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Philosophy: Beyond Medicine

September 19, 2009

I believe your decisions regarding your pets’ care are practical, ethical, moral, and spiritual decisions.  Therefore, my advice and approach is unique in veterinary medicine.

I love animals to an obsessed, crazy degree.  But I do not adore, love, or idolize medicine.  Here’s why: (did you guess it already?)  It is imperfect, limited, narrow-minded, and ineffective at helping us live our lives, and make important life-altering decisions.  We need more humanity, more coaching, more reflection and soul-searching than any veterinary hospital or examination room can provide.

Those who practice medicine usually act as if it is way more important than it really is.  Medicine is a tool.  Nothing more or less.  I practice knowing the limits of what medicine is applicable to, and what it is not.  Medicine can tell you which organ system is failing in your beloved older pet, but it cannot tell you how much longer she’s got, and it cannot tell you how your cat feels about having tons of medical treatments.  Sometimes that’s mainly what you want to know.  “How do I apply the information the vet just gave me?”  “What’s the right thing to do?” or even, “How can I help my pet keep living, when the vet says there’s no hope?”  There is so much more to being a health advisor.  Helping you figure out what is best for your pet and your family based upon solid evidence-based medicine, science, experience, and your values is my passion.

I still remember what it’s like to not be a veterinarian.  And if we’re perfectly honest, most veterinarians would admit they feel like regular people – with anxiety and indecision – when it comes to deciding proper diagnostics and courses of treatment for their own pets.  I remember not knowing medical terminology, not feeling like I had any power at all at the doctor’s office, not liking it one bit!  I sympathize with where you’re coming from.  Even if you are a physician, it is totally different when your cat or dog is on the surgery table facing an endotracheal tube.  As an emergency physician once told me, “I can put a guy’s brains back in his skull, but I can’t watch my Beagle get a Rabies shot!”  He’s not crazy; that’s normal!

I feel strongly that the relationship between you and your pet is a sacred soul journey.  I believe you found each other and your journey is tied together.  I believe animals have souls.  I believe your soul journey with your pet is a privilege and a major life purpose.  Your status as a human being imbues you with a unique and awesome responsibility of guiding your pets healthcare and even, if the time comes, deciding to end a painful, dying life.  Not many people feel comfortable with signing on the dotted line to end their pet’s life, yet it is the kindest, most human(e) thing to do in many cases.  Of course, euthanasia is also the most stressful and difficult aspect of a veterinarian’s service to society, and a major reason most people who would otherwise pursue veterinary medicine do not.

Frankly, I created this blog to provide information and perspective on issues I feel impact our pets’ health, to attract people who may appreciate my services as an advisor and counselor regarding their pet’s care, and to spark novel and perhaps off-kilter discussions and solutions in efforts to help our soul journey with our pets be as complete and fulfilling as possible.

“Your decisions regarding your pets’ care are practical, ethical, moral, and spiritual decisions.”

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2010 10:08 pm

    This is beautiful. It choked me up. Thank you for offering this perspective to the blogosphere.


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