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Navigating Trust and Loyalty: Insights from a dog

Last summer I had the honour of taking care of Meggy. A very smart and really loyal border collie dog. She stayed for four weeks with me. For me it was a big change, because I lived the last few years on my own. So at home I have never to take others into account. And it was not only about walking the dog or preparing food on time. Or going to the office together by train. Or about the increase of interactions with other people on the streets.

Being followed

The most impactful was that she wanted to follow me everywhere. When I was leaving my seat to fill a glass of water. When I was going so sit on my balcony. Even when I went to the toilet, she followed me. Then she was laying down in front of the door and waiting for me. Or when I was doing yoga on a mat in the living room. For me it was interesting to notice what was happening in my head. There was a conversation inside. At one side I wanted that she stayed laying down and relax. And not walking the small stairs twice for my glass of water. At the other side I saw it as a challenge to let go, and accept it. 

Internal struggle

So it was about finding a balance. Trying to speak to her so she could understand that she could stay and I would be back soon. So in some way it felt that I was less free to do what I was doing. Every movement had impact on her. And because of that on my thoughts. But this was an experience to get used to then a thing that I really learned . The things that I learned were other things. For example about loyalty and not misusing it.

Being pure

When I spoke to Meggy I felt that I had to speak pure. Not to mislead her or misuse her loyalty and trust. For example if I said, wait here, I will be back in a few minutes, also to be really back in a few minutes, because I promised that. Or not giving unnecessary restriction/commands but let her free as much as possible. Only giving instructions when it was necessary. Not controlling because I had the power to control her. But it is also for example while playing with a ball. She is really pure in playing and following the ball. So doing a ‘fake’ through and then hide the fall and say, look for the ball felt not pure. Just through the ball so she can trust me. 

For human it’s the same

This is not only important to dogs. But also in communication with humans, and especially with kids. Just be clear in what someone can expect from you. Totally. Do what you say and say what you are doing. So that the other can trust you. Fully. And not mislead (a child), because thats an easy way that he or she is following your instructions. Also it’s a ‘joke’. Or the thing where it is about looks innocent. Because it is still misusing someone’s trust, believe and loyalty. And that will impact someone. Because words matter. Always (I wrote some time ago this blog about the impact of nicknames).

The impact of words and intention

That was also a thing I became really aware of when I was spending time with Meggy. I became even more conscious about the words that I was using as that I normally do. It is the combination of words and intention that impacts someone(’s subconscious). There are some experiments with plants and saying positive or negative words to them and they grow differently (this one for example). But also the project from my friend Rich shows that plants are responding on energy (see here more about Leaf Secrets). So you can imagine that this will also exist for animals and humans.

Be conscious about trust and what you’re saying

And of course, I’m not always able to do this perfectly. But I try to be conscious about it again and again. Because I know about the impact of those things on animals, but also on things, plants and human. And spending time with Meggy made me even more aware of those things. Learning about and feeling to have responsibility in respecting someone’s trust and loyalty. And the words you choose to speak or the intention behind the words. So next time when you’re interacting with an animal, take some time to feel what is the right way to treat that animal. With which intention are you interacting with them? And notice how they will react on it, how you build a positive connection based on trust and honestly.