Animal vs Human: Trauma is Trauma
It can be difficult to explain the effects of trauma to anyone who hasn’t been there.
Hanging out with my dogs is the perfect example of how the body takes over the mind while trying to live life optimally.
My dog, Bailey Burger MD, 2, has ZERO trauma burdens. She was born, fed well and loved by her mama and then fed well and loved some more by the folks who adopted her out to us at age 9 weeks. She has been nothing but spoiled and loved since then.
BB is now 2+ years old and is a big, goofy, oblivious, treat stealing sweetie, and we couldn’t love her more.
She is blissfully unaware that multiple people want to punch her when she’s extra naughty, because we have abstained from punching her. 😂
Then we have our Carrie Waffles Jr Esq, also age 2+ who we adopted just prior to her blissfully naive fur sister, BB. CW, as we call her, had a more tumultuous time as a puppy, and from what we understand, she and her litter mates lived under a trailer and weren’t well cared for. Allegedly, the owner of the trailer didn’t treat them well and then CW and siblings went on to be scrutinized by people looking for ’the perfect dog.’
CW was then passed around several times to fosters and families until we officially adopted her at 5 months old.
Carrie is timid and shy and displays all the signs of PTSD. She doesn’t let anyone close who hasn’t known her for months and who hasn’t proven their safety towards her. Even then, she jumps at unexpected contact, especially by males.
Some might argue that breed has something to do with this, and I can agree to an extent, but there is something obvious about a dog- any dog- that has been traumatized versus one that has not.
I’ll say that I love these fur babies equally and they bring joy to our lives in totally different ways.
BB is big and sweet and dopey, while CW is timid and shy and also the most loyal friend I have ever had.
It‘s interesting to reflect on their differences and to understand why they are how they are individually.
It is the same for human beings, even though it is much more complex.
My animal instincts kick in before my logical mind and often, I’m unable to make the shift from animal to logical.
In studying these sweet puppies of mine, I’m reminded that trauma is trauma, and it affects us in a multitude of ways, animal or human.
As we respect animals for being who they are, it’s important to acknowledge and love humans for our total selves as well.
I for one am working always on healing the trauma reactions that no longer serve.
I’m learning to love all of me exactly as I am, while slowly undoing those patterns that helped me to survive back in the day, but clearly no longer serve.
Beating ourselves up for our trauma triggers isn’t helpful at all. What is helpful, is to remember that they’re here to protect us, and we just have to gently remind our bodies that we are safe now and no longer need protecting.
It it takes a while, and that’s okay, too.
What I know for sure is that my CW might be traumatized, but she is and will forever be my spirit puppy. 🥰🐾🙏🏼❤️
We have a lot to learn from one another and our experiences, and I for one, am an open book.
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