After years of healing the abuse I suffered as a child and adolescent, I still found that I was emotionally unavailable at times. I’ve worked very hard at letting myself go and letting people in. I’ve worked on this in my relationship with my partner and in my friendships. I notice when I’m distant and figure out why and then work through the anxiety or worry that is almost always involved to let go of whatever fear has come up for me. I’ve been really successful at letting myself go and letting people in to my life. It’s been an amazing experience to feel so connected to people.
What I wasn’t as good at was allowing myself to let go and really love our pets. Maybe this doesn’t sound like a big deal but it feels like one to me. I know this might sound silly, but I learned to let go and really love our pets from our dog Griffin. Griffin is a rescue that we believe is part Borzoi and part Springer. Its just a guess based on dogs he looks like and traits we’ve observed in him.
Before Griffin became part of our home, we had two cats and two dogs. I love all our pets. There is something about Griffin, though that was different for me. It could be that he is the only dog I had as a puppy. We adopted him when he was 4 months old. Or it could be that he wiggles and croons when he is happy. He seems to pay really close attention and barks in alarm when he senses danger on the farm. For example, he barks at hawks and eagles that sit on a tree watching the hens free range; He chases them off the tree and off the farm. He loves looking for the occasional squirrel, as well. He really just wants to play with them. It’s not his fault they run from him and he chases in hopes of catching up and playing with them. Griffin has bright eyes and looks like he’s up to something most of the time. I love that about him.
When we first got Griffin I noticed myself trying to stay a safe emotional distance from him. I learned as a child that if you love a pet too much it will be killed or given away. It was devastating. So I learned to keep a safe emotional distance from pets. Well, as much as I tried I found myself loving Griffin. No emotional distance there. I haven’t felt this way about a pet since I was very young. His croons and wiggly body totally won me over. He delights in a walk or just being with us, even if we are in the car running errands. He is the sweetest dog I’ve ever met and loves to play. I just love that!
Griffin loves me whether I walk him, play with him, or garden out with him on the farm. It is unconditional. His endearing face captured my heart. I love him more than I ever thought I could.
The Sum of My Parts Now Available
This memoir follows Olga as she splits herself into “parts” and develops dissociative identity disorder with the abuse, and then struggles to merge these parts and overcome the disorder in adulthood.
A Survivor’s Story Now Available
Olga’s critically acclaimed first-hand account of the impact of violence in her life is available in both English and Spanish.