Lymphosarcoma. Hemangiosarcoma. Osteosarcoma. Mast Cell Tumor. Nasal Tumor. Melanoma. Mammary Cancer.
All these words, so harsh, so foreign and scientific. And also, so horrible.
Do you love a dog with cancer? How are you dealing with this fact?
Upon reflection, some may not even allow the reality to sink in. You are telling me my dog has cancer? What? It is surreal, at times not even believable.
Some put the information in a dark corner of the mind, and don’t go there often. Stay away from that corner of pain. We sometimes run from it, desperately trying to find a solution in the fixing of the problem.
Some of us create a super-mature persona that feels safe and secure. We throw a switch that has a “numb-out” effect at other times. This can make feelings go away altogether.
Whatever these are, we all have our flavors, our unique patterns and defaults in the avoidance of pain.
Avoiding pain prevents us from truly moving through and beyond the problem.
In order to truly solve something, there are two basic approaches. One is to get out there and fix the problem. This is an external approach. We don’t like what is going on, so we look outside of ourselves to find the solution.
Another way we can approach a problem is looking inside. This way is often avoided in our society.
In other cultures though, it is not. Time is spent devoted to this area of problem solving. In most Western cultures though, we often look down on this, since it seems to have a bad associations with weakness and mental instability.
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When faced with such a traumatic ordeal as living with a dog with cancer, we forget that sometimes what makes us truly human is our ability to feel. We spend so much of our efforts engaged in not feeling what is happening that we become less effective problem solvers. If we are unable to feel, we paralyze our ability to move forward. Our coping skills decrease. We never are able to truly let things go.
We forget that half the solution is within us.
Those in positions of high stress (presidents, Olympic athletes, humans dealing with dog cancer, overwhelmed persons, maybe someone close to you) work best when they have someone they can turn to who is experienced in dealing with internal life.
Most Americans have been indoctrinated into thinking only of a “mental health professional”. This is just one way of addressing our internal life to regain access to feeling again. Yes, psychologists and psychiatrists help millions. There are also others who can help: priests, counselors, Cabbalists, Zen Buddists, Taoists, Sufis, Avatars, Touch Therapy practitioners, energy workers, Yogis, and more. Don’t forget about support groups (online and otherwise), true friends, and family members.
Sometimes even someone in the line outside the movie theater might say something that can shift your viewpoint. You never know. Could be someone right in front of you.
What is your comfortable way of managing your internal life?
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.