What does trust look like? Consider again my first bloodhound, Agatha. The girl with such potential began her life in Las Vegas. She and her mother were picked up together as strays and impounded. When they were scheduled to be euthanized, someone from Nevada SPCA rescued both girls and brought them to their no-kill shelter. Soon after, Agatha’s mother was adopted; but Agatha remained at the SPCA for seven long months.
Agatha was transferred to Bloodhounds West in Laguna Beach, California—that’s where we found her in 2001. We weren’t aware of her deep-rooted insecurities and the challenges we’d face. Agatha didn’t know me and vice versa. She had been through tough situations that resulted in her “shutting down” emotionally. It soon became clear that many new experiences and unfamiliar sounds terrified her. So we began learning that while having me by her side, she could begin to realize the frightening things weren’t too scary and she could get a bit more brave each day. It was a golden opportunity to prove myself trustworthy so Agatha could learn to trust me. A process that cannot be rushed. It takes dedication and time.
One by one, we tackled her fear of—
Bottom drawers, including file cabinet drawers
Noisy, stinky trash trucks
Throughout the remainder of her life, Agatha continued to overreact around large boxes, open drawers, and especially . . . other dogs. In my dogged determination (yip, it’s a pun!) to help her adjust to dogs, we persistently used many proven techniques, including professional assistance from canine behaviorists. However, months of confinement at the SPCA and situations she previously encountered, left a damaging smudge on her psyche.
But wait . . . this same redhead who used to tremble uncontrollably, poop, and pee when she saw a trash truck, grew enough confidence to do a hot load on a California Highway Patrol (CHP) helicopter! Think extremely loud—the rotors continue to whirl. It was a first for both of us. No words can adequately express how gratifying it was to witness her confidence as she boarded the copter along with me. She didn’t show an ounce of fear and even caught a few zzz’s during our courtesy flight!
A thoughtful Amtrak supervisor arranged for a short jaunt on the Pacific Surfliner, and a supportive Harbor Patrol captain offered to take us for a ride on the bay in a patrol vessel. Agatha displayed no anxiety. This amazing, spirited bloodhound had waited for her genuine worth and potential to be discovered and be given the opportunity to develop that crucial bond of trust. Her courage more than inspired me.
Just as Agatha needed to understand she could trust me, I had to learn to trust her proficiency in following human scent trails. People are conditioned—”seeing is believing.” It isn’t easy switching gears and believing your high-powered bloodhound’s nose knows!
On a much higher plane, from my post On Passing Notes and Other Reflections, ” . . . the very personal God I have learned to trust . . .”
The living God is absolutely credible all the time.
Throughout my life there have been many challenging situations,
but nothing has proven too difficult for God to handle.
He has never let me down!
I have no cause to doubt Him nor question His love for me.
He is completely trustworthy.
12 Replies to “Who should you trust?”
Incredible post Les, I had no idea about all the Trials of Agatha. She was a sweet girl. Love that Psalm as well. Love you.
Thank you, Julie. Agatha was a real “piece of work.” From the time we loaded her in our car in Laguna Beach, stopped in Sierra Madre to introduce her to Pop and Mother, continued on toward home with another stop a PetSmart, and a final stop at Ralph’s . . . she never went pee. We gave her several opportunities, but she would not. When we finally arrived at our home, unloaded her, she found a spot and created her own version of the Mississippi River! Incredible bladder. I looked at her and said, “Agatha, don’t you ever wait that long again!”
Agatha was such a good hound. My favorite memory of her was when she would stop to eat the tiny white flowers amongst the grass, plucking each one nimbly from the earth… which made her so happy!
Yes, Kathryn, there was just something really alluring and satisfying about those tiny blossoms. A real delight for Agatha. Thanks for sharing that memory❣️
Thank you, Leslie, Agatha, and the Psalms for renewing our own sense of trust. Indeed trust in God is the ultimate trust, the trust on our dying lips. May we have some trust in those God grants us to help along the way. Much love. Genevieve and Dolfi
Oh Genevieve, both you and Dolfi are two of those people God has gifted us with to “help along the way.” Forever grateful❣️
Yours is a strong, personal, every-breath trust, Leslie. You can taste it. You make me stronger. ❤️
And, you Katie, make me blush❣️ You, along with many others, remind me of God’s faithfulness.
Beautiful, Leslie! I’m so glad I got to meet Agatha. I knew you loved her, but had no idea what you two had gone through together. What a beautiful illustration of God’s tender love and faithfulness.
Everyone Agatha was privileged to meet helped with her socialization—a process that needs to continue throughout a canine’s entire life. Thank you, Kathrene. Perhaps without even realizing it, you were a part of her crucial adjustment. She came so far.
I so enjoy reading your blog! You have been blessed with many gifts. Your writing is truly another gift. I especially enjoy when you write about your bloodhounds. They have been such a special part of your life that you shared with many of us and our children. Thank you for being such a warm and loving part of our lives. We will forever have those wonderful memories! Love, Stephanie
Stephanie ~ I so enjoy reading that you enjoy reading my blog posts. Works both ways! It was such a delight to have your children help with Agatha’s training trails. Thank you for allowing them to be a part of Agatha’s development in following scent-specific trails. I was always at the end of the long lead just trying to keep up with Agatha’s enthusiastic pace, but it must have been thrilling for your kids to see Agatha approaching them while they waited patiently for her to find them! For the bloodhound—it’s all a fun game.