The priceless gift of resilience

Yesterday we had a car problem on the motorway between Den Haag and Amsterdam and had to call the recovery services to check it out. You can’t sit in the car, so we had to entertain ourselves on the grassy area by the road.

It was an odd situation so I did some bits of training and ball searches while we waited. I realised that I was very lucky to have a dog who, despite having a lively spirit, is fundamentally stable and resilient – I take it for granted that she is fine with such unexpected situations, but I realise not all dogs would be. She was focused and enthusiastic in our activities despite hundreds of cars and big trucks rolling by only a few meters away.

When the recovery service arrived to transport us to a safer spot, we had to put Grace in our own car while we travelled in the truck’s cabin. Even though she is usually fine being alone in the car, the situation was unusual and I had to just “dump” her in the car quickly so she was understandably quite upset by this sudden change. I felt bad for her because I don’t want to put my dogs through highly stressful situations let alone ones they’d panic in but there was nothing else I could do but hope that it wouldn’t impact her a lot.

Luckily, 10min later when I got her out of the car she seemed less upset than I expected – she shook off the stress and then all was good again.

That moment reminded me of the responsibility a breeder has in preparing puppies for their future lives. One of the greatest gifts we as humans can give our dogs is resilience because life will inevitably throw us into situations that are less than ideal (e.g. confusing, scary or otherwise upsetting) regardless of how much we try protect our dogs from unnecessary stress.

Resilience can carry them through those situations with minimal harm and/or help them recover more quickly – and ultimately giving dogs a better quality of life.

One thought on “The priceless gift of resilience

  1. I couldn’t agree more with your closing words “Resilience can carry them through those situations with minimal harm and/or help them recover more quickly – and ultimately giving dogs a better quality of life.” We had a similar situation last summer. I was traveling with our kids and two dogs to meet my family at a cabin two states away. In the mountains 30 minutes from our destination, the transmission on the van went out. It required calling a tow truck and my brother to come pick us up. I knew our older Lab would handle the unexpected with ease, but I wasn’t sure how our 1 year old Labrador/Weimaraner would fair. Her acute sense of hearing and sight makes her more sensitive to change. For months, we’d been working on teaching her to look to us and not her surroundings. This was the ultimate test. I couldn’t have been prouder. She didn’t utter a single bark when the mechanic arrived only stood quietly between my oldest child and our other Lab watching Him work then hopped right into my brother’s truck like this was an everyday occurrence.

    Liked by 1 person

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