Asheville’s natural veterinarian Dr. Laurel Davis offers the blog of a holistic vet and “animal interpreter,” Stories from a Holistic Vet. With a clinic in downtown Asheville, NC. Dr. Laurel also offers animal health, lifestyle and vaccination advice for cats, dogs and their human friends across the country.
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Making Time to Connect with your Dog
This post was first published back in February of 2013.
A lot has changed since then, not least that sweet Grace is no longer with us. We think the message, to take the time to connect with your dog and the other loved ones in your life, is so important it bears repeating.
My partner slips out of bed to start the preparation of his favorite breakfast. Eggs (over easy, thank you), grits (always organic…GMO free!), toast (it’ll have to be gluten-free for me) and coffee (mine will be green tea). Mmm…even though I’m not a coffee drinker, I adore the smell of freshly brewing coffee.
It’s my “morning off” from Sunvet, my holistic vet practice. Of course, I still have at least ten items on my to-do list. I am lying under the covers, listening to cooking sounds and my daughter’s beeping alarm clock (which has been chirping for twenty minutes – oi!). All of a sudden, two little brown eyes peep over the edge of the bed. Grace (aka Amazing Grace, Grace Almighty, or simply G), our scruffy Lhasa Apso, is checking the mattress for a non-pillow, non-cat landing spot.
She knows that if she can corner me in bed, we will have an uninterrupted snuggle, massage and shared-secrets girl time. If she catches me before my feet touch the floor and my mind starts its well-intentioned chatter, I will be totally hers.
As I snuggle with Grace, I recall checking in with a patient a few months ago. “I want Sheila to spend fifteen minutes a day with just me,” Gordon, a robust and very solid Rottweiler, states during our session. In some of my sessions, I not only do a routine check up, but the client requests that I also provide some “animal interpretation.” In other words, I help them to understand the feelings, advice, and needs of their dog or cat, in the animal’s own “words.”
Back to Gordon, our Rottweiler friend. He felt that his human, Sheila, didn’t stop the flurry of her day long enough to have a heart-to-heart with him. The truth is that studies have shown that when you connect with your dog; when dogs are in physical contact with their owners, their brains release the ‘pleasure chemical’ dopamine in exactly the same way ours do when we feel happy and relaxed. Finding those moments is a win-win situation!
The to-do list can wait, the to-do list will always be there. When your Gordon or Grace nudges your arm as you are reading your emails, watching TV or just plain ‘getting stuff done,’ take a deep breath, get out of your auto-pilot mode and choose to spend some time in relationship mode with your canine love muffin. When you make the time to pause the business of life and connect with your dog, both of you will experience the joy!
Dr. Laurel Davis is Asheville natural veterinarian offering phone and Skype consultations for animal lovers everywhere. Call 828-254-2221 or order an Ask Dr. Laurel™ phone or Skype session or bring your dog or cat to her downtown Asheville, NC clinic. Read more patient stories.
Get to know Dr. Laurel by reading her blog.