Most, if not all of the readers of the Dog Cancer Blog have an interest in being happy.
Why not? Dealing with a dog cancer diagnosis can be the most challenging and daunting task faced in some one’s life. During this time it can be quite a struggle to be happy. The sadness, frustration and sinking feelings can overwhelm anyone.
On a basic level, you are reading this post because you would like to be more happy. Whether looking for data to help your dog or for any other reason, the bottom line is goal is happiness accrual. I could write about hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, or mast cell tumors.
But on a much deeper level, really the currency we are most interested in is happiness.
So let’s look at this subject in more detail, since it is, for all of us, centrally important. And for someone in the trenches of dog cancer, it is a topic that can be overshadowed by medication, prognosis, and quality of life considerations.
Many of us feel that happiness during the time we are helping a canine family member during cancer is not appropriate. It can feel like a betrayal to our loved dog. Be happy when our four legged companion is in a fight for life? Are you kidding?
No, it really seems like it is in poor taste to be laughing and smiling when your most loyal, trusted companion is struggling with a killing disease. How dare I suggest this? What is wrong with me? Am I totally insensitive and devoid of respect for the bond between beings?
Well, hang on a minute. Let’s back up and contemplate this. It is really wrong? How much does your ongoing sadness actually help your dog? How much does chronic sadness help you?
Dale Carnegie pointed out that some people will cling to emotions for prolonged periods, in some cases incapacitating themselves and those around them for years.
When is an acceptance and release of the sadness allowed?
Nobody is saying that one should not experience the trauma and sadness that is a natural reaction to one of life’s most overwhelming experiences. But, once the anguish has been experienced, how long are we to carry it around? That is the key point.
How long are we to hang on to the sadness?
Can we let it go even while our dear one is still in the fight for life?
I would like to reiterate a question: how much does your ongoing sadness help your dog?
Does it make you more competent? Does it make you more resourceful? Does it create an effect in your dog that is healing, restoring, calming, and reassuring?
I think after considering this question deliberately, the answer will surface. The answer is, of course, no.
Again, experience what is there in whatever way is natural for you. But will you allow chronic sadness to be a second disease that you and your dog must face together?
Perhaps allowing ourselves to more quickly experience happiness again, even while on the path of canine cancer, could help everyone involved, especially our dogs.
For more on techniques to increase feelings of happiness even while enduring canine cancer, you may be interested in The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.
Best to all,
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.