As I write this, I can hear the whistle of my dog breathing, with the occasional snort and wiggle to relieve the itching. Miles Davis is thirteen years old, with Cushing’s Disease, sore joints, and a weak heart (only physically, of course).
A brief history of my dog, Miles
1. Create a Safe Space
2. A Simple, Predictable Routine
3. It’s the Small Things
4. Chewing is Soothing
5. Keep your dog busy!
6. Nutriceutical Supplements for dogs
- Rescue Remedy
- Composure Pro Bite Size Chews for Dogs and Cats
- Adaptil Diffuser
- Lavender essential oil
- CBD Oil
Along with these supplements, it’s best to have your dog on a healthy diet as well.
7. Self-Care (for humans!)
SET ASIDE TIME FOR YOURSELF
As difficult as it may seem, there is only so much you can do for your pup and the truth is that they need time alone. Remember before they got sick, when you used to go out dancing? For your own sanity and well-being, you need to carve this time out for yourself. Try it! This week, go see a movie with friends, take yourself out on a dinner date, or go to a movie.
QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR DOG
At least a few times a week, I light candles, put on soothing music, and Miles and I lay down for some quality time together. Sometimes we cuddle, other times he’s too sore and doesn’t want to be touched. But the important thing is that we are spending relaxing and healing time together, away from the rest of the world, just the two of us.
There are people in your life who will support you, even if it doesn’t feel like anyone understands. Maybe it’s a phone call to your parent or a night in with friends, but share with them what you are going through, because their support will help. If you find you need to enlist the help of a therapist so that you have a safe space to talk about your feelings, do it. Did you know there are also canine support groups and blogs? You are not alone. Not now, not ever! Please remember that you are doing the best you can for your aging senior dog. If your experience is anything like mine, you have received many well-intentioned opinions about what you should do regarding your dog’s medical care (and otherwise). It’s hard to feel confident in your dog’s treatment when there are so many options out there! For example, I was just with a veterinarian yesterday who made me feel terrible for choosing a holistic route of care. The point is this: you do the best you can. On some level, your dog knows this and trusts you completely. My friend and one of our alumni clients, Lauren Fern Watt, wrote an achingly beautiful novel called Gizelle’s Bucket List: My Life with a Very Large Dog about her experience with her ailing English Mastiff. It did a great job of reminding me that I wasn’t alone, so I highly recommend it!
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