January 13, 2013

Talking with My Dog. ~ Tim Hawkings

Photo: Tim Hawkings

A year and a half ago, my girlfriend and I adopted a beautiful five-month-old puppy called Remi.

Despite being labeled as an aggressive breed, she’s as emotionally sensitive as they come; if Remi sensed something wasn’t right, she would retreat back into her crate or go off her food.

Sadly, we went through a horrendous break up, and through it all, our dog witnessed everything: the arguments, the tears, the walking out and the attempts at reconciliation.

Since the break up, Remi has been living with my ex; I found it entirely too painful to share her in those early days.

To spend time with Remi would flood me with fonder memories of our family together. And yet with these emotions, there always came a loving and concerned wet nose, a wagging tail and many licks to the face to clear up the tears.

Splitting up with my girlfriend was heart breaking; not having my dog in my life too, was heart wrenching.

I am now learning how to move on and let go of our relationship and have also welcomed Remi back into my life.

Over the holidays, I spent two glorious weeks alone with my dog, staying at a friends house in Upstate New York; it was a welcome opportunity to relax, away from distraction and clear my head.

Every day we hiked local mountain trails, and when the snow came, we snowshoed with Remi following in my footsteps or even breaking trail fearlessly, despite the snow reaching her chest. She had the most fun when I rented cross country skis and I could finally keep up with her eager pace.

One afternoon was spent snowboarding and I left her alone at the house for a couple of hours…needless to say, the welcome I received coming home was akin to not having seen her for weeks.

As I returned her affection and spoke to her, I listened to what I said and it struck a much deeper chord: “I told you I was coming back—did you think I was going to abandon you?”

Remi is a rescue dog and despite us being her forever-home family, I had already abandoned her a few times, when in frustration I walked out on my girlfriend…and ultimately, on both of them.

Over the following days I was far more attentive to the words I spoke to Remi.

“You are beautiful.”
“You are so great”
“You are so pretty.”

And it resonated deeply that everything I said to Remi was exactly what I hadn’t said to my girlfriend, often enough. Talking from my heart to my dog was easy enough; telling my girlfriend the very things I thought whenever I saw her was not so easy.

I’m sharing this with you because I now truly appreciate, that as we steal away loving moments with our pets or kids, we revel in their pure adoration of us and return it with powerful simple positive affirmations that they adore. But do we spend as much time with our loved ones expressing ourselves with a pure heart?

Sadly I didn’t—but I’m now far more attentive to the power of words and lack of them. And I won’t make that mistake again.

Be the person your dog thinks you are…with everyone.


Tim Hawkings is a freelance British photographer currently living in New York City and the proud father of a beautiful dog called Remi. Tim’s an ardent lover of the great outdoors, exploration and discovery, creating art and cooking for happiness. He is inspired to learn new skills, to love self and embrace life fully for the adventure it beholds.

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Ed: Bryonie Wise
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