I think the reason dogs can get thru, survive and move forward in positive ways from devastating life events is...they are incapable of assigning blame. humans waste so much time and energy making something someone else's fault. blaming others is easy in the short term but long term it does take great personal effort and continued pain to sustain. you basically have to keep living over and over whatever it was that upset you in the first place. dogs are way brighter in this regard, why repeatedly live thru the same upsetting past event over and over again? dogs know how to let go and move on.
the one thing tho that many (but not all) humans have and dogs don't, is insight. the ability to look inside and determine what part we actually did play. dogs don't internalize, it is what it is and if they really don't like it, they will just try to avoid it again. but I don't think they muddle ]stuff thru and try to grow wiser inside, I think they just learn what's best to avoid.
you take the incident regarding mystic, odie and my damaged leg...it happened in less than 3 seconds. mystic was being a snarky bitch, odie got totally pissed and my leg got bit. odie didn't look at mystic and say..its your fault the human got bit, mystic did not answer back, hey you are the one who bit her so you are to blame, and neither of them looked at me and said, its your own fault for putting your leg in our way. there was only that one moment of surprise that something weird just occurred, that's unexpected and gee we think she is hurt. oh well, time to do something else and remove ourselves from her rage.
end of story..no regrets, no blame. it was what it was, it now was a good time to just move on.
this is why "rehabbing" dogs is so easy. I am not talking about training certain behaviors in or out of them..that's not so easy...i mean in the sense of getting emotionally broken up humpty together again.
like phoebe. phoebe will always be an annoying, extremely irritating little hag, I never trained those kind of behaviors out of her (I wouldn't know where to start) but phoebe is not an emotionally broken dog, she thinks she is good and everyone really loves her (because we all do!)
but phoebe has never bemoaned her fate..kicked to the curb, abandoned in the cold and snowy dark of the night, terrified and afraid. she doesn't carry a long list behind her of what unkind and uncaring people have done to her, she doesn't make excuses for her bad behavior by blaming someone else...when she is bad, she just looks at me and says...what?
phebes is never going to grow into a wise old dog, who knows how to please humans and behave. she just knows how to be phoebe and live to enjoy the next day. she may not have the insight to help herself grow and change but she also doesn't carry around a ton of baggage like blame to make herself feel unhappy every day.
I guess it is sort of a tie...humans have the ability to grow bigger and better inside our minds thru insight. but dogs have the ability to shed past events and leave things in the past where they belong and live in today.
it would be nice tho to combine the two and create a super human or dog!