Dog lovers know that dogs are the most amazing creatures on the planet; the most unconditionally loving, accepting, welcoming and joyful four legged companions. They also tend to be very empathic, reading their owner’s energy and sometimes matching their owner’s emotions, so it is very important to stay positive when caring for your ill dog. Otherwise they may expend energy caring for you or matching your mood.
It can be challenging to watch your normally spunky, tail wagging friend mope around the house as they recover, or in some cases wind down and depart. It’s easy to jump into sympathy, feeling sorry for your beloved, but this only triggers more sadness and doesn’t support the dog to get better or transition peacefully. What I’ve found helps, from my experience with my beautiful dog who is currently resting while recovering from an autoimmune disease, is to stay in the present moment and focus on her wholeness. This supports me to stay positive and reassures her that she will be okay, no matter what.
I’ve offered several tips below to help you stay positive while you care for your ill dog, but first a quip from Louis Sabin:
“A dog doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, big or small, young or old. He doesn’t care if you’re not smart, not popular, not a good joke-teller, not the best athlete, nor the best-looking person. To your dog, you are the greatest, the smartest, the nicest human being who was ever born. You are his friend and protector.”
And for those of you wondering about what happens in the afterlife for dogs, click on the book, Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates.
Staying Positive While Caring for Your Ill Dog
Process emotions privately or with caring friends. At times I slip into ‘what if’ scenarios, imaging the worst and picturing my life without my best dog friend and before you know it, I’m sobbing uncontrollably. My sweet dog looks at me with sympathy and then slinks out of the room to find a more peaceful place to heal. When our animal companions are healing, they need to be surrounded by positive, loving energy, not despairing, grieving moods. We need to process our emotions though – those for the dog and ourselves – because if we don’t they’ll get bottled up and harm us or explode and harm others. I find going into another room alone to have a soothing cry or talking to a caring friend supports me to process my raw feelings and return to a more positive or at least neutral place.
Accept them as they are. Dogs love to be accepted and acknowledged for the wonderful beings that they are. They wag their tails vigorously when approved of and praised. They don’t want this to stop just because they are ill and can’t respond the same way. Instead of viewing my dog as though something is ‘wrong’, I try to see her as recuperating and I accept her condition, knowing it is just a current aspect of her life experience. I know on a deeper level, viewing her this way brings relief to both of us.
See their wholeness. Dogs are more than their bodies and behaviors; they are big, beautiful, spiritual beings. When they leave this planet they will carry on in another dimension. When I get caught in seeing my dog through her illness, I stop and center within and find inner stillness. From this spiritual perspective, I connect with her on a soul level and I see how light and joyful she is, despite her illness. This reassures me that she is on a healing path, even if she departs this plane. It is also a wonderful way to offer a deeper hello to her and her wholeness.
Be in the present moment. Regretting what recently happened or fearing what might happen in the future prevents us from enjoying the company of our dog. So does missing their normal dog-like behavior and wishing things were different. When we move into the present moment, accepting our dog just as she or he is and seeing their wholeness, we can enjoy our relaxed time spent with them as they recuperate or wind down.
As you find ways to raise your vibration from pity and sympathy to a higher level of love and compassion, you will be able to stay positive while caring for your ill dog.
If you have questions or a heartwarming dog story to share, please comment below.
You may also want to read What to Do When Your Dog Dies, to prepare yourself emotionally for the worst case scenario.