Mikey is a Border Collie mix. He is one of my customers and he lives in Louisville, KY. Mikey’s owner informed me that he is a rescue dog and it is likely that a man abused him before his new owner rescued him.
A few weeks ago, while he was learning the boundaries of his newly invisible fenced yard, he followed me outside the fence boundary. The result was a shock from his collar, a very unpleasant experience. So when I arrived at his home yesterday to clean the yard, it was no surprise that he was not happy to see me. Given his experience with abusive men and the shock he received last time I was at his house, I completely understand why Mikey would growl or bark at my appearance.
I gathered my equipment from the back of my Jeep. Without acknowledging anyone, I walked around to the front of the house to begin scanning the front yard. Once I finished cleaning the front yard, I walked to the back yard and continued my scan pattern on the backyard. When I was more than halfway finished, I stopped at the steps to the porch, spoke to the owner and introduced myself to her new puppy. After becoming acquainted with Puccini, the owner opened the door and allowed Mikey to come back outside to join us.
Taking ownership of the dog’s space, I calmly and gently moved beside him. He warily paused and allowed me to move into his space. I cupped his face in the palms of my hands, looked him deeply in the eyes and said, “Mikey, on behalf of all men of the human race, I am truly sorry for anything we have done to hurt you. Please forgive me, on behalf of the one who hurt you.”
In that instant, his eyes twinkled and I could sense that he and I had truly connected. Immediately following this, he was calm and relaxed. He approached me to let me pet him and he even lay down on the porch close to me.