When one of our loyal dog friends becomes disabled, or begins to enter their geriatric years, it seems that suddenly the ground falls from beneath us. After the initial shock and fear of realizing that your best friend is going through a shift in their life, it is important to consider the following:
If you have experienced the unconditional love offered to you from an animal, then you know that they come to this life with countless gifts and lessons to share. It is so easy for us, as human beings with human emotions, to judge and be fearful of the shifts in lifestyle that the aging process or a disability creates in our lives. If you will take just a moment to sit with this, you will soon realize that the opportunities and lessons that are in store for you by embracing this process of change, are abundant and important.
Caring for your dog through a disability or perhaps caring for your dog through the final stages of his/her physical life on earth is perhaps one of the most real and amazing opportunities of your lifetime. Through this process, you can learn (or re-learn) how to be gentle with your judgments about aging. You will learn to explore new options for taking care of your disabled friend and keeping their lives as full as possible in the process. There are so many things available to us today to help us with this process. By using special carts, special beds, special harnesses, and by learning that there are new ways to play ball, you will find a depth of bonding that before this time you never knew existed. There are skills that you will learn and points of view that you will discover that will help in your own aging process and perhaps will flow over into other situations in your life or the lives of your loved ones.
Before you jump to define “quality of life” for your canine friend, please make certain that it is not your own quality of life that concerns you. Perhaps being forced to slow down and nurture and care or add routine to your day is just what you need in your life.
Having your dog unable to be a jogging partner simply gives rise to the opportunity to create new experiences and games for you to enjoy together. The gentleness that this will awaken inside of you has far reaching lessons. It will change your life in ways that you may not perceive for many years to come. I urge you to remain in a state of thankfulness and open yourself to receiving the lessons and gifts that your animal friend is offering to you.
These things are never easy. There may be support groups in your area, or perhaps you could form one. Veterinarians often have additional resources for help and support. Please feel free to email me or to call me if you would like to talk and share. I am here to help.
THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for taking this step into real life and for being open to experiencing this depth of feeling and emotion.
“My prayer is that you experience a process of dying that doesn’t overwhelm you, a moment of dying that you can be conscious of and a future incarnation into a place of incredible light.”– Ram Dass