A conversation with a friend started me thinking about the topic of authenticity and how important it is in relationships. Being true to oneself is liberating, requires self-confidence and grit, but can also leave one vulnerable to criticism and judgement. I guess that’s why we are most authentic with those we trust and we earn others’ trust by acceptance of their authenticity.
One of the many things I find so incredible about dogs is that they are truly authentic by nature. There are no false pretenses or ulterior motives when befriending a member of this species! Scared, happy, cautious; dogs are transparent with their emotions for all who take the time to understand their behavior and cognition. A dog’s trust is the honor earned for safeguarding his vulnerability.
It has also been my experience that dogs are keen observers of authenticity. Through use of scent and visual cues, my family dogs have instantly let me know with their body language if a person is calm, nervous, hostile, or compassionate; so much so that when meeting someone new, I’ve learned to rely on them as my personal character “barometers”!