine through.
Growing into who they are meant to be at the highest and best levels!
It is truly a miracle every time!
To learn more about FARRM, what they do, and how to donate, check out their website here!
I have also been thinking about resilience because of this pandemic we are going through.
I am constantly amazed by the fact that a lot of us have made it through and that we are still thinking of better times ahead.
Somehow we can get through the worst of the worst and just keep moving forward, or at least stay still for a bit.
My life has not been filled with acts of resilience!
I actually find that I am more of a quit kind of gal.
Which is maybe why this is all the more impressive.
This is just something I’ve had on my mind lately.
I am forever changed by the lives of these little creatures, and I am so grateful they have showed me a different path.
Yours in plant love,