Richard is the sort of vet you dream of having. He loves Enid, he takes his time, he touches her in a gentle way and talks in detail with me, respecting that I do have a place in the decision making process.
During a visit to Richard, some time ago now, we talked vaccinations and the choices around that for Enid. Then we talked heartworm treatments. The heartworm injection is like a capsule that they inject into the system and it releases slowly the fluid that will kill off any larvae in the system over a year. I felt into what Richard was sharing with me about the heartworm and then opted for the monthly tablets instead. Which brings me to my thought for the day.
Intuition or the knowledge of science when caring for dogs?
In the every day world, caring for dogs is headed up by veterinary science, then the alternative vets, homeopaths, naturopaths etc, followed by dog trainers, dog behaviouralists, dog groomers and finally the owners. Often, within this hierarchy it is easy, as a mere owner, to feel inadequate, for how could I know what is right or wrong for my dog, based on what I feel? Veterinary science is such an awesome support for our dogs but how can I know the ins and outs about everything that is being advised to me? Feeling intimidated in the face of such knowledge can be quite common, but it is certainly not a reason to outright reject western vet medicine either.
When you visit your vet take the carefully communicated veterinary knowledge into consideration and use it as a guide alongside what you feel from your own intuition. Then you can discuss the situation from every angle with your vet, remembering that often we know what is best for our dogs but go into doubt around what we feel.
For me, I have to make sure I am really feeling myself before I can make decisions about Enid. If I am not, if I am distracted with a worry about something else in my life, or if I am having a bad day and not feeling so good about myself then I have reason to doubt what I feel or know intuitively . That doubt , in turn, can let in the weight of fear that is behind some (not all) of the veterinary suggestions for maintaining health in dogs. I don’t want that fear to be my guide, I want to be my own guide. If I make the decision when I am feeling good within myself, I really know that my decision is the right way to go for Enid and it is not based on what the vet suggested nor that I am deliberately going against what the vet suggested.
The other area I have observed to play a large part when making decisions, is emotions. If any emotional feeling is the driving force behind making doggy health care decisions, you cannot guarantee the quality of the decision. Emotions muddy up our care, that is one of the reasons why we lean on science – because it feels so sure and strong in amongst the swaggering and swaying of emotions and we feel like we must do the right thing for our dog. If you can feel connected to yourself, then the decisions about what to do will seem effortless and very ‘right’. Even when the situation is life or death and everything is going on, we are extremely capable of pulling back from any emotions and making clear decisions, we just have to learn how to be with ourselves, instead of reacting to what is going on around us.
Observe not absorb what is going on around you, listen to the science based evidence and then, from your own clarity and intuition, decide and act in the most loving and supportive way for yourself and for your dog's health and wellbeing.