The Unspoken Words between our dogs and us.
A pure bond where words are not required to communicate, but just eye contact is enough. The eyes are the windows to the soul – so so so true. It gives the opportunity to be completely present and available to whatever emotions are being conveyed.
Dogs understand both, the meaning of words, and the tone used to speak to them – to a point. Though they do not understand full sentences, but the words we used to train them is what they attach the meaning to it. For example, the word “sit” is followed by teaching them how to actually sit down with the help of treats. But let’s not get into logic here.
I am pointing out at the emotional and funny part. Let’s start with the emotional one. As I have mentioned in one of my previous posts, there was a time when I wanted to end my life. I was all prepared and just sat one last time on the bed reflecting on all the life’s troubles and crying my eyes out. Somehow Casper understood what I was going through and immediately jumped on me and started licking my tears. He saved my life. He understood his Mumma was going through a bad time and his sloppy kisses would solve the problem. Indeed, it did – without me saying a word.
Even when I am unwell, and do not have the energy to play with Junior and keep attending to his demands of feeding him out of time food, he somehow understands and never bothers me. Somewhere he knows that Mumma is unwell and he should let me rest and recover. On other days, he doesn’t leave me alone even for a second. The moment I sit with my Tea, he feels that “how is she relaxing? She has to be on my duty at all times”. And he would keep tapping his paws on me till I give in.
The funny part is; I talk to my dogs in 2 languages – Gujarati and English. And they understand both of them (not in the literal sense). When I am in public and talking to Junior, it amazes people that my dog understands what I am saying.
But these are words that I speak. However, dogs do understand the emotions and we understand theirs. The unspoken words where we know that our dog is unwell or something is wrong, or when they need extra care and love, and vice versa. The eyes and the emotions behind it don’t require words to be spoken. And this can happen only if the bond is strong and pure.
Are the eyes soft, loving, compassionate? Is there hardness, anger, unspoken yet felt? What about fear, or frustration? Seen in the eyes, it’s so tangible in the air as well. Be willing to look deeply into those eyes, and take this wonderful opportunity to hold this dog with whatever intensities are expressed. It is an amazingly intimate opportunity for deeper relationship.
You dance; your dog dances with you. You are sad; your dog offers you kisses. You are angry; you dog sits in the corner of the room waiting for you to calm down. You are happy; your dog joins in to share the happiness. Same way, your dog is unwell; you get anxious. Your dog doesn’t eat; you skip a meal. Your dog is enjoying the walk; you are also happy.
In all this, no words spoken; just understood. The funny thing is, when we tell guests or non-dog owners that “my dog is hunger, or needs to pee or poop, or my dog is just playing”, and look at you with shock in their eyes, as if “how do you know?” We just know J
We can understand the silence and the emotions screaming loudly behind those eyes. Our bond is special, and it requires no words. Our unspoken words SPEAK THE LOUDEST.
I feel like escaping. I live in a prison of my own thoughts. Imaginary or true, I have lost the touch of reality. My thinking keeps me away from the warmth of home. Confused, discontent, sad, I don’t have the answers. Only questions keep lingering for long. Is it the search for a greener grass? Or doubting if the shine I possess is not for me? Is it just in my head? Or my worst fears will come true one day?
Some days I am caged by the past. I sit and wonder, if I had done this, then that wouldn’t have happened. If I get a chance to go back and start over, I would do it a different way. Had I taken better decisions, then I would be happy now. Or if I would have waited a little longer, then I would be in a different situation now.
Other days I am consumed by the future. As the night falls, so does my motivation to stay strong. Many nights I am at the brick of falling completely apart thinking about the future. The overwhelming fear of the unknown; the uncertainty just scares me off. The dreaded thoughts of living without your loved ones, or suddenly going broke, or doing something incredibly wrong. Forgetting that Anxiety is a story teller, I still let it consume me.
Most of the days, I am completely cut off from the present. Just living! No motivation, no goals, no aims, just half in the past and half in the future. Self sabotage is a blade, one which I possess carelessly, always cutting, but never bleeding me out.
Am I the only one? Or are there others feeling and thinking the same? Does consistent bad time really play with our brain? Do we really get stronger and learn something? Or we just get used to living in survival mode. Is it always fight or flight? Or has someone seen the sun shining bright after thunder storms?
The desire to escape is fueled by yearning to run away from the unpleasant circumstance and situation. My problem is over thinking and trying to control the outcome. It’s a burnout feeling. When I was young, my dreams were to own a house, have a car, a family of my own and lots of money. Later it reduced to have at-least enough income to buy anything without seeing the label. Gradually it reduced to being healthy and seeing your loved ones healthy and happy. And now it’s narrowed down to having a peaceful mind and staying happy in whatever I have.
Sometimes life feels so overwhelming and claustrophobic that we long to escape, leaving everything behind and start new. Most dissatisfaction of our lives is fixable, or atleast can be improved. We know all the answers, yet we have too many questions. The resistance to change and trying to control the outcome is what puts us in a negative thinking cage.
I know it all. Yet here I am, trying to escape, drying up all the hopes some days for a better future. Feeling on and off has left me tired. Anxiety is bad. It tricks your mind into thinking that nothing will ever go right. It makes you think the worse case scenarios. A persistent state of worry and displaying excessive amount of fear leaves you drained.
But am I the only one? Is it really a tough time for many whether or not dealing with anxiety/depression? I know escaping is not the solution. And it should not even be. There are a lot of little things to be happy about and content with. For me it’s Junior and my family. However, some days I just feel like escaping. Just for a little while, to come back all charged up and face the world again.
A new season can bring new challenges to your dog’s grooming routine. It’s tempting to groom your dog less often when faced with various tests. One of the most important challenges is money. In today’s time, especially after the deadly pandemic, many are facing financial issues. We have even been questioning the groomers about the costs of grooming.
Let me share a light hearted, yet logical post today about why our dog’s haircut or grooming costs more than our own haircut.
It is very important to meet a dog’s needs and requirements, a part of which is grooming. Many have opted to groom their dogs at home. But once in a while, it is advisable to groom your dog with a professional. Just like how once in a while or periodically we get our houses or offices or cars deep cleaned, the same way we need to groom our dogs by professionals.
So why does it costs more than our haircuts? Allow me to break this down for you:
- Our hairdresser doesn’t clean our rear-end. Funny isn’t it? But it’s true. Grooming doesn’t involve just bathing our dogs or cutting their hair. The groomers go beyond that to keep our dogs clean and give value to the money.
- We don’t go weeks without taking a shower or washing or hair……….hahahaha! Yes, due to some circumstances, we don’t or cannot give our dogs a bath at regular intervals. That’s the time when we need a professional groomer who makes sure that our dogs shine like stars after a grooming session.
- Our barber doesn’t remove boogies from our eyes. True that! As mentioned before, groomers go beyond their job to clean our dogs.
- We don’t bite or scratch our barbers (even if the haircut is bad, we will sulk in the corner but not bite themJ). But when it comes to dogs, a new and strange time full of noises and equipment, those dogs that haven’t visited professional groomers before may not be familiar with these surroundings, resulting in anxious behaviour.
- Our haircuts don’t include manicure and pedicure (unless we pay extra). Our dogs grooming is inclusive of everything and more.
- We sit still for our hairdresser. But do dogs ever understand the concept of staying still? Hard pill to swallow. Keeping a dog calm and comfortable during a professional grooming session is extremely important for achieving a safe and accurate cut. And the groomers are skilled in that.
- Our hairdresser only washes and cuts our hair on the head. We pay extra for everything else. However, a professional grooming session for dogs (as mentioned before) includes every basic procedure.
- And most importantly, the likelihood of us peeing or pooping on our hairdresser is pretty slim. I will leave this right here……………hahahahaha!
A professional groomer does every part of the routine, they are experienced and educated, they have the correct equipments and know exactly how to use them, they can recognize changes in our dog’s health, and they know how to work with our dogs and control their behaviour.
Although home grooming may sometimes seem like a more accessible and affordable option, many benefits come from taking your dog to the groomers that can’t be replicated at home. Visiting a professional groomer from time to time is not only a great way to care for your dog’s coat, but it is vital to their health and wellbeing too. Visiting a professional groomer shouldn’t be seen as a last resort but rather an essential step in caring for our dogs.
This is such a common issue these days. Everyone thinks they know everything about their body or symptoms they have by just a simple search on Google. If you Google a symptom, or just any symptoms; you will be inevitably told that you have some grave disease or illness like Cancer or most probably you are getting a heart attack. Symptoms tend to reflect the fact that something is wrong. Assuming that you know what’s wrong with you can delay a much-needed trip to the doctor.
How many times have you been sick and decided to Google your symptoms? I guess – all the time! We all are guilty of this. It’s cheaper than going to the doctor, and obviously, home remedies are always there to our rescue. Let me get this straight. In today’s times, not all home remedies are effective, and trying to study your symptoms on Google is not a clever idea.
Looking for answers about your symptoms on Google is practically a nightmare. A simple headache will be classified as a brain tumor out there. You are basically inviting more trouble. And this is not applicable for only humans; but dogs too (or any pet). Let me share my personal experience for the same.
Whenever Casper fell ill, I was quick to turn up to Google for all my doubts. Instead of giving me relief, my anxiety increased each time. Google results are not reliable. And the Vets have studied and practiced for many years not to be faced by a Google doctor. Every time I would go to the Vet and bombard him with questions which I had searched on Google. Eventually he got tired and told me to not come to him if I felt Google was a better doctor than him. And you know what, I was always wrong, or let me say – Google results were always over exaggerated than the actual problem.
For Junior, I made it a point to never open Google. Sometimes, I do get tempted, but then I immediately keep my phone away. Trust me when I say this, we misdiagnosis ourselves, we freak ourselves out, we delay in getting actual help, some home remedies turn out to be harmful and dangerous, and in turn, our pets suffer.
Doctors spend years in college for a reason. Google is only good when it comes to searching for a good doctor, checking spellings of a medication and reading about general medication which has already been prescribed. Health misinformation is the biggest symptom of our increased anxiety. This can lead to weaken immune system leaving you more vulnerable.
Your habit of Googling your symptom is bad for your health. Getting a professional help at an early stage will prevent grave diseases and also save on a lot of bucks, which you would have spent by misinformation from Google and ended up in an emergency situation.
This will not only save your life, but also your pet’s life. Diagnosing your pet’s symptoms online will give you the same results as of yours. It’s a slippery slope. And our pet’s health will go downhill in no time. Online symptom checkers are almost always wrong, and most of times; even home remedies. There are many harmless and without side effects medical options available, please opt for that as prescribed instead of becoming a doctor at home as well. Times have changed, weather has changed, and our living style has changed. Therefore, many age old home remedies are not effective anymore. However, no one even knows about our pet’s health better than the vets. So NEVER try any home remedies on your dogs. Do not risk their lives just because you think you are an expert after doing some searches on Google.
Becoming a responsible person means being able to consciously make decisions which is for our betterment, as well as for our pets. By taking professional advice from a doctor or a vet will save us a lot of trouble. All the doubts in our heads also gets cleared, we do not increase our anxiety and we give our pets also accurate diagnosis and treatment, which in turns leads to a healthy and long life for all of us. Make yourself and your pets happy, and DO NOT Google your symptoms. Google a good doctor and approach them.
It’s really OK to not be OK. Everyone has their own struggles, and it’s OK to struggle. There’s no shame in admitting that you need help, and it’s the first step to becoming OK. While it’s easy to let emotions cloud over our judgment, the challenge in life (and at being successful) is being able to control yourself. “Not only is it ok to not feel ‘ok,’ it is essential. It is essential to feel your emotions every now and then to understand which area of our life needs a change or needs to let go off.
I know this topic has been discussed a lot of times before, but today I am going to talk about my personal experience. The most important life lesson I have learnt from not being ok all the time is, “Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.”
Ever since my separation, my life has been a rollercoaster ride. Sometimes I am screaming out of joy and sometimes tears are flowing down my eyes out of loss or fears. Many a times I even questioned myself if my divorce was worth it, and most of the times I feel I am better off alone than being in a relationship where I had to question my self-worth every day.
But is life only about marriage, relationships or partners? Woefully, 90% of the times – YES! It is said, that it is very important to choose a good life partner as majority of your life revolves around them. Find the Yin in your Yang. Throw out the idea of perfect, as none of us are. But having a trustworthy partner by your side clears a lot of stumbling blocks.
Take me for example. I have everything I need. I have a source of income, a beautiful dog, a house, my parents and siblings, extended family and some friends who genuinely care, hobbies, beauty, and education. Looking at me, everyone feels I am a very lucky and a strong girl and lack nothing. Infact, many even advice me to stay single all my life as being with a partner will increase my responsibility and headache…..ha ha ha ha!
But the truth is; I am lonely. Not depressed, not sad, not suicidal, plain lonely. There are days when I cry my eyes out of fear. Fear of dying alone. Fear of not finding the right partner before I become too old, fear of not having kids as my body won’t be able to take it as I age, fear of keeping all the love within me that I have to share. I am not ok, and it’s ok.
Life cannot be spent alone and it is very important to have a trustworthy and genuine partner. Majority of the people regretted and confessed on their death bed of not spending enough time with their loved ones or cheating on their partners. Human bonds are made out of emotions and the emotion LOVE is supposed to create the strongest bond known to the mankind, love heals like no other medicine so if you feel unloved or unworthy due to someone’s comments or actions regarding you, let that toxic piece of shit go. No matter how much time it takes for you to be okay, take your time and value the presence of people in your life who are holding you altogether no matter how bad the situation is, just hold onto them and most importantly HOLD ONTO YOURSELVES and trust me YOU WILL BE OKAY and bursting with happiness again.
One of my cousins’, who is a Tarot Card Reader, was telling me that, majority of her clients, infact 99% of her clients have questions relating to only Love and Relationships. She said; everyone’s life is only revolving around boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife. Infact, even their careers and money matters are directly/indirectly connected to their partners. No one is happy, but no one wants to change their own self. My cousin always advises her client and others in general to love yourself first, feel your emotions and “it’s ok to not be ok all the time.”
This is exactly what I practice. When I am not ok, I just be with myself and let my emotions flow. I don’t do anything to stop it. Sometimes it gets too overwhelming, so that time I ask for help, like I call someone up and talk to them or meet someone or exercise. Besides having everything I need and more, I am still not ok. Every so often I keep thinking about the past. Or fear of the future. On occasions I even dwell too deep in fear on a simple statement when someone asks me about my dog’s age and their average life span. I fear losing Junior. At times, I fear losing my parents as they are turning old. Earlier I was ready to get married to a guy who was living 1000s of miles away abroad. But now I refuse to even leave my city, forget even another state. This pandemic made us change our priorities.
You are allowed to change your mind, to take a break or leave a situation if you don’t feel comfortable, I am very much righty-ho to leave friends behind or people behind with whom I am not congenial anymore or that I have realized they were with me only for their benefits and convenience. I am not a people pleaser anymore and I don’t care how many years of friendship we had in the past.
Rough patch, a bad day, a major setback. Sometimes, it seems like one thing goes wrong after another. And another, and another. Sometimes an unexpected challenge or an obstacle might come my way, and I find myself stressing out, worrying and not knowing what to do. And, some days, I just have nothing – zero motivation, no creativity. All of a sudden, I am being plagued with self-doubt. And some days, I am on top of this world. An unexpected income, a surprise gift, a stagnant work kicks off or even a phone call from a long lost friend makes my day. But it’s ok. I am human after all, and without the downs, I would have never valued the ups and got the maturity I have today. I don’t know if things will ever go back to the way they used to be. What I do know is that admitting that I’m not doing too well, even to myself, wasn’t easy. But with time, as I mentioned above, I learnt to be ok with not being ok, and realized that removing time for me was not a selfish move.
We all should be allowed to fall apart sometimes, so that we can find ourselves again. What is not ok is staying there and making it your comfort zone. Once you are done feeling all your emotions, get up once again and try once again. Go out there, look good for yourself, work for yourself, exercise for yourself, and if again you feel like your emotions are taking over, let them.
Its okay to fully experience whatever it is you’re feeling. It’s okay to say that you’re not okay. And that means your feelings and emotions are valid, no matter what they are. Take the time you need to rest, recharge, and breathe. Take care of yourself the best way you know how. You know yourself better than anyone.
You are sitting on the couch, all cuddled up with your dog, giving him belly rubs, running your hand on his body, and all of a sudden you feel a lump. Within micro-seconds your mind starts running and is fogged with questions. You try to remember if this is new or whether the lump has been there for some time now. You are on your feet by now and start examining his body in search of other lumps.
Your first thought right now is – is it Cancer? You open Google and start looking for answers. Unfortunately, anything and everything on the internet leads to a life threatening disease. We know this very well, but human nature, we still look for answers on the internet. By now, you have reached the highest level of panic. Next morning, the first thing you do is visit the Vet. The Vet runs some tests and asks you to wait for the results. You are on complete panic mode now and desperately waiting for the results.
The results have arrived. All his blood work, CT scan and Fine Needle Test are normal. They are just fat lumps and NOT CANCER. However, they are still called Tumours. All of the above has happened with me twice. Yes, I just narrated my story to you’ll.
Two years ago, I had discovered 5 lumps on Junior’s body. I was in a state of despair and completely paranoid. I had turned into an over thinking mental woman till the results of his tests came. Fortunately, they were only fat lumps. But, there was this one particular lump which was on Junior’s face and had to be surgically removed. The other 4 lumps are still there and don’t need surgery. The one on the face was big and had spread uptil his inner jaw for which we had to even get some of Junior’s teeth removed. The surgery went very well and Junior was absolutely fine after that.
Last year when Junior got Pancreatitis, we noticed a small growth on his eyelid. The Vet prescribed an ointment and hot compression for that area. The growth went away. But in the past few months, the growth was back and bigger. The Vet prescribed the same procedure and asked me to observe. He suggested that if the lump reduces in size by external treatment, then we will not have to opt for surgery. Unfortunately, nothing like that happened and we decided to get it surgically removed. Before that, we again ran some tests to make sure it was not Cancerous. Again, I was in a state of panic till the results came in. The Vet also recommended taking a second opinion before surgery. I did that. Now, we all were waiting for the test results.
Whoola! Cancer Negative. It’s a stye, but with a tumour growth underneath. The surgery is scheduled and now I am anxiously waiting for the day to arrive and Junior to be pain free. This lump on the eyelid was painful. Junior’s eyes were always watering and scratchy. He would even have puss filled discharge sometimes.
The morning of the surgery, my brother and I arrive at the clinic with Junior and they take him in. After 5 minutes, they bring Junior outside and inform me that they have injected Junior and he might throw up. I have to wait till he falls asleep. In 15 minutes, Junior threw up once and then fell asleep. The doctor comes and asks his helpers to take Junior in the operation theatre. I am informed that it is a 10 minutes procedure and I will be called once it is done. Those 10 minutes turned into an hour and I was losing patience. Finally the doctor came out and told me that the surgery went well and Junior was doing fine. I asked her the reason for the delay. She said that first they thought it was a small tumour and they could easily drain it out. But when they opened it up, it had spread all over his eyelid. Had we not got the surgery done, Junior would have lost his eye.
I was so happy that the surgery went well and Junior was gaining consciousness. We were allowed to take Junior home but with precaution. The doctor explained to me the protocol to follow for some days for faster recovery.
As soon as we reached home, Junior started throwing up. Not once, not twice, but Junior threw up 10 times. I immediately called the Vet and she said it is normal as he is still under the influence of aesthesia. However, if he doesn’t stop vomiting after the effects of anaesthesia have gone, then I should take him to my family Vet for saline. But Junior stopped vomiting. Thank God! Once he gained complete consciousness, he drank water and I fed him semi solid food. He slept the whole day and next day he was very weak. His eye had started oozing and stomach growling. I was informed about this by the vet. These were the after effects of the surgery.
It’s been 5 days today since the surgery. Junior is back to his routine, jumping around, going for walks, playing, etc. He is a little slow and I don’t even push him and his eyelid is sore and recovering. All’s well that ends well. There is one advice I would like to give to all the pet parents. DO NOT BE A GOOGLE DOCTOR. Always take advice from the experts and take Google results with a pinch of salt. Get yours dogs checked immediately if you notice an abnormal growth.
I am exhausted at this moment, but it’s all worth it as far as Junior is fit and fine. After all, we pet parents can cross oceans for them to see them healthy and safe.
I believe many of us have faced this problem in our lives. Sometimes, our dogs are just not interested in what’s in their bowls. I have faced this issue too. Not with Junior, but with Casper. Casper had turned his nose up at his own food, but was always interested in what I was eating. This meant that he wasn’t ill, but had become a picky eater.
Let me tell you how it started and the ways I bid to make him start eating his own food without him throwing a tantrum.
Just like any other Labrador, Casper was a big time foodie. He would eat anything and everything that I would put in his bowl, along with some veggies that I gave him as snacks. He always maintained an ideal weight and was a very active dog. Unfortunately, he fell ill and was diagnosed with Tick Fever where his survival was nearly impossible. But, by the grace of God and expertise of the Vet, Casper not only lived, he thrived. Obviously it wasn’t easy. After some months of his treatment, and when Casper was absolutely normal and healthy, I noticed that he had started withdrawing from his food. Eventually, he stopped eating his kibble completely.
I was scared, because I thought he was relapsing. I spoke to the Vet and briefed him about Casper’s behavior. That’s when I came to know that Casper had turned into a fussy eater. Since this is not a medical problem or an illness, there is no medicine also to it. So I had to find a different way to make him start eating his own food. In the meantime, Casper happily ate Curd Rice and Vegetables. But that was not enough as he was not getting all his nutrients and vitamins which he would get from kibble. Being a vegetarian myself, I was hesitant to introduce him to meats and fish, even eggs. I would have done that eventually, had Casper not started eating the dog food. But that was Plan B. I was reflecting on a way to make Plan A work, i.e. make him eat his kibble happily.
Dogs are not picky. It’s an acquired trait. My biggest challenge was to find the core of his new behavior. Which I found! He had become finicky about his food because when he was recovering from Tick Fever, I had fed him chicken soups, eggs, curd, sugarcane juice, etc. Basically, he was off dog food for some time and he was relishing on the other stuff. Now, you must be thinking why sugarcane juice. It has so much sugar and sugar is poison for dogs. In India, if anyone has jaundice, we give them a lot of sugarcane juice. According to traditional Ayurveda, sugarcane juice is a boon to strengthen your liver and a proven remedy for jaundice. The antioxidants in sugarcane juice protect the liver against infection and maintain the bilirubin levels in control.
Alright, since I was aware of Casper’s core issue, my next step was to slowly make him like his kibble. Please remember, it’s not magic. It took time for him to get back to his schedule. So be consistent and patient. Do not scold your dog or scream at them. There will be a time of frustration, but that won’t solve anything.
I bought home a few samples of dog food from the vet and introduced them one by one to Casper. Some of them Casper sniffed and left, and some Casper ate a bite or two and left. So I discarded the ones which didn’t eat and narrowed down to one food brand which Casper ate the most. Now I had to work around only one food brand.
My next step was to make Casper eat more and more of it daily. I knew he wouldn’t start eating it at once, so I activated a little of my acting skills to make him eat atleast a handful of it. At the same time, I also reduced his intake of Curd Rice and Veggies. There were times when Casper skipped him meals completely. That’s ok for a dog skip a meal or two, since he didn’t have any medical issues at that time.
I stopped filling Casper’s bowl in front of him. I never hand-fed him or even bribed him. I would keep his food and if he didn’t eat till half n hour, I would take it and discard it. I would go in the kitchen, fill his bowl and then bring it outside to his eating place, so that he is not pre annoyed by the smell of the food and he gets to smell it only at the time of eating. Most of the times, he would eat a little and then leave it. So as I said I activated my acting skills, I would tell him that I am going out and start walking towards the door. Casper would immediately go to his bowl and complete his food. Different techniques work for different dogs. Since Casper always wanted me around, he ate his food thinking I would leave. But I couldn’t do this forever, right!
Then, I bought wet food of the same brand and started mixing it little with his dry food. That’s when I had to stop acting and Casper started finishing his bowl on his own. And eventually, after reducing the wet food gradually, one day came, when Casper for the first time in weeks ate his dry food completely on his own. And, that was the first time I rewarded him for completing his meal on his own. But always keep a check on them, as they may tend to get back to being picky again.
In all this process, under no circumstances fall weak and give them anything that they want like human food or table scraps. This will delay their process of getting back on schedule. Also, there can be various reasons why dogs suddenly become picky. They could be ill, or have some kind of anxiety, or maybe in pain, etc. So, rule out the medical causes first. There are also myths that fussy eaters cannot be fixed or changing the food often leads to fussy eating or they get bored of kibble after some times. These are nothing but MYTHS.
Like all responsible parents, we want our pets the always remain healthy and safe. And anything can be achieved with consistency, patience and lots of love.