Who is Mrs. Kratka and why might she be the answer for curing internet trolls?
This blog contains two parts. The first part is on the topic of health and trolls, and the second part is an editorial piece that I hope will make you feel good about life.
This morning I was packing for a trip to visit my long time friends, who only a couple of months ago helped us in our search for Pax when he was lost for 18 hours in the mountains.
People often ask me what I do about Pax’s food when travelling, and the answer is actually really simple. I take frozen food in the cooler for the first few days, and then after that we either buy meat and produce locally, or feed him packed preserved jars of meat. Personally, I do not like dehydrated food much, as it is difficult to know what it looked like before processing, but when we go hiking and camping we may dehydrate food ourselves to keep our packs light.
For this trip to see our friends, I took a couple of frozen packages of venison meat and ground up some veggies to make prep easier.
Without much thought, I also packed Pax’s Fab4 essentials to take along, and as I was putting the supplement jars into the basket, a recent interaction on Facebook popped into my mind. Someone had slammed my article on preventing and treating diabetes by saying that I wrote it only to “push my products.”
Some people might think that comments like these make me upset, but that is not the case. It actually makes me wonder if they think of me that way because they have not found work they love to do and a sense of purpose in their life. I am also a bit perplexed, because people do not seem to be upset about Dr. Hauschka selling high quality facial care, or Marie Forleo charging a fee for participation in her courses.
People are not upset about Elon Musk making and selling electric cars, while also writing articles and recording videos on the importance of the transition towards electro-mobility. But when I write an article to help people transition from drug-based reactive medicine towards preventive proactive systems, some peoples’ reactions can be quite nasty.
Why is it that people only feel this way about vets?
Perhaps it would be different if I made the products and didn’t use them, but I do use them myself because I honestly believe they are important in creating and maintaining good health.
In my experience, it seems that the trolls who enjoy spending time putting other people’s work down do not have much they are contributing to the world. Have you had the same experience?
I guess all I can really do is to take a deep breath, muster empathy for the negative trolls and move on. The best antidote is for me to continue my work of writing articles and formulating and providing supplements to help keep you healthy and your dog healthy.
Do you have a big fan on the other side?
After 57 years, I have kind of abandoned the idea of chasing happiness and having a so-called “dream life.” I no longer set any destinations or goals, and trust that contentment comes from doing my best to make a difference in as many lives as possible.
I have said it before, many peoples’ unreasonable expectations of happiness have their root in Disney movies of the fairytale lives of princesses and princes who are flawless in every way. They never seem to go to work, do laundry and other chores, or spend sleepless nights looking after colicky kids and changing shitty diapers.
Unlike fairytales, real life is full of strife and challenges for all of the plants, animals, and humans existing on our planet, and expecting challenges not to be a part of life is simply unreasonable.
Challenges, tragedies, mistreatment and human drama, touch everyone’s lives; even those who outwardly appear to be very fortunate will tell you that their lives have not been a walk through the park.
Thank God for our dogs, who are a constant grounding force and have been helping us in so many ways. But there is another important element that many of us have been supported by people outside of our families who love us and support us, when life is tough.
Today, I would love to tell you about one of my dearest friends, Mrs. Kratka (in translation Mrs. Short), who passed away when she was 93.
Mrs. Kratka was an Austrian, who married a German in the 30’s. Obviously, not all Germans were bad, but they all had to obey their draft orders, serve, and possibly die for the Reich. Sadly, Mrs. Kratka lost her husband in the war, and she eventually remarried in my hometown of Chomutov, in the German/Czech territory, called the Sudetenland.
For centuries, Germans and Czechs lived there together, but when the Germans took over Europe the Czechs had to move out. After the war was over, the Germans were ordered to leave.
Suddenly, many mountain towns and villages were half empty, and families who had practically nothing to do Hitler’s insanity were uprooted and forced to move.
At the time, Mrs. Kratka was lucky, because her husband was Czech and she didn’t have to leave.
I have many fond memories of Mrs. Kratka. She and her husband lived in a house nearby a lake where we would spend our summers, and we used to stop by to visit with her on our way back home.
The best part of our visits usually came at the end, when Mrs. Kratka disappeared into her bedroom and returned holding a bar of West German chocolate, brought to her by friends who were deported there after the war.
The chocolate bar had big roasted hazelnuts in it, and to me it tasted like heaven.
There was also a little bit of a “dark side” to my visits with Mrs. Kratka.
She was a dog lover and a “pro” at spoiling her dogs. Throughout her life, she had several yappy Pomeranians who loved to attack my ankles every time I arrived. Each of these little monsters were named “Fabie,” and Mrs. Kratka called them “putzilli”, a term of endearment meaning “little one” she pronounced with a very strong German accent.
But the chocolate bars and succession of Fabie monsters are not the main reason I am writing about Mrs. Kratka.
The reason I am writing about her is that it is very likely that Mrs. Kratka rescued me and my future life.
No, I have not received an inheritance, I received something much more important from her.
What is the Mrs. Kratka effect?
I have never quite understood what compelled my two-year-old self to prepare my toughest life lesson so early on.
The story goes that our family was at a dinner table and my father spanked my older sister, which was very normal in the early 60’s. When I saw this, I apparently stood up in my high chair, barely talking, yelling at my father:
“You are an animal, we will lock you in a cage!!!”
I now understand that calling another human being an animal is actually a compliment, but I was little and I didn’t understand that. The problem was that my father didn’t take me defending my sister very well. For the next 16 years, my fate was sealed.
I am sure my father loved me in some way, but his temper was violent and I became his favourite lighting rod, and I was beaten and bullied by him frequently. It was not easy but as a pretty stubborn kid, I was determined to show him that I was stronger than he was.
My response was that I decided to live the life of his dreams that he could never achieve, because he lived behind the iron curtain. He wanted to move to Canada, I did, he wanted to become a veterinarian in Canada, I did, he wanted to travel, I did.
Eventually, I realized that living my life to spite my father was a dumb way to live, and we eventually made up before he died.
However, I am sure that my early childhood experience has had a huge influence on the outcome of my life. Who knows where I would be if I had been treated better…?
But there was another “ingredient,” without which I would not be able to create a good and fulfilling life for myself, and help others. It was what I call the “Mrs. Kratka effect.”
She knew that my dad was harsh with me, and she wasted no time boosting my confidence by telling me that I was her favourite. I am certain her support was deliberate, and that she hoped her encouragement would counteract the damage done to me by my father.
When I eventually settled in Canada, I was thrilled that a then 87 year old Mrs. Kratka accepted my invitation to visit me in Vancouver.
“Don’t worry honey,” she replied to her husband who was concerned about her travelling, “I will come back! Either alive or in a coffin!” I loved her sense of humour!
Mrs. Kratka’s visit was great. We traveled around British Columbia and I was so happy to be able to say thank you to the very special person who believed in me, and played such a crucial role in my life.
She held me up when I needed it the most.
A few years later, shortly after Mrs. Kratka’s 93rd birthday, I received a phone call from her family that she was in the hospital and would unlikely return home. It took me no time to decide. I booked an 11 hour flight back home to say goodbye, and I called her family to tell her that I was coming.
She passed away one hour after I arrived in the hospital. She was waiting.
The moral of the story is that we all need a Mrs. Kratka in our lives, but we can also make the world a better place by being one for those who need our support.
Maybe if the internet trolls had their own Mrs. Kratka in their lives they would not need to take pleasure from tearing others down.