How To Be Your Dog's Hero, While Rescuing Yourself
Below is the research paper I wrote along with my project. It focuses on what I learned through research on moral support regarding canine cancer. I titled it "How To Be Your Dog's Hero, While Rescuing Yourself", because I realized everyone just wants to be a hero in their dogs eyes. You all want to cure the disease making your pet suffer, you want to stop it, but you never stop and help yourself. It may seem selfish to be worrying about your own problems when your dog's health is declining so rapidly, but it's more selfless than anything. Think of it this way: if you cannot even pick yourself up out of bed in the morning because you're afraid of what the day will bring, how can you be of any help for your dog? This report will give a different view on how to be a hero, while still taking care of your important needs. My final grade on the paper was a 95% A.
Be Your Dog’s Hero, While Rescuing Yourself
You hear your veterinarian’s voice echo through your mind, “I'm sorry, but your dog has cancer”. Now, you sit watching your beloved dog lie by the fireplace on his favorite rug. You imagine only seeing the flicker of fire dance across the unruly stitching of carpet, instead of across his fur. The thought is unbearable; you feel your heart sink into your stomach. A helpless feeling overwhelms you, and tears begin to stream from your eyes. Your dog is your entire world, and now he only has a short time to live. You want nothing else but to find a cure, so that you can be your dog’s hero. How can you possibly achieve that nearly impossible task when you are too depressed to even look at him? In this essay, I plan to explain how owners of dogs with cancer can be their dog’s hero while still helping themselves through any emotional distress. Through research, I have learned that owners can be empowered through educating themselves about canine cancer, talking to others is the greatest key to releasing stress, and why owners should be open minded about euthanasia. This relates to my senior project because my final products will be a moral support blog, as well as an inspirational movie on canine cancer.
First, the owners need to do some serious brain training. In order to fight cancer, the owners must know cancer. It is important that the owners understand all concepts related to the specific type of cancer their dog was diagnosed with. This may include: learning what effects the cancer has on the dog, what treatments are available, the estimated cost of those treatments, what payments plans are available to help cover the cost, or anything else the owners are responsible for at home to maintain the highest quality of life for their dog. Having the knowledge of these aspects allows the owners to have “constructive dialog” with their veterinarian, (Malak). Clear communication between the owners and veterinarians is important because all decisions made for the dog are decided between these two people, and the dog's best interest should always be in mind. Education is key in surviving the emotional battle with canine cancer. When the owners discover information about their dog's “disease” they can solve the “mystery” involved with cancer, eliminating a vast amount of the “fear” many owners may feel, (Malak). The more comfortable the owners are with the situation, the more positive their experience can be. If the owners expand their perspective of canine cancer they will soon discover that they are not alone. Things that once seemed so big and overpowering will begin to shrink and become more easy to handle.
Next, the owners must search for their most trustworthy sidekick. Other people who are experiencing canine cancer are often the greatest support systems available. These support systems may include online or local support groups where owners of dogs with cancer can come together to openly talk about their experiences. “Support systems” are recommended by veterinarians to help owners cope with the emotional side effects associated with owning a dog with cancer, (Parkman Vet). Visiting local support groups can not only help owners realize that they are not alone, but also help them discover new ways to fight canine cancer that they may have not even thought about. Needless to say, talking is key in surviving the battle with canine cancer. When asked what owners can do to help them cope with the emotional side effects associated with owning a dog with cancer, Cathy Billock, Animal Science instructor at the Trumbull Career and Technical Center, said “they must talk, talk, talk!” (Billock). It is no longer the owner telling their dog to stand or speak; in order for owners to effectively cope with their emotions, they must stand and speak up for their dog.
Then, the owner must make a final decision. At some point the owners are going to have to ask the question, “should I continue to treat my dog, or should I have it euthanized?” Many owners opt out euthanasia as a choice because they feel it is cruel and inhumane. Cathy Billock says, “Oh yes! I agree that euthanasia is ethical. Why would you let your pet suffer?” (Billock). Owners need to keep an open mind when making decisions for their dog. Often times the owners do not realize the statistics related to the decisions they make, and do not know what effects they can have on their dog in the future. Paula Church, the owner of Rocky, a boxer who was diagnosed with stomach cancer, said, “Rocky’s vet recommended that I euthanize him because the treatments were expensive, and were not guaranteed to help him. He also mentioned that a boxer’s life span is only about twelve years, and Rocky was already nine,” (Church). It is unnecessary for the owners to spend thousands of dollars on treatments that are not guaranteed to help lengthen their dog’s life span; especially when the dog is only expected to live a short amount of time without cancer. In this case, euthanasia is ethical because the owners choosing to euthanize their dogs are shorting the amount of time the dog must go through suffering and pain. Euthanasia means merciful death; this definition gives the owners a sense of peace when choosing to euthanize their pet. It is better for the owner to think that their dog is no longer suffering than to know it is dragging on in pain. The owners should never feel guilty about any decision they make; it is crucial that they realize they did the best they could for their beloved dog.
Owners can be their dog’s hero, but that does not always mean that the owners have to cure their dog. The owners need to keep their dog’s best interest in mind at all times. Of course, the owners need to take care of themselves first, or they will not be able to do the best for their dog. Owners can be their dog’s hero by simply educating themselves, talking to others, and keeping an open mind. When owners understand all concepts of the cancer their dog was diagnosed with they will be able to communicate better with their veterinarian. Talking to others is key in coping with the struggles of owning a cancer dog. The owners should discuss euthanasia with their veterinarian. They should always keep in mind that in most cases euthanasia is the most humane decision a person can make for their dog. It is true that owners of dogs with cancer can be their dog’s hero while still rescuing themselves. It is crucial that the owners put themselves before their dog, but that they keep the dog’s best interest in mind. The months that follow a dog's diagnosis can be the hardest months of an owner's life; but if they do not help themselves, how can they be of any help for their dog?