… furbabies included WITHOUT the guilt!
So here it is: the truth. People look at me and think, wow, how does she do it? A demanding profession, a business owner, a mother of 3 (with one of them being under a year), a significant other, 3 furbabies (a dog and 2 cats), a volunteer and board member for a charitable organization, a blogger, occasional tv and radio appearances, and the list goes on. How do I do it? I don’t! I’m scrambling all the time. Sometimes with a big smile (a real one), sometimes with a forced smile and sometimes with clenched teeth!
I guess it is this reality that I live day-to-day that allows me to be somewhat unconventional in the way I practice veterinary medicine. When I graduated, I could not understand many of my clients. I was young, inexperienced and quite frankly naive. When clients chose not to do diagnostic tests or when they had ‘no time’ to do the training exercises I had asked them to do as part of the treatment for a behaviour problem, I was shocked and disappointed. In a way, I was judging people for not doing or taking the kind of care of their animals that I believed in and did for my own furbabies. Boy, has my approach changed.
It’s never as simple as one thing or even two or three. It’s the entire family, life, lifestyle, environment, your history, your past and your future. I now look at the entire WHOLE of the family, a 360degree view. I often ask “where are you with him/her now?”, “how much further can you go?”, “we all need to live together as a family, furry included, so let’s see if we can make this happen.” Gone are the days where I ask people to train their dogs for an hour a day, or blame lack of exercise on every behaviour problem. So often, people come to me completely overwhelmed with their dog’s or cat’s behaviour problem. They have tried the trainers, they have tried the natural remedies and some have even tried pharmaceuticals. So what more can they do? I try to offer them support and an understanding of the problem. It is incredible how much relief comes from simply understanding why or what your dog or cat is doing. It is not always simply YOUR FAULT!
Many of us are absolutely riddled with guilt when it comes to our furbabies. When we no longer have as much time for them because of changes in lifestyle (kids, work, etc), we become embarrassed or feel desperate. Some people even go to the point of giving up their cats and dogs when they feel overwhelmed with life. What I want to say is: you are not alone out there. And you don’t need to be the perfect dog or cat owner. You are forgiven. Your cat or dog is going to be happy with a safe and loving house, with what you can give today and not what was given years ago. Unlike us, they don’t think about these things. They know routines, so change should be gradual, but most of them can cope. Of course I am talking about the normal and not the special needs cases who suffer from anxieties and phobias, etc.
So, give your dog and cat a hug, take him for that 5 minute walk (because that’s all you have time for today), tell him how much you love him, and keep him with you. He will stay faithful to you and love you unconditionally, of that I am sure.