How to help others without being a pain in the....
As a vet who promotes a healthy, drug-free life for dogs and people, being active on social media is a part of my job. Putting myself out there enables me to pass on what I have learned over the course of 30 years in practice.
When I post on social media, I often receive comments such as: “I would love to have your life!” or “Pax is a lucky dog!” I agree, I have been very lucky, and do not take having a good life for granted. The only thing is that luck is about 90% hard work.
Until recently, social media comments like these made me feel uneasy. However, lately, my reply to “I would like to have your life.” has been: You can have my life, but you have to start it in a small, polluted, coal-mining town behind the Iron Curtain. I wonder, how many people would like to start their life a few miles away from this:
Here is the short version of the past 30 years:
I was not accepted into vet school the first time around, and didn't take “no" for an answer, and the same happened when I applied for immigration to Canada. I had to learn English, and pass the national board of veterinary licensing exams for the USA and Canada.
I failed the first time, because I simply was not fast enough at reading and completing the test on time. After overcoming all of these hurdles, I worked seven days a week in a mixed animal practice, was on-call for emergencies 24/7, would get up three times a night for emergencies, and had to be ready for a full day of work (including surgeries) the next day.
The following phase included a divorce, then taking out a loan and opening up a holistic vet clinic where I worked 12 hour days. I didn't make much money, because I was stubborn and determined not to sell drugs and kibble (which eliminated a big chunk of income).
After 10 years I was completely burned out and decided make a shift again and follow my heart. I opened an online company and worked at my house-call practice to make some money. When I started my natural product line I made zero profit for 6 long years, almost not making it. It could be compared to a plane getting towards the end of the runway and not having enough speed to take-off. I was very lucky to have a couple of good friends who trusted me and helped with my take-off. I agree, I needed some luck, but there were many points in my life where I could have given up.
Perhaps, you are wondering why am I writing about this? The main reason is to show you that creating a good life greatly depends on how we face adversity, and respond to challenges and rejection.
Applying this to the present
It is hard to see what is going on in the world right now, and it is especially hard to witness so many people going through hardship, losing their jobs, or perhaps even a loved one, due to COVID-19. I personally struggle with seeing so much hardship and often don’t know what the best solution is. Sometimes, the solution is just standing still before the next step becomes clearer.
But as in any crisis, some people can miraculously rise from the ashes. The first step is to learn from them, because they excel in staying focused, creating a routine, being persistent and adjusting their course until they succeed. In other words, they don't take 'NO' for an answer. Life is like learning to play a musical instrument. At first, we struggle, then we are okay, and after much practice we excel.
And if the feeling of “feeling like a failure” creeps in, you are in a good company, because WE ALL feel like that from time to time.
The best way to help others
When we see someone struggle, especially our family and friends, the natural tendency is to want to help. Sometimes it’s financial help, and others it may be giving some time and an ear to listen.
This kind of help can be compared to intravenous fluids for a dehydrated patient. You correct dehydration so the body can heal. However, hydrating a patient will not teach them to find water in a desert which is the key to preventing further dehydration.
When I started my current project, peterdobias.com, I too received “IV fluids” in the form of financial support from friends. We all need temporary support sometimes.
But there comes a point where instead of receiving financial help (aka “IV fluids”), we need to find our way. We have to learn “how to find water.” There is a saying that the best way we can help others succeed is not by giving them fish, but by teaching them how to fish.
I am quite certain that you have people in your life who expect to be given fish, who do not have the right habits to put any effort into learning how to fish. Some appear lazy, but often they just don't know where to start.
It is hard to see our friends hurling towards imminent disaster. For example, if your friend’s dog is not getting the right food, care, or exercise, it is heartbreaking to see them get sick unnecessarily.
When this happens to me, I feel as If I saw someone stepping off of the curb and into the road, about to get hit by a car. I try to pull them back, but they shake me off and bang!…they are hit!
But no matter what, it’s worth trying to help, because many people are willing to accept your helping hand and learn "how to fish" or keep their dog healthy.
The key is not to give them fish (or money) for too long, because they will not learn how to fish.
Key resources regarding dog health
We are happy to help you keep your dog healthy, regardless of whether or not you are a customer and buy our products. All you need to do is to take advantage of the following free resources:
Healthy Dog Tool - The Healthy Dog Tool will recommend supplements and resources specifically suited to your dog's individual health needs.
Healthy Dog Food Recipe Maker - The Recipe Maker will help you build natural raw or cooked meals for your pup that are balanced and healthy.
Raw and Cooked Diet Course - The Raw and Cooked Diet course will teach you everything you need to know about how to feed a natural diet to your pup.
Health & Longevity Course - The Health and Longevity course will provide you with the knowledge you need to keep your dog healthy naturally.
Diarrhea, IBS, and Leaky Gut Course - Everything you need to know about a natural approach to digestive issues in dogs.
Arthritis & Mobility Course - All you need to know to prevent and manage arthritis and mobility issues in your pup.
Free Consults may be coming online
Two years ago, I officially stopped doing my private consultations because I was too busy, but I really miss them. I am thinking about creating a regular podcast, helping dog lovers solve health issues that their dogs suffer from. I will not be able to help everyone who applies, but my hope is that people will be able to learn from the podcasts we create. If you are potentially interested you can submit your application by clicking here.
That is all for today, thank you to those of you who sent Pax birthday wishes. He is an amazing dog and friend, and we feel very lucky he adopted us.