There’s been a bit of talk recently about the movie “A Dog’s Purpose”. Suffice to say, we feel a dog’s purpose is many things and one of those things is to show us how to love unconditionally. And yet, when we get a diagnosis of sorts, we can lose sight of what our purpose is during this process, because we can easily feel discouraged.
If we look at the word discouraged we can see that what it suggests is that our courage has been taken away – without courage, but for pet parents who are taking care of a sick, old or dying animal – we have found it is indeed the opposite. We have never met a family that is not infused with courage during this difficult time, demonstrating all kinds of loving, compassionate and deeply caring acts for their beloved family companions.
We have seen families bond together into the deeper meaning of family and create unforgettable memories. Some have even taken hold of their dog’s bucket list and gone on a trip, taken them to places never before visited, had a pet photography session, a reading with a pet psychic, a portrait painted, a t-shirt printed, a piece of memorial jewelry created, stories written – even a book or two. And what all of these have in common is love. We love our animals don’t we?
Courage in the face of what seems like disaster or translated “what we never expected” becomes a choice. We can face a diagnosis with dignity and with boldness. We can go beyond the normal conventional reactions to bad news and reach beyond it into our creativity, our individual expressions of life and our deeply bonded relationships with our four-legged kids and see how we can color the remainder of their lives. We can stay in between the lines or we can color with mad passion outside them, leaving a legacy behind that allows us go back out into the world with few regrets, memories to keep us warm at night when we are missing them and the possibility of one day walking into a shelter one more time saying, “Yes, I’m here to adopt that one.”
So if you have received a diagnosis of any kind and need support, reach out right away, even if you don’t know what it is you need. There are people ready to guide and support you and your family every step of the way. It’s what they’re good at, it’s what they love and it’s what they know makes a difference.
So maybe the purpose of a diagnosis is to bring people together, to tighten bonds, to see what we are made of and how courageous we truly are.