National and international news outlets are brimming with ominous events and atrocities. It’s hard to remain optimistic when we’re overwhelmed with negativity. It’s also far easier to see the bad than the good. While most of us have had a nice holiday season so far, there’s always some stress involved. We can look over the last year and weigh pros and cons. We can look ahead and see problems we know are coming. Taken all together, these things make up a depressing litany.
Let it go.
I see a lot of cases in which a pet is very sick, perhaps due to an accidental event, or inaction by an owner that could have prevented the problem. Sometimes, finances are forcing a miserable decision. The clients inevitably beat themselves up. Guilt is such a potent emotion that it can paralyze a person’s ability to make a decision or to focus on the moment at hand. In moments like that, I step outside my usual pattern and make a flat statement: focusing on guilt isn’t going to do the client, me, or the pet any good. It’s useless to focus on the events that have already happened. No one can change them. What’s needed is a focus on what’s happening right at that moment and what we can do about it. Looking forward, we have to set the goal. Is there something I can do to alleviate pain, or cure, or manage the disease? At the end of the treatment period, will we be in a better spot than we’re in now? We have to focus on what we can change for the better.
As we will all inevitably look back over 2012, there will be good and bad memories. I don’t mean to imply that we ought to ignore hard lessons, or even that there are no valid reasons to feel a moment of regret. I do mean to say that after you reflect, the point is to then turn toward the future. Look ahead, and decide what you can do today, tomorrow, the day after. Look for a path to be in a better place than you’re in now.
It’s arrogant on my part to assume that my general advice will apply to every person and situation. I know it simply can’t. The individual circumstances in the real world are far more complex than a paragraph here can attend. Read it instead as hope. Read it as a resolution for making things better.
My heartfelt thanks go to all of you who have read and contributed to the blog. It’s a tremendous compliment to see that my words here matter to pets and owners. Together we accomplish so much more. I wish you all the very best beginning for 2013, a little luck, and my firm belief that we determine the future.
Be the person your pet believes you are.