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What is "The stubborn donkey syndrome"?

What is "The stubborn donkey syndrome"?

A weird phenomenon that can cause serious problems

If you are wondering what stubborn donkey syndrome is, I promise I will tell you, but first I would like to share a few things and three stories with you.

I have reached the end of my trip to Europe, the UK, the Czech Republic and Germany. One of the goals of the trip was to take another step in launching a European warehouse, which will allow our overseas dog lovers to get their products without the exorbitant customs fees. 

Second, travel usually allows me to reset and get out of the routine, which usually results in what I jokingly call an idea diarrhea. It seems that whenever I change the setting, my brain capacity seems to be cleared and new ideas come hurling in. While I was away, I wrote several articles, one on the 10 reasons why turmeric is good for dogs and the other one on one of the most damaging treatments in dogs.

My intention today is to talk about a problem that is not really a disease, but still seriously damages the health of millions of dogs around the world. But, before I get to dogs I want to tell you three short stories. Two about my friends and one about a dog

The first story 

This story is about a friend and his wife. Let's call them Betty and Dieter.

I knew Betty for a long time before she married Dieter and she is great friend and fun to be around, except that she is also a big complainer. For more than a decade, Betty complained about her hay fever and allergies. As a cured former hay fever sufferer, I took every opportunity to nudge my friend to what works super well - diet change, no dairy, no gluten and to go through a detox. 

Every time I started, it seemed as hopeless as trying to get over the Berlin Wall in the Cold War era. Fast forward to present, to my visit with Betty on this trip. She looked great, felt amazing and had no allergies in the middle of the pollen season!

What happened was that Betty found an herbalist who told her to guess what - change her diet, eat no dairy, no gluten and go through a detox.

We had a laugh and then Betty said: "I had to learn this all myself..."

The second story 

The next story is about a dog, let's call her Maggie. Maggie's people and I have been friends for a long time. In fact, Maggie and my previous dog, Skai, had been great friends for years. When they were little, Maggie's "parents" often complained that her coat was not as nice as Skai's and I also saw that her bone and muscle development was less than ideal. 

For several years, I tried to convince my friends to take her off kibble, put her on raw meat, vegetables and raw bones, but failed terribly. I was just about to give up completely when my friend victoriously announced: "Guess, what, I am switching Maggie to raw food, the lady that works in the magazine store said it was good!"

We both laughed. My degree and twenty years of veterinary practice weren’t enough until the magazine lady tipped the scale!

The third story

This last story is about Dieter, who you know from Betty's story. Dieter is a very successful self-made businessman. He is smart, charming and focused. A few years ago, he started getting eczema around his eyes. Doctors have been prescribing him harmful corticosteroid creams that stopped working. I proposed Skin Spray and surprisingly it relieved the symptoms. At the same time, I knew a topical spray for a skin problem is more of a band-aid than a cure. Skin problems or skin allergies are usually a sign of poor diet, diet deficiencies and nutrient imbalance and toxicity. In fact, skin is an expression of multiple factors involving the skull and spine alignment, hormonal issues and the list could go on.

However, my goal is not a lecture in dermatology. Instead, I'll let you guess what happened next.

I suggested Dieter see a human homeopath who is brilliant and could help. He booked an appointment, then he canceled it and never booked it again.

Instead, I see him, sitting every morning and evening with two round cotton pads stuck to the skin around the eyes, looking like the sequel to E.T.  His time is yet to come.

There are hundreds and thousands and millions of such stories around the world. It seems that the human species has a natural tendency to learn the hard way. Many people have the undying teenage spirit of resisting or going the other way however well meant, gentle and diplomatic the advice is.

Many people from our community tell me about their trials when trying to help their friends or family’s dogs. Kibble, vaccines, drugs and steroids often cause serious damage and when potentially life-extending or even life-saving info comes, many people act like stubborn donkeys.

I too used to be much more strong-headed than I am now. I have been very lucky because seeing how often people refuse good advice made me be aware of stubbornness and keep it at bay.

This is not to say that I do not choose what I trust and what I don’t, but if the person has experience and expertise in a particular area, I make sure to make a note and check it out. 

There is this funny joke circulating the Internet. A man is in the middle of a severe flood. He is floating down the wild river, someone offers him a life vest, a boat and helicopter tries to pick him up, but every time he refuses, saying the same thing - that God was going to save him.

When he drowned and God welcomed him at the gate, he asked God, why he didn't save him. Good replied: "Are you kidding me, I sent you a life vest, a boat and a helicopter, but you refused every time!"

I guess these stories are a lesson for all of us. If you care about a dog or a person, trying to help is not a waste of time. Some people and dog lovers may be ready to hear you and your advice will make a huge difference in their lives. 

However, if you run into the "Berlin wall" of stubbornness and resistance, do not see it as your failure. Even the fall of the iron curtain had to happen at the right, ripe time.

What you can do for certain is to be aware of your tendencies. Do you accept advice or do you often learn the hard way? 

The key to your dog's health is your open mind and continuous learning from those you trust. Oh, one more thing! Make sure that you beware of the stubborn donkey syndrome.

© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

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