Friday, March 13, 2009

The Transformative Power of Kindness

I just returned to Jerusalem from a trip to Tiberias, in the north of Israel. I went with my friend Steve. We had a great time hanging out on the Sea of Galilee, soaking up some relaxation. I know it did me a world of good!

There was a cute mutt of a dog hanging around the hotel we stayed in. We saw him many times a day. He seemed to like us and follow us around a lot. As the holiday continued, Steve learned that this dog had been around the hotel for quite a while. He seemed to be abandoned. The hotel workers were feeding him at night, but they worried about him getting hit by a tour bus or trampled by groups of tourists as they arrived or departed the hotel.

Steve started talking about taking this dog back to Jerusalem with him. I thought he was joking. Turns out he wasn't. So.... we now have Tibby the dog as a new member of the family! Tibby is a 'take' on Tiberias, where the pooch was lost... and found.

Check out this adorable mug!!!!

Tibby - the new member of our Jerusalem family...

How could you resist that face??

Steve and I discussed at length the responsibilities of having a dog, and explored whether he was really willing to take this on. He knew he was signing up for vet visits, daily walking, food purchases and play. It's a big responsibility to take care of another creature.

Tibby seemed 'resigned' and subdued on his ride from Tiberias to Jerusalem. He was a friendly dog, but not overly enthusiastic about much of anything. I tried to give him some water in a paper cup and he refused it. I think he'd been drinking the chlorinated water from the pool!!! Poor thing. He just didn't look like he felt very good.

As we got Tibby home we put down a bowl of water for him. He still wouldn't drink it. He immediately jumped into Steve's recliner and curled up. He still seemed somewhat 'vacant' and 'sullen.'

I headed out to buy food, toys, treats and anything else a sweet little dog might want! Upon my return we gave him some treats and a toy to play with. He devoured the treats and played a little bit with his toy. He seemed to tire easily.

What a difference a day makes! As Tibby got a bit more comfortable, the tail started to wag more. He started drinking water and ate some food. His energy level seemed to increase. He started to jump up and down when any of his new family members paid attention to him.

By this morning, he seemed like a different dog. Full belly, lots of fresh water, a warm, safe place to sleep and most importantly, a lot, lot, lot of love has transformed this sullen, dejected creature into a little bundle of bubbling love!

I can't wait to hear the reports of his progress as he more fully comes into his full self as he settles in to his home and realizes this is forever!

It was such a clear representation to me of what happens when a being is treated with love, respect and care. All it took to 'unleash' this creature's true nature was a tiny bit of nurturing. He'd been abandoned and probably mistreated by some who encountered the 'stray' at the hotel. He seemed a little distrustful when we first met Tibby. Now, he seems to be blossoming into full blown goofy, lovable 'dogness.' As it should be.

Kindness heals. Caring transforms. Love can turn around even the most sad and dejected of souls. It's so simple!! What if we each tried to take one action every day to just let someone know we cared about them. Watching another being 'light up' when they've been touched by an act of kindness or compassion is a priceless treasure. We all have the power within us to give that gift and receive the reward of witnessing an ignition of the inner spirit of another being.

Give it a try! Be it a person... or an animal... share some kindness and caring today.

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