A penultimate observer of behavior, I noticed that, compared to my other two Jacks, Marshall always sleeps curled up in a ball. Upon some research I discovered a few things.
The curled up position is the least comfortable for a dog. To be able to hold this position while they sleep the muscles must be all tensed up. Dogs in the wild often sleep curled up for warmth, something Marshall was probably lacking quite often in the puppy mill. But they also do it for other reasons. When a dog curls into a ball, the stomach, the heart, the throat and other vital organs are protected by the skeleton. Dogs are intelligent animals with very highly protective instincts. In this position, the dog knows that the vital organs are protected from the attacks of predators. For a dog that lived in a 2 x 2 cage threatened by everything around him, it makes sense that he would choose the position that protects him the most.
Sharkey sleeps on her back with all four feet in the air. But she has been loved and adored her entire life. She feels no threat from her environment. Charm, since she was a puppy, has had to burrow underneath something to sleep - her denning instincts are very strong. She will even crawl her way into a pillowcase – of course only if the pillow is still IN the case!
Today I walked into my office and was surprised to find Marshall stretched out on his side snoozing peacefully. This is the very first time I’ve found him with his little tummy exposed. He looked comfortable and relaxed, the wariness gone even if it was for only about ten minutes. As quiet and unassuming as this event was, I consider it monumental. It was a moment of hope for me and a few moments of faith on his part.
Forgiveness seems to be an innate quality in this little dog; trust not so much, and understandably so. My prayers for the wisdom to trust have been answered, albeit a small moment at a time. That is why I marvel at this minor miracle.