Man’s best friend has received much praise, and here is more to come, prompted by witnessing our dog’s reaction to a recent traumatic injury. Our dog, avid ball catcher and squirrel chaser, managed to jam a two inch piece of wood between two of her front paw toes. Nothing was noticed at the time of injury (she behaved normally), and not until the next day when her paw started to swell and she did not want to get up. Thinking she must have sprained her foot, we made an appointment for the vet two days in advance. The next morning the foot started bleeding and we drove to the vet right away. An hour later, the above object was discovered and removed from her paw. She has been recovering and resting since.
I cannot imagine the extent of her pain, but more so what it must take to suffer it silently. There she was, a foreign object the length and width of my pinky finger driven into her flesh, but she silently endured. She remained her sweet old self, wagging her tail when I approached and grateful for the food and water I offered. What do I take from this for us human beings?
1. Pain, grace and sweetness are not incompatible.
2. Silent suffering prolongs suffering.
3. Silent suffering can be hazardous to health, and even fatal.
4. Belonging (to a caring family, community, group) is protective and health promoting.
The vet said it was a good thing we brought our dog in when we did. I agree and am grateful for the help when we needed it. I know our dog is too.
If you are in pain, don’t carry your cross alone. Look for helpers. This is not a sign of failure or weakness but an expression of our interconnectedness as human beings. We are socially wired to create community and to turn to community in times of struggle. Reach out to people who can support and uplift you so that you may, in time and in your own way, support and uplift others.