In the last post, we looked at how critical it is for you, as your dog’s guardian, to be in good mental shape to help your dog.
This means paying attention to things that could hurt your ability to think clearly, act rationally, and really focus on the things that truly matter.
There will be a time, and we don’t know when, that you will look back on this period and question whether you made the right choices, or did the right things for your loved dog.
You will want the answer to be something like…yes, I did… I took the time to figure out what was right for my companion, to make sure I was thinking clearly, to weigh facts while looking at the big picture, to be loving without being stuck in personal or selfish drama.
The only way to do this is to be able to clear your mind.
The exact way this is done will depend on the person. Some people do well just talking it out with someone close. Some feel better being around other people that love them. Some go to mentors, counselors, or spiritual leaders.
We must admit that much of the time, we are on our own during these tough days. For this reason it makes sense to have a few tricks in our toolbox that we can use.
It is becoming more and more clear that we can improve our ability to think clearly while experiencing stress, desperation, sadness, anger, or any kind of high level emotion that interferes with clear thinking.
Science shows us that breathing exercises clearly focus attention. Now, for all those that put a premium on rationality, please do not condemn before investigating.
This study showed that meditation (just sitting and focusing on the breath while allowing thoughts to pass) improved the ability to sustain attention. It cannot be denied that this skill is useful when dealing with tough decisions. We have to focus our attention, and it can be tough during these times.
How about the deliberate practice of gratitude (taking time to sit down with a pen and paper and writing down things you really appreciate)? Publications now show us that this practice helps with sleep. Exhaustion throws a wrench in our engine. Nobody would argue that fatigue helps performance during hard chapters.
On top of this, gratitude helps moods and overall life appraisals. This has been published too.
There are many other tools and tricks that can be used to help you help your dog. They are not there just to play with, but to use. They are not there to read about and talk about. They are real-life tips that work when they are acted upon.
When we are able to propel ourselves from the armchair to the arena of life, we can make things better for ourselves and those we care for.
Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include “Ask the Vet” segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE (Comparative Orthopedic Research Evaluation). He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.