I am watching my neighbor’s pitbull mix ‘Cordelia’ for a couple of hours this morning. She looks menacing but is the sweetest dog I’ve met. She has the most gentle demeanor and she has these eyes. Oh those eyes. Her owner likes to say that she has ‘eyes that look into your soul’. You have to see it to believe it, but she really does. I’ll have staring contests with her and feel like I’m falling into an abyss of boundless, unconditional love.
Cordelia was a rescue. She had all sorts of behavioral issues, including seperation anxiety (apparently my neighbor had to leave the door open when he showered so she wouldn’t flip out – he would then open his shower curtain and get a mini heart attack because she’d be standing there, creepily staring at him with those soulful eyes).
It is my personal theory that these rescue dogs, especially the ones that have been previously mistreated, tend to possess this ardent wisdom that other dogs do not. They are not like humans in that they lose that unconditional love only a dog can give you, but they have a deep, dark place in their hearts where they keep those horrifying memories from the past. Unfortunately, certain life triggers will still bring up these memories – Cordelia is still petrified of long sticks – but then the moment passes and they ooze affection again.
But man, this pup is something else. She has random human personality traits that just blow my mind. If she loves you, she’ll kiss both your eyes, your forehead, and then lay her head on your shoulder (imagine this when you’re sitting down on a couch). She will also give you her paw (randomly, not on command), because she wants to ‘hold hands’ with you. I just spent an hour ‘holding her hand’ and spooning in bed with her. No exaggeration! If she wants to go out to do her business, she won’t bark or run around the house or whimper, she’ll put her head on your lap and just stare at you until you get up and take her out. And if you ever make the mistake of getting into a staring contest with her, you’ll lose. She’ll just sit there, staring into your soul, searching the deep dark places in your heart, giving you this look that says “It’s okay, tell Mama everything. Tell Mama, and she will make it all go away.”