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How Abused Dogs Like Cadence Teach Us the Power of Forgiveness

Why is it easier for our canine friends to forgive, and why do we believe that we can’t?

 |  Sep 16th 2013  |   5 Contributions


Editor's Note: Some of the photos below are painful to look at, but we hope you'll stick with us. This is a story with a happy ending.

To have lived is to have scars, both emotional and physical. As humans, we often use these scars to protect ourselves from further pain and shield us from the unknown. However, by allowing our scars to define us, we are held back, deprived of the ability to truly be happy.

But what if we didn’t allow our to wounds paralyze us? What if we looked at our past hurts as stepping stones and as encouragement to seek out a better life? Rather than allowing our hearts to be filled with hurt or hate, what if we chose to forgive?

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Cadence had been used as a bait dog in dogfighting, resulting in horrible injuries to her muzzle.

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Cadence wasn't afraid of people, although it was clear someone had let her be abused.

When Eldad Hagar of Hope for Paws recently rescued Cadence, it was clear that she had been abused for most of her life, as her body was riddled with wounds and scars in different stages of healing. Her world was made up of pain and shattered trust by the those who were supposed to care for her. 

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Cadence went through surgery to repair her muzzle and save her eyes.

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Cadence healed from surgery at the home of her foster mom.

When many of us look at what Cadence had been through, imagining ourselves in her place, we can’t fathom ever getting over the horrors of the past. Nor can we see ourselves having faith that there are genuinely good beings out there, ready to help rescue us. 

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Chance, another rescue dog, wanted to gently lick Cadence's injuries to soothe her.

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Cadence is healed and happy.

But unlike most humans, Cadence allowed herself to be vulnerable. She recognized the comforting touch from a stranger, and without hesitation, she took a chance that this stranger would bring her the love and happiness that she had never felt before. It is because Cadence opened her heart to the unknown and let go of her past that Eldad was able to give her a chance at a life full of joy and love. 

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Cadence kisses Cadence, the little girl she was named for, whose mother was the first to find the dog.

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As rescuers, we see this time and time again: Dogs who have been abused, abandoned, or forgotten and seem broken in every way -- they trust the hand of rescuer, thus rising up from the ashes, learning to love again. 

Why is it easier for our canine friends to forgive, and why do believe that we can’t? And why is it easier for us to relate to their pain than that of our fellow man? 

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Cadence and friends.

Well, maybe it's that these dog rescue stories give us hope that we will someday learn to accept the second chances we long for. Or maybe dogs are destined to teach us how to live. 

And just maybe, if we choose to wear our scars openly, as Cadence does, it will help us show others that they too can heal.

Click below to watch Cadence's heartwarming video documenting her journey toward happiness. And please share this far and wide and help us show the world that all dogs deserve a second chance.

Be sure to visit Hope For Paws and donate so it can continue saving dogs like Cadence. And if you are interested in adopting Cadence, email Hope for Paws for more info.

Photos courtesy Eldad Hagar's Flickr page

Read more by Annie and about Eldad and other rescuers: 

Annie Hart is the executive director of Bill Foundation Dog Rescue. Be sure to follow her on her NEW Facebook page for more inspiring rescue stories. Follow the Bill Foundation on FacebookYouTubeFlickr, and Twitter.

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