The biggest honors I have ever received have come from animals.
Ever noticed that the trust of an animal is more freely given but more difficultly earned than that of a human? Animals, particularly companion animals, somehow just know about the best in you and go ahead and trust you because of it. You didn’t do anything to deserve that trust, you didn’t show the animal anything that would prove you worthy of his confidence. Animals don’t wait for you to act your best to trust you – and even when we’ve shown our worst, to forgive. For so long and so much. Humans, on the other hand – at least in my experience – for the most part relate to others under the cautionary basis of “untrustworthy until proven innocent.”
But for humans and animals, even the deepest trust can break in an instant.
Human trust is a fragile thing. And animal trust, while given freely, isn’t a doormat. Forgiveness for so long and so much can reach the point of too long and too much.
And once you’ve lost the trust of an animal, it is infinitely hard to earn back.
Which is why I am so incredibly grateful when an animal privileges me with the knowledge that I am trusted.
Last night, when my cat Silky and I were cuddling, he eventually wiggled his way out of my arms and started licking himself. Cat owners, you know the stuff. “Oh, excuse me for a moment. I just have to lick myself here. And here and here and here.”
But then – deep thrill – he started licking me.
Some of you might be thinking, what’s the big deal? Cats lick humans all the time, right?”
Uh, no. *Polite cough.* I believe that you’re thinking of a dog.
When a cat licks herself, it’s her way of reasserting her scent – in some ways, her identity. So if when a cat licks herself, it means “I want to smell like me,” when she licks you she’s saying “And I want you to smell like me too!” Or, in other words, “you are mine.”
Though, of course, sometimes it just means you taste good. 😉
How have you been honored by an animal’s trust?