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Beauty in the Broken

Charlie 3Humans, have their hearts broken all the time. Having had your heart broken, does not mean you are broken. When our family or friends do seem a bit heartbroken we do not kick them to the curb, tie them to a tree out in the yard giving them water when we remember, or advertise them as ‘free to a good home’. With time, love and patience our hearts mend again, obviously some scarring are left but it does mend and once it does, we are stronger and probably a bit wiser as well.

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese philosophy focusing on finding beauty in imperfection, ageing as well as the broken.   Instead of throwing a broken ceramic item away, kintsugi craftsmen repair the item by mending it with gold, silver or platinum. “The kintsugi method conveys a philosophy not of replacement, but of awe, reverence, and restoration.”. This philosophy is also applied to nature and ourselves as human beings referred to as Wabi-Sabi, seeing beauty in the every day.

Dogs who end up in shelters, are not broken. If they do seem a bit troubled, they most certainly did not break themselves, it was done to them. Many dogs get a bit cracked and chipped due to health issues, bad experiences, bad training, getting older, etc. To some people they seem to loose their appeal, and instead of getting the help they need, they are discarded or simply just ignored.

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When dogs leave their homes and the people they love, surrendered to a shelter it is pretty easy to see their hearts are broken. You can see it in their eyes, their unsure tail wag and lowered head. They are reluctant to trust, because they just had their hearts broken by their human.

If you are a shelter worker, caregiver, rescuer and adopter, you have the privilege of being part of your dog’s kintsugi. Being able to mend a dog’s broken heart with gold, so that it is even more beautiful and valuable than it started out as.   If you are a dog owner, appreciate your dog’s flaws and quirks, embrace his/her imperfections (he has embraced yours) and your relationship with your dog will improve immediately.

By Tersha, Trainer