Always so good at giving advice. How about receiving it?

 
Lola Pug Recovered Vestibular Disease Balance.jpg
 

I’m feeling really apprehensive at the moment. We’re coming up to one year since our little Lola suffered severe liver disease and we nearly lost her. It was an awful time. We’ve also been in and out of the emergency vet for the past month for other reasons that have kept Owen and I on edge.

I’ve managed to keep myself together for the past few weeks, knowing I need to be strong for her. But this last emergency visit, last Saturday morning at 5.00am, was the final straw. I broke down. I couldn’t stop crying. Devastated by the awfulness this little girl is going through. I can’t stand seeing animals unwell. It breaks my heart to see something so precious, so vulnerable unwell and at our mercy to help them.

As we waited for the vet to return with some medications (Lola was given anti-nausea medication for chemotherapy patients!) I stood in the consultation room sobbing. I was desperate for Lola to feel better. It’s been awful knowing she’s had such a terrible life being neglected and abused, bred for her puppies before being palmed off because she was no longer valuable to the breeder (re-think where you get your animals from people). My dream for her is to have a happy, healthy rest of her life, putting that trauma behind her. And so seeing little miss still unwell was so upsetting.

As I sat with tears in my eyes and a feeling of being completely hopeless, Owen said to me – “Jessica, remember to breathe.” He was using my words to remind me of my own teachings. And he was right. I needed to slow down and breathe. As I did this, the thoughts began to slow, the panic became less and my mind became more rational, logical.

This got me thinking. Yoga is not going to fix everything. It is not a band-aid solution for the troubles we have in our lives, nor will it mean we no longer have a care in the world. Not at all. Rather, yoga is a tool to help us get through these difficult times. To be more present in every moment of every day – whether that be a ‘good’ day or a ‘bad’ day. Yoga can help us to pull through when we need that extra bit of support. In short – yoga wont stop the experience or event from happening, but it will change how we deal with that experience or event.  

Thinking back to the very first time I sat in the emergency room as Lola was rushed into the hospital, I sat staring at the photo of these four flamingoes up on the wall. A black and white image of these elegant birds all perfectly aligned. My breath was out of control. I was on the verge of hyperventilating because I was that scared and upset, until I remembered. Breathe. Whilst the tears still streamed down my face, with my breath under control my heart began to slow, my thoughts became clearer and I was able to calm down. The situation hadn’t changed, but I was dealing with it better. What happened next was out of my hands. I just needed to be strong for her and accept that what will be will be. To be patient and wait, and do my very best not to fall into the darkest corners of my mind – where I naturally wanted to go.

Pain will always exist. It is a fact of life which is why we can appreciate beauty and the special moments so much more. We waste so much time worrying about the things we cannot control. The petty things that, at the end of the day mean nothing.

Yoga taught me to let go of the petty stuff. To cultivate love, kindness and gratitude. Why? Because this is all that matters at the end of the day. Stress, worry and anxiety is only life taking. I use to take my life for granted but yoga changed that. It taught me to see the world as it is. To appreciate every little detail – the good and the bad. Whilst seeing little miss unwell is awful, it is a reminder to appreciate every moment we get to spend together. Every little snort she does, the snuggles at night, the walks at the park, taking her to the toilet in the middle of the freezing cold night. This is all special. Why? Because she is alive and healing, and what more could we ask for.


 
Lola can't rest when she is unwell, but she also stumbles around like she is drunk. We think it's Vestibular Disease but doctors are not certain. She needs to be crated to force her to rest. Notice the head tilt.

Lola can't rest when she is unwell, but she also stumbles around like she is drunk. We think it's Vestibular Disease but doctors are not certain. She needs to be crated to force her to rest. Notice the head tilt.

 
 
Trying to feed Lola some boiled chicken. She's dropped 1kg since falling ill.

Trying to feed Lola some boiled chicken. She's dropped 1kg since falling ill.

 
 
A recovering Lola. After days of no sleep, nausea and gastro she is finally resting.

A recovering Lola. After days of no sleep, nausea and gastro she is finally resting.

 

Be responsible. It's not that hard.

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga_Lola Eye Operation_28 Nov 2017 (1)
 

I’m having one of those really angry and disappointed at humanity days. I try not to have them too often, and generally always look for the good in people, but today has gotten the best of me.

As I write this post my little girl, Lola, a rescue pug, is undergoing yet another operation to try and improve her eyesight. Whilst this is a good thing, and we are praying for a good outcome, I just feel so angry that she has to go through this awfulness. That she has spent her life in pain because she was failed repeatedly by humans. Lola’s vision loss was avoidable. Had she been cared for the way she, and every other animal on the planet deserves to be cared for, this would not of happened. But instead, Lola has been used up as a puppy mill dog until ditched to the kerb because her breeding days we over. She has since been palmed off from person to person – none of whom actually cared enough to notice she was suffering.

I get so frustrated when people look at Lola and comment on how cute she is, that they too want a pug, a puppy, a rescue etc. I think to myself – is an animal just a toy to you? A toy until it suddenly has needs and then it becomes a burden, left to fend for itself? Do you have any idea how much care animals need? From basic care such as good food, clean water and affection, to exercising and vet bills? I read a study recently that said the average dog costs about $25K in their lifetime and I think – do you have this money to put towards your dog? Little Lola has cost us almost half this in just nine months – but we were prepared to take on the health costs if it meant helping Lola to have a happier and healthier future. This is a lot of money! Money we certainly didn’t plan on spending, or have for that matter, but the reality is, as responsible dog owners, we were prepared to find the money because she is our responsibility. And we will do whatever it takes to help her (or any animal).

Having spent a lot of time with vets these past few months, the collective agreement has been that no person should own a pet if they cannot adequately care for it. Vets have shared horror stories with me, stories that keep me awake at night wondering how people can be so downright thoughtless, careless and detached. Stories that are rarely shared in public because, lets face it, who wants to own up that they’re a terrible pet owner?

Many pet owners seem to have this mentality of – out of sight, out of mind. But whilst this type of person is trying to alleviate their own guilt for having harmed an animal (if they are in any way empathic and not a complete sociopath), the animal is quietly suffering and possibly dying.

People get sucked in by the cuteness of a baby animal that they see in the window of a pet shop (these pups are almost guaranteed to be from puppy mills), then make unintelligent, rash decisions to have a pet. Then all too quickly they lose interest. But don’t worry - the human wont suffer with this loss of interest. But the animal sure as hell will.

So as I sit here anxiously, hoping Lola is OK as they operate on her fragile, damaged eyes, praying she makes it through (recent liver failure makes this a more precarious operation), I’m hoping that this post will hit home for a few people who care to read it and be honest about their intentions for getting / planning to get a pet. It is too late in Lola’s case, and all we can do now is pick up the pieces. But it is not too late for people to make smarter decisions about where their pets come from (puppy mill? registered breeder aka puppy mills? pet shops aka puppy mill supporters? Rescue organization?), if that pet is absolutely right for them and their living situation, and if they’re in this for the long haul.

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga_Lola Eye Operation_28 Nov 2017 (2)
 

Animals should never be a spare of the moment decision. Bringing an animal into our lives should be well thought out, ensuring owners can dedicate the time, energy and money this pet will need over its lifetime.

Ok – enough of a rant from me. I just feel so sad that little Lola is going through this awful procedure which should never have needed to happen if she’d had the right thing done by her in the first place.

Sending prayers to Lola and all the other animals who just need love and kindness.

Love, Jessica xx

P.S. I'll keep you all posted with how Lola goes.