You love your animals. They are not merely pets; they are members of your family. They are your friends, your teachers. Their presence enriches your life in countless ways.

When they are ill or stressed or acting out in ways that are confusing or disruptive, you quickly look for solutions. But sometimes the conventional solutions just don’t seem to work.

  • One of your cats is still not using the litter box, and you can’t figure out who it is or why this is happening. You’ve tried changing the litter; you’ve even added an additional litter box, but the problem persists.
  • Your elder dog with hip problems isn’t getting any better, and you’ve heard that the drugs he’s been on for some time can cause kidney damage. You may have tried massage or hydrotherapy, but the relief he experiences is only temporary.
  • Your horse has been on-and-off lame for six months. He’s been X-rayed and nerved. You’ve tried chiropractic and massage, which help for awhile, but the lameness always returns.
  • Your elder cat cries every time she eats. This has been going on for months. The medication doesn’t seem to be helping.
  • Your young dog seems to have separation anxiety. He howls every time you leave the house. You’ve bought him toys and more toys; you’ve hired a dog walker, but he still acts as though his heart is being ripped out every time you leave the house.
  • Your new horse is resisting training. He is grouchy and rude under saddle. He cannot pick up a left-lead canter and travels with his head cocked to the right. You’ve tried chiropractic and massage, but his demeanor has not changed. You are thinking that perhaps this is not the horse for you.
  • Your beloved animal companion is dying. There is nothing more to be done. You do not know if you should allow your animal to pass on his or her own, of if you should assist.

Understandably, you are frustrated, worried, and probably a bit fearful. You aren’t sure if a solution to your problem even exists. You don’t know where to look for help or who to trust. You’re afraid of making the wrong choice, of making the situation worse, of running out of money, of being sold a bill of goods.

Why the Standard Solutions May Not Have Worked

While traditional interventions are often crucial (such as for infections, life-threatening illness, and broken bones), they often only address a portion of your animal’s problem.

For example:

  • Post-surgical pain medication can be a blessing, but it can also have serious, debilitating side effects. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a way to reduce the need for these drugs while not sacrificing your animal’s comfort and, at the same time, accelerating recovery?
  • Powerful drugs also exist for the hip pain that many large dogs suffer from in their elder years. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a way to reduce the need for these drugs while helping your dog move with better balance and ease?
  • Rubbing tired, stressed, stiff muscles can create immense relief. But if the muscles stiffen up again in a matter of days or weeks, clearly the underlying problem hasn’t been addressed. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a way to address these underlying problems in a way that creates lasting relief and improved mobility for your animal companion?
  • Powerful antidepressants, with dangerous side effects, are now being prescribed for dogs and cats; perhaps this quasi-solution will soon be applied to horses as well. But drug-free solutions exist to solve the mental and emotional challenges your animal companions may be experiencing: a rescued dog who came from an abusive environment; a cat acting out by urinating on your possessions; a withdrawn horse who cannot seem to enjoy life.

Consider this: To truly solve a problem, it is necessary to address its underlying cause.

Something to Consider

Being caught on a treatment merry-go-round feels awful. Administering drugs you would rather not use long-term can cause frustration, guilt, and sadness.

Going from practitioner to practitioner in search of a cure or sticking with one practitioner or approach–even though you’re not seeing improvement or feeling valued as a caregiver–can trigger negative emotions as well.

To receive the results you long for—relief and peace for your animal companion, relief and peace for yourself and your family—consider stepping back and looking at the larger picture: Give yourself permission to stop the piecemeal approach to healing; give yourself time to assess what has worked and what has not; give yourself space to recognize the relationship between your animal companion’s physical, mental, and emotional challenges.

You know your animal companion better than anyone else does. Listen to the opinions and guidance of professionals you are drawn to—practitioners who listen to your animal and who listen to you. Do your best to keep an open mind; be willing to consider options you may not have considered before.

Then make decisions with your heart as well as your informed mind.

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