Skip to content
Previous article
Now Reading:
Do superheroes really exist?

Do superheroes really exist?

What I have learned from Michael Phelps

Do you like listening? I love listening! Listening to you and what you have to say, having one-on-one conversations with my friends and team members, and also listening to audiobooks and podcasts to learn about what interesting people and game-changers have to say. 

The other day, I came across an interview with Olympian Michael Phelps on The Tim Ferris Show. I love this podcast because it is about people who have either achieved, in one way or another, seemingly unachievable goals, or who have significantly contributed to the greater good in the world.

As you may be aware, Michael Phelps, a.k.a. ‘Aquaman’, a.k.a. ‘Superhuman’, has raced in four Olympic Games between 2004 and 2016, has broken 39 world records, and won 23 Olympic gold medals! For most people, he is a hero. 

Swimmer Michael Phelps celebrates a win

Photo by: Bryan Allison // Photo terms of use.

It is easy to jump to the conclusion after achieving such incredible goals and heights of success, that managing and navigating ordinary daily life should be easy for a person like Michael, but that is not true. 

Over the years, Michael has openly talked about his battle with depression both during his competitive years, and after he stopped swimming. He bravely confessed that he was suicidal at times, despite being one of the most admired  people in the world.

His courage in sharing his struggles publicly has helped other people feel like they aren’t alone with their life challenges. He played an essential role in starting an important conversation about addressing the epidemic of mental health problems in our society. In a way, he has helped others come to terms with struggles that in one form or another are a part of everyone’s life, especially now.

Why is this important now? 

Before the COVID crisis, for most of us life was much easier. We could talk to friends in person, go for coffee, dinner, attend a gathering, go to group fitness or a yoga class, and everything would feel better. Unfortunately, the 2020 “curveball” of COVID made everything different.

When our species “was born” we lived in social groups and tribes similar to those of apes 🐒🐒🐒.  A very clear support structure was in place. As time progressed, tribes started to lose their importance and the rise of fast modes of transportation led to people moving from place to place. This has left many peoples' families scattered around the country, or the world. 

Losing these tightly knit family and community structures has had a negative effect on peoples' quality of life.  For many people the only regular social interaction they have is with their dogs. They are also our heroes.

Could there be better ways to deal with the current crisis?

Here are some examples highlighting how elected officials often do not consider the full picture.   Their decisions often negatively affect peoples' mental health.

Example 1:  

The Canadian government seems to have taken a hard-line with regards to border and travel restrictions.  They have done this despite the fact that over 98% of coronavirus transmission occur within the community and are not due to international travel.

The Prime Minister publicly announced that citizens need to be tested before coming back to Canada, then again on arrival, then be locked up in a government selected hotel with the price tag of $2000 and then complete 14 days of quarantine in isolation at home without the ability to get outside, exercise, get fresh air or walk your dog!  

If this doesn't sound like complete BS, I don't know what does!

Why are two negative tests not enough and why do people not speak up against rules that make zero sense.

Example 2:

I have a friend who lives in Australia with her family. She has a terminally ill mother living abroad. She isn't able to go visit her because she is unable to secure one of the limited number of quarantine spots for her trip home. She can't risk being separated from her children for a long period of time if she isn't able to come back home.

Perhaps some of you may think I should not be writing about this, but if we do not talk about these serious issues that have been coming up, nothing is going to change. It is as if our elected officials have completely lost their minds, and are making decisions based on what is politically popular as opposed to basing them on what makes medical sense.


Freedom to move is our  constitutional right. They can't forbid us to move, but they can make it practically impossible, which carries emotional and mental health costs.

Some countries have taken a more sensible approach of testing incoming people and releasing them if they are negative. We now know that the virus mainly spreads in bigger social gatherings and not as much during air travel.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally agree that the coronavirus crisis needs to be solved and lives protected by taking certain precautions, however, it seems that our government has failed to recognize that their decisions have led to destroyed lives due to depression, isolation, financial hardship, business closures, and bankruptcies.

Isolation and mental health issues have also worsened the opioid crisis, which the government doesn’t seem to be nearly as focused on in terms of finding a solution. For example, the numbers of opioid-related deaths have risen by more than 200% in recent years, and not much has been done. Why is there such a glaring discrepancy?

I am writing these lines not to discount concerns about COVID, and I am also aware this is not the most upbeat writing nor it is dog related, but it is important for us to talk about this. After all, peoples' well-being affects our dogs too. 

The best decisions are the sum of all parts

For more than 20 years, I have been a yoga practitioner and learned from my teachers that we are the strongest and most resilient by “bringing everything into the middle”, the center-line of our body.

This approach is also the most reasonable, when it comes to the current crisis. We need to stay in the middle, and not throw the baby out with the bathwater because resorting to extreme measures, will cause unnecessary collateral damage and lost lives too. 

Why do I care about this so much?

Before 1989 when The Iron Curtain fell, I lived in what was then known as Russian-occupied Czechoslovakia. We were told we had to walk the “communist party line” for the sake of the nation, and the greater good. We didn’t have the right to move freely, and the similarity of that to our situation now is frightening all people I know who experienced the regime.

I accept that we should  respect the boundaries of others, but the decisions some governments and officials are making violate our constitutional right to freedom. Totalitarian regimes never happen from one day to another. They creep up on us in the name of greater good  and often nobody notices until it is too late. 


A few final words

I am prepared that some readers may think that I am being irresponsible in suggesting that everyone should be able to make their own personal choices. What I am suggesting is the need for a balance between personal freedom of choice and social responsibility.

I am concerned that many government officials are making arbitrary decision based on political strategy and not medical facts. They don't seem to  consider the long term impact of their decisions on the emotional health and fiscally sustainable future of our society. 

What I am hoping for is a discussion that will lead to a balanced approach to problems, which is what we need when addressing the current crisis. We can't spend all our money and resources on one issue and ignore mental well-being, economic rescue, and climate change, issues that are critically important in the long term.  

Let’s try to stay in the middle, not go to extremes, and continue this important conversation. Thank you for reading and listening.  

Stay healthy, safe, and give your dog a hug for me! 


Dr. Peter Dobias

Dr. Peter Dobias

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.

Most Popular

  • Flying with dogs
    In my article, I share the personal story of how I'm able to fly with my dog, Pax, thanks to overcoming challenges with sleepwalking and night terrors. This unique experience not only allowed me to travel with my service dog but also serves as a reminder that even difficult situations can have positive outcomes.
  • dog and pony
    Successful communication is essential for building healthier and more fulfilling relationships and happier lives. In this article, I'll share with you 8 communication hacks to help you avoid unnecessary drama, prioritize active listening and address conflicts effectively.
  • Dalmatian eating fruit
    Can dogs eat bananas, apples, strawberries and other fruit? What about grapes? Find out what fruits are safe, toxic, and healthy for dogs. Learn about the potential health benefits and risks of feeding fruit to your canine companion, and get tips on the ideal time to feed it.
  • Illustration of the anatomy of a heart
    As dog lovers, we all want our beloved pups to live long and healthy lives. Protecting your dog's heart from potential health issues is important, and in this blog Dr. Dobias shares some key points that you might not yet be aware of, read on to find out what you can do to keep your dog's heart safe. 

Dog Health

  • Husky lying on blanket with heart toy
    Dogs have our hearts and that is why we need to protect their heart. Dog’s as they age often face muscle problems and spinal misalignment and you might be surprised to know how that can hurt their heart. Learn how to protect your dog’s spine and by extension their heart.
  • The secret ingredient for a perfect No. 2
    Dogs and humans have evolved side-by-side but they are still quite different when it comes to their digestive tracts and dietary habits. We have studied their original environments such as the soils of the African savanna and consulted with top experts in the field of probiotics and microbiology to come up with a combination that reflects healthy bacterial flora of canines.
  • Man being pointed at
    Criticism can hurt a brand, but constructive feedback can help it grow. In this blog Dr. Dobias talks about the differences between these approaches, and how to handle the power of influence and opinion with care. 
  • Broccoli with vitamins and minerals
    Are you worried that your and your dog's diet is missing something? Maybe you're worried about toxin levels in food, the environment, or flea and tick products. Let's face it; we can't remove ourselves entirely from our toxin-filled world, but we can do things to reduce our exposure to harmful substances. 

Human health

  • Dr. Dobias with Pax
    How do you navigate the seas of life? How do you deal with disappointment? Whatever life throws at us, we can always rely on our dogs to bring joy into our days. In this blog I share my thoughts on the support our dogs provide during the difficult moments in life. 
  • Why 1 in 4 Americans suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
    Learn more about the alarming prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) affecting 1 in 4 Americans. Discover its main risk factors, diagnosis methods, and treatment options to better manage or prevent this silent yet severe condition. 
  • A new perspective on brain health, memory loss, Alzheimer's Disease, and dementia in people and dogs
    The Science of DHA and the Brain: Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily DHA, are the unsung heroes of brain health. They play crucial roles in brain physiology and biological activities, with exciting links between Omega-3 levels and cognitive function. Higher DHA levels have been shown to preserve the integrity of the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), your brain's security system
  • Dr. Dobias and Pax
    It appears that most of the world is ready for change, but whenever I think about the solutions to any of the problems that plague our world, I can’t prevent myself from thinking that we humans are acting like little toddlers who have broken a toy and do not know how to fix it. Despite my generally optimistic attitude, I have had a hard time staying positive at times because I know how complex this all is. Read here for some tools that make me feel good about the world, which I would like to share with you.

News, stories and good life

  • Dr. Peter Dobias with his dog Pax on his lap
    Do you have trouble staying positive during difficult times? These days we are surrounded by a lot of negative messaging, and it's easy to let that get you down. Here are some of my tips for remaining positive, and don't forget to share your tips with me!
  • Man raising fist on a mountain
    Most of us have been exposed to panic-inducing information about the virus spread, however, I have noticed the general absence of one piece of information, how to make your immune system stronger and body more resilient. (It will definitely not happen by stockpiling toilet paper!) I have always loved immunology and the current situation has prompted me to put together two simple lists on how to increase your dog’s and your own immunity.
  • Man with dog wearing a collar
    Does your dog have ear problems, nasal or oral tumors, reverse sneezing or an  itchy head or hair loss on their head? Learn how you can address some of these problems and save thousands in vet care costs.
  • Terrier eating raw food
    Now there is no need to guess if there is something missing in your dogs diet.  The HairQ Test is a highly accurate test for mineral deficiencies, toxins and heavy metals in dogs to finely tune your dog’s diet and supplement schedule.



Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping