It is okay to not be okay

My coronary heart breaks every time Penny flinches.

A raised arm to throw a ball, a leg lifted to tie a shoe, a attain over her head to offer her a bit of pat.

She flinches or cowers. Drops low to the bottom and skitters away.

It’s gotten higher.

“Higher,” anyway, within the sense that she cowers much less and flinches much less, and I do know she’s solely been with us a short time–not even three months–so we rejoice each enchancment, each little bit of belief.

And but.

Once I hear my 6-year-old reassuring her, “Penny, don’t be scared. We’ll by no means harm you.” Oh, how my coronary heart shatters.

Not just for Penny and the life that led her to anticipate damage, however for the innocence Violet has misplaced as she grapples with the concept of individuals abusing animals. Astrid, too, although at 4, she will’t but perceive the nuances. She simply is aware of Penny wants a bit of additional love when she will get scared. Or a cookie. Astrid is a professional at dashing to the cookie jar and doling out treats.

My job, as their mother, is to assist them wade by these difficult ideas and emotions. I can’t repair it for them. I can’t mom away animal abuse or Penny’s flinches, however I may also help them navigate how they really feel about all of it.

My job, because the grownup human, is to assist Penny not solely be protected, which she is, however really feel protected, which she doesn’t. Not on a regular basis, anyway. She is making enormous strides, although. There is a gigantic gulf separating her being protected from feeling protected proper now, however we’re slowly constructing a bridge throughout.

(By the way, would anybody be excited about a put up in regards to the variations between being protected and feeling protected concerning our pups?)

And but.

I really feel indignant.

I really feel unhappy.

I really feel annoyed.

A pair days in the past, we loved a fantastic fake-spring day. Penny discovered a gentle spot to lie down within the yard and watch the ladies play. An extended whereas later, after the ladies had gone in, I went exterior to gather Penny for dinner.

I known as her with an arm wave, and he or she ducked and ran.

I’m unsure why that individual occasion did it, however it introduced tears to my eyes. I stood within the doorway watching her run away from me whereas I cried.

And, after all, I do know. I do know that we’ve made enormous, huge strides. More often than not, she is available in the home all on her personal now, when at first, that was a significant problem.

She eats her dinner within the hallway heading towards the kitchen as a substitute of within the bed room.

She comes up and down the steps all on her personal every time she desires, whereas she used to should be carried up and down stairs. (My again is grateful for this progress!)

Penny has made superb progress.

We’ve a lot hope for her and delight in all she’s achieved.

General, it’s all so constructive and such a testomony to our canine’ unimaginable natures.

And but.

As I maintain reminding the ladies (and myself): It’s okay to not be okay.

It’s okay to be unhappy about her previous and longing for her future. We will maintain a number of feelings at one time.

It’s okay to be livid in regards to the state of animal welfare on this nation and the way animal abusers can inflict such devastation and hurt, whereas additionally specializing in all of the methods we may also help this one canine overcome what she’s been by. We will maintain a number of concepts at one time.

It’s okay to not be okay for a short time, after which it’s okay to concentrate on a bit of flicker of sunshine–regardless of how small–to seek out methods to maneuver ahead.

For Penny, subsequent up we’re engaged on Karen General’s Leisure Protocol. (For those who’re inquisitive about this, I can do a put up on it, as nicely.)

We’re additionally increasing her world a bit of bit every day: new parks, new toys and video games, one other group coaching class that began final evening.

Piece by piece her world grows, and with it, so does she.

A wooden boardwalk stretches over a dried-up wetlands area. The trees are bare, and fallen leaves litter the marsh. In the front of the board, a little girl in pink leggings with a dress overtop walks ahead of another little girl who is dragging her coat behind her. Behind them walks a mostly white dog with brown spots on her hind end. She wears a blue harness and a red, white, and blue leash leads out of the picture.

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