Wednesday, July 20, 2016

We Need To Work Together And Network

I received an email from a sweet human the other day. She had a couple of questions about feeding her newly adopted pup fresh produce, food allergies and what foods are safe and those that aren't. Eventually, she wanted to convert to all homemade meals and treats and ditch the store bought. I wrote back in length about our experience, what we feed our kids, reference links, and I told her to talk to her veterinarian before she made any major dietary changes. That's always included in my replies.

I am not an animal doctor. I'm not a vet tech.

She was exceptionally grateful and went on to tell me that she had reached out to a couple of other people for information and tips and advice. However, their replies were vague. Not helpful in the least bit. And she got the impression they felt she should have "researched this before adopting a pup."

What is wrong with people?

Since when did we become a society where asking for advice and information and the quest for knowledge was a taboo? When did we start passing judgement when people reached out for the above? When people reach out to me with questions and such, I'm thrilled to share what I know, my experiences, and to share articles and reference links. I've never viewed a question as stupid or made someone feel as if they were inconveniencing me.

You. Just. Don't. Do. That.

In my years of being a Dog Mom, I've asked questions. I've searched online for information and advice. Does that make me a bad Dog Mom? No. Not at all. It makes me a great Dog Mom because keeping informed and knowing the facts has made me more aware. That awareness has shaped who I am as a Dog Mom and our kids benefit from that.

I've reached out many, many times with questions. When we adopted Coco and he wouldn't eat store bought food, we contacted his doctor numerous times. Help! What could we do? She was there every step of the way with information and printouts from canine nutritionists. Not once did she make us feel bad for reaching out.

When we brought our sweet Sophie home, she had a tummy issue that took us by surprise. We reached out to the wonderful ACO who had taken care of her for the past year and a half. She put us in touch with Sophie's old doctor. They contacted her new doctor. She was prescribed a medicine that took care of the issue. After much research and advice from the professionals, we switched her diet to all homemade meals and treats. Guess what? She hasn't had a single tummy issue since.

And Lobo? We had a network of support for him from the ACO who rescued him all the way to the doctor and staff at the hospital where his hind leg was removed. I attribute his quick and remarkable recovery to that network of people.

On occasion, I've also reached out to people in the Dog Mom community, most of which I've never met, for suggestions and advice. A few months ago, I messaged a woman about Bully Sticks. I had a few questions and she was more than happy to answer all and than some.

Yes, there are many things to consider before getting a dog, however, asking questions along the way before, during and after doesn't make you a "bad" pet parent. If a parent of a human child were to reach out to you with questions about which disposable diaper to use or the pros and cons of homemade baby food, would you reply with, "You should have thought about that before having a baby?"

Probably not. 

To those who can't be bothered to take the time or feel the need to judge when people reach out with questions and need a little help, get over yourself. Step down from that high horse. People reach out to you because they see what you've done and what you're doing. They trust and respect you enough to reach out for help. It won't kill you to take five or ten minutes to help someone out in the pet parent community.

Trust me, it won't. 

We need to stop judging and putting up walls. We need to stop looking down on those who need help and a little direction on where to turn. We need to work together and network. We need to share what we know or the references we have when we're not too sure. We need to open the lines of communication with each other.

This needs to start now.

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