20 April 2017
It’s the Easter holidays and we’re spending a few days in the Belgian Ardennes. We have ended up in quite a special place: a bed & breakfast where the owners take care of neglected and abused dogs.
I had read about it on their website and had formed an abstract image in my mind of what this meant. But it breaks your heart when you are actually confronted with the dogs, coming from Spain, Greece, Romania and Bulgaria. Most have simply had their legs cut off. You wonder why so much cruelty is needed and you are ashamed to be a human when you look into these dogs’ eyes.
These helpless animals had every reason to lose faith in people forever. And yet this couple from the B&B have succeeded in rebuilding their faith with a lot of patience and love. The dogs have given this couple their trust to get help. The help consists of a complete physiotherapy programme, custom-made wheelchairs, quality nutrititon and daily care. Not only the dogs benefit from this care. You can clearly see that these people are passionate about what they are doing and that it gives meaning to their lives. Both parties benefit.
This brings me to the subject of asking for help as a person. It is something we struggle with and we will only ask when we have no other option, when we are completely helpless like those poor dogs.
For one reason or another we believe that asking for help and putting ourselves in a vulnerable position is a sign of weakness, as if we would lose something.
It is rather the contrary. Asking for help creates a warm connection between the asker and the giver. Not asking for help or refusing kindly offered help alienates you from others. You risk to lose something valuable and human.
It does take some courage to ask - I notice this personally: when I’m in trouble or stuck with something, I tend to close off, turn into myself, maybe in an attempt not to feel any pain. Talking to someone else at that moment confronts you with your own vulnerability. But it doesn’t kill you, quite the opposite.