Friday 7 October 2011

The Canine Mirror by Becky Armstrong

Have you ever looked into a dogs eyes and seen yourself staring back, the depth of love and feeling that you get from a dog is boundless, their ability to show you who you are is unparalleled. They reflect your emotions so when you are happy your best friend will turn up with a stick in his mouth and a wagging tail, when you are sad he will come and lay a head on your lap and when you are anxious he will be unsettled and worried too.

There is nothing more special than that bond between a dog and its human and this quote really captures it for me:
‘He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog.
You are his life, his love, his leader.
He will be yours, faithful and true until the last beat of his heart.
You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.' (Anon)

This quote inspires me every time I read it. For me it captures the essence of love, the special bond of complete unconditional love we get from our pets.

We all need a sense of belonging, it is what helps us create stability and helps us be ourselves. The freedom to be who we are not what someone wants us to be allows us to be our best, confident selves. This is just as true for dogs. They each have their own unique and special personalities.

It continues to astound me that most people see this wonderful relationship as ownership, you own a dog! Ok legally that might be the phrase we use but ownership means that you can dispose of a belonging. I can take an old handbag to the charity shop, sell it on ebay or get rid of it, why does society accept that it is ok to do the same with a loving, living creature? I like to think of it more as a partnership or friendship, yes you are the care giver in that relationship but its built on mutual respect and understanding.

I don’t believe in ownership, I certainly don’t believe in pack leader theory and I 100% believe that having a dog is the most wonderful gift – a friend, a teacher and a companion all wrapped up in a furry coat. I rescued Mavis 2 years ago, she was due to be killed at the vets because her owners didn’t want her, she couldn’t have pups anymore so she served no purpose. She had been rescued and was so scared that she was growling and snapping at everyone, when I first saw her I feel completely in love, she literally skipped over to see me (despite being almost 15stone in weight and having horrendously bad hips), she has never growled at me and she has from that day never left my side.

When I need a break from work we go for a walk with the other dogs and as Mavis can’t play too long we sit together in the grass and watch the others play – there isn’t a business decision that isn’t ran past her first and I am often chatting away to her in the office . When I am happy we have dance parties in the sitting room, me dancing her wagging and spinning, when I am sad she rests her head on my shoulder and gives me a cuddle and with Mavis as my ultimate mirror there is no way I can be sad for long.

Lets celebrate the love and insight dogs give us!

Rebecca Armstrong (CPCC) is a professional coach who helps people across the world find their SPARKLE … working to help them connect and achieve their dreams and potential through a range of workshops and individual coaching sessions.


  1. Yay dogs! I think of them as little Zen masters--they truly know how to be in the moment. They almost always make me laugh. I also love the quote about "striving to be the person my dog thinks I am."

  2. Oh Becky, you are strumming my heartstrings! I love, love, love dogs and have witness what you describe as in seeing yourself (or a quality of yourself you forgot about) looking back at me - oh what divine mirrors and companions they are. Each time it happens as I engage the dogss in the neightborhood, I think to myself "once I have the lifestyle to have a dog, I'll get one; but in the meantime I'll have one via the dogs in the neighborhood that I know by name!" Oh, I do feel they are love with for legs and fur (as was my kitty). Divine timing...that's when I'll have mine.

    In the meantime, I'll be back to look into Mavis' soulful eyes and magnificient spirit, and my heart will be glad. She is a beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing her with us!