New Writing, Pondering

Letter to a Traumatized Friend

Dear One,

By the time you get this note you will be about half-way through the trauma program.  You are missed, my dear friend!

Something happened with my rescue puppy, Samwise, this morning that reminded me, again, of the effects of trauma.  I used to put his food in a bowl under the utility sink in the laundry room.  But something apparently fell on him one day while he was eating, and he has refused to go anywhere near that bowl. 

So I moved his food to a tray.  But recently I’ve started adding a little “good stuff” with his kibble, and the tray gets so messy and is far more awkward to clean.  I decided to try his bowl again.  

A couple of days ago I put the full bowl on the tray and he wouldn’t go anywhere near it. Finally, I tried moving the bowl close to the tray, and Sam, with his body as far from the bowl as he could get, stretched his neck over and ate his food.  Good, I thought, he can get acclimated here, and then we will put the bowl back on the tray. 

This morning I mixed the food in his bowl and set it on the tray to see what would happen.  Sam was quite hungry, so he came right over and began to eat. But after a few seconds he looked up and jumped back, and circled the tray, but wouldn’t go anywhere near it.  Oh well, I thought, that was a move forward.  We’ll keep trying. 

Then I found him on his dog bed—trembling uncontrollably. 

I picked him up and held him close as one shudder after another wracked his body.   A half hour later, he was still shaking, and wanted to be nowhere else but my lap.  So I held him, thought about my own journey, and prayed for you in yours. 

Trauma.   I didn’t see what happened to him in the laundry room.  But I know the effects of trauma.  Even in a dog.  He needed to be in a safe place until he quit shaking and could get his well-being back.  I was given a peaceful home and four years to stop shaking.   You are being given several intensive weeks in a treatment center.  

May God hold you close through the actions and words of your staff.  Through the humbling work and longed-for rest.  Until you are no longer shaking.  And your soul’s well-being is on the way to being restored. 

With much, much love and prayers, 


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