During this week of Thanksgiving, I’m reflecting on the many things I’m thankful for and that includes all of you. I am thankful for dogs, and their people, who care so deeply about them and want so desperately to help their dogs live a better life.
I’m incredibly thankful that we still have BooBoo with us. She’s been even more of a joy in our lives, especially after losing Barbo in August. We’ve been walking daily, going on adventures and she’s all in for it! It fills my heart so much to see her so happy, trotting along, tail up, enjoying life as an only child. (We already had Barbo when we adopted Boo, so she’s never not lived with another dog, until he passed away.)
I’m thankful for all the incredible opportunities I’ve had to work with dogs, to continue to grow my knowledge, education and practice and build this business that allows me to be part of the journey of so many, changing lives along the way.
And last month I completed another important continuing education course, Canine Arthritis Management, Level 1 and am now a CAMAdvocate. As I’ve talked about before, dog training is unregulated so continuing education and keeping up on the changing science and research about animal learning and related topics is one of my top priorities. This course brings me to 213 continuing education credits.
I’m excited for this additional education and how I can apply my new knowledge to further help clients. It is well established that pain and anxiety or behavior issues are well connected and I’ve had numerous clients where pain, GI upset, allergies, anal gland issues or other undiagnosed things were at play. Now having tools to share with clients and being able to help them navigate what to communicate to their vet, will be so helpful in working these cases. And helpful for my own BooBoo, who has lived with hip dysplasia her whole life. At 14 she’s doing amazingly but having this new knowledge is so helpful for me to be aware of.
And one of the biggest takeaways from this course for me was that arthritis is not just a disease of old dogs.
This stat and statement blew my mind.
80% of dogs over the age of 8 years have arthritis but 35% of dogs over the age of 1 year.
Osteoarthritis is one of the leading causes of elective euthanasia.
There are things that can be done from an early age to help mitigate pain and joint deterioration later on. There are SO many things I wish I knew 10 years ago. But now I do, and I can apply this new knowledge moving forward. And for that, I’m thankful.
But I’m human, and it’s not all rainbows and cookies. Losing Barbo this year was hard. And all these new firsts are hard. Last year during this time, Barbo was recovering from his cancer surgery and leading up to it we weren’t sure if he would survive. Before his surgery, we scheduled a mini photoshoot, just in case. I was incredibly thankful to Jen Lynne Photography for getting us on her schedule so quickly. I love BooBoo checking out Barbo. This is one of my fav pics.
But, truthfully, I miss him a lot. His Gotcha Day was just a few weeks ago, and the holidays will be emotional for me. These firsts are not ones I’m enjoying. Of course I’m thankful we had as much time with him as we did and that surgery gave us almost another year with him. But, as any dog lover knows, no matter how long you have with them, it’s never long enough.
Many of my clients that struggle with difficult issues and while they might sometimes wish their dog was “normal,” or “easier,” they all love their dogs. And they’re thankful for small wins. They understand fear isn’t easily modified and they celebrate the baby step wins along the way.
So this Thanksgiving, I encourage you to be thankful for the time you have with your dogs or the time you were lucky enough to have had. Bask in the good times and fond memories, even if they’re gone. Laugh at the things that annoy you like barking, chewing, digging, peeing, shedding, rolling in stinky stuff, begging for your food, growling, chasing squirrels…all things that mean your dog is being a normal dog, because one day, they’ll be gone and you will miss them. Be thankful and I think you and your dog will both be happier,
As always, if you need help, you can schedule your session here!