Tag Archives: horse

Dogs and Doctors Work Together for the Same Purpose – Keep their Humans Healthier

I’ll call her Wini.   Wini   was a horse person and she and her retired Navy husband bred, raised, showed and sold Arabian horses.  She was a little woman and her huge husband towered over her.  I met them when I joined the local horse club and the meetings were held in their arena clubroom.  Wini and her husband loved dogs too and was always surrounded by them.

My focus here is Wini and dogs.  She had lost her helpmate and fifty-five year love and lived some years alone with the dogs.  Wini began to disperse the horse herd as she became less able to care for them.  Their only child, a son, lived far away in another state and they had little contact with him or his family.

I don’t know how it happened but Wini ended up in an assisted living place in another town several hours drive from home and everyone she knew.  She told me she begged her son to let her keep just one of her little dogs but he placed her in a place that didn’t allow dogs.  The next to last time I spoke with her she thought the management might let her keep one of her beloved little dogs.

The last time I spoke with Wini she sounded depressed, lonely and sick.   She wasn’t allowed a dog and few people made the drive to see her.   It my opinion that people need something warm to hug and to feel the heartbeat of another living being – something to care for and be loved in return.

Dogs can save lives and give some folks a reason to live.

There is a reason I’m posting a video of the Silverdale Dog Park beyond being a dog person and the fact is that I admire folks who fund their own hobbies such as the dog folks of Silverdale who worked hard to fund and do volunteer work at the Silverdale Dog Park.

I recently visited and took a video and found people of all ages playing there with their dogs… the place is crowed no matter the weather with the friendliest people I’ve met anywhere and neat dogs.  Take a look and please forgive my amateurish attempt to show a great place for people and dogs.  A great place to socialize with your pets and other like minded folks.

Mike McCown, Silverdale Dog Park Stewardship President and the tribute to the mover and shaker for the park, Anita Bates.

The couple in the video are Robert Smith and Carolyn Farnsworth and “Dobbie”  one of the happiest Australian Shepherds I’ve met.

Dogs save lives for seniors, the physically challenged and even children who have been betrayed by adults and horribly abused are soothed and can be adored and loved uncondioningly by the right dog.

Dogs enrich our lives.  In some cases, dogs and pets give some of us a life and a reason for living.  Caring for them helps us remain physically and mentally fit and active.

There are plenty of studies to prove it and for some our dogs keep us striving to be better people – to become, “the person my dog thinks I am.”

My first dog, Pepy was a herding dog from the Kitsap County Humane Society some sixty years ago.

Man’s Best Friend: Study Shows Lonely Seniors Prefer Playtime With Pooch Over Human Interaction

ScienceDaily (Jan. 9, 2006) — A new Saint Louis University study shows there is some truth in the old cliché that describes a dog as “man’s best friend.”

“Or at least a less aggravating friend,” said study author William A. Banks, M.D., professor of geriatrics in the department of internal medicine and professor of pharmacological and physiological sciences at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

Nursing home residents felt much less lonely after spending time alone with a dog than they did when they visited with a dog and other people. The research will be published in the March 2006 issue of Anthrozoos 18(4).

“It was a strange finding,” said Banks, who also is a staff physician at Veterans Affairs Medical Center in St. Louis. “We had thought that the dog acts as a social lubricant and increases the interaction between the residents. We expected the group dog visits were going to work better, but they didn’t.

“There is no need for a dog to be a social lubricant or icebreaker in a nursing home. Residents live with each other, eat breakfast, lunch and dinner with each other, play bingo with each other,” Banks says. “The study also found that the loneliest individuals benefited the most from visits with dogs.”

Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first M.D. degree west of the Mississippi River. Saint Louis University School of Medicine is a pioneer in geriatric medicine, organ transplantation, chronic disease prevention, cardiovascular disease, neurosciences and vaccine research, among others. The School of Medicine trains physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health services on a local, national and international level.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060108215831.htm

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One recent study by a Michigan State University researcher, epidemiologist Mathew Reeves showed that dog walkers are “34 percent more likely to meet federal benchmarks on physical activity.”

To me that means being more physically fit and able to take care of ourselves as well as our dogs and saving taxpayers billions of dollars in health care costs.

“Walking is the most accessible form of physical activity available to people,” Reeves said. “What we wanted to know was if dog owners who walked their dogs were getting more physical activity or if the dog-walking was simply a substitute for other forms of activity.”

Mathew Reeves and his team discovered the walking dog people were more active overall in their lives.

The study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

“He also pointed out the social and human/animal bond aspects of owning a dog that has been shown to have a positive impact on quality of life. And since only about two-thirds of dog owners reported regularly walking their dogs, Reeves said dog ownership represents an opportunity to increase participation in walking and overall physical activity.

Contributing authors to the research include Ann Rafferty, Corinne Miller and Sarah Lyon-Callo, all with the Michigan Department of Community Health.”

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110310151218.htm

More later…thanks for listening… Sharon O’Hara

Train the Brain? Reconsider the Pills?

The headline caught my eye…Anger amplifies clinical pain in women with and without fibromyalgia

I wondered if anger could choke off breathing as well. The researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands touched a chord…

Sensitizing effect of anger and sadness not limited to fibromyalgia patients

Researchers from Utrecht University who studied the effect of negative emotions on pain perception in women with and without fibromyalgia found that anger and sadness amplified pain equally in both groups…”

The other day I read a post causally commenting on the list of medications the poster takes.   When I read ‘antianxiety’ pills, I wondered how anyone could take a pill when they are virtually helpless – seemingly in the middle of an anxiety attack.

A few weeks ago, I could no more have reached for a pill than fly to the moon with or without gossamer wings.

Tuesday, 31 August I had a doctor appointment.  Already extremely short of breath a day or two – by the time I dressed and dragged myself up into the back seat of the roomy gas guzzler I was angry and disgusted.   Gasping for air, weak, unable to move beyond a slight shift in position and braced against the side of the car door and the back seat of the car, I didn’t have enough air to purse lip breathe.  (PLB) This was new stuff.

My husband had set up the stepper he’d made me to help get in the car and waited in the driver’s seat until I’d gotten myself in, pulled the stepper in and shut the car door.

The more I struggled to maneuver myself into the car, the angrier and more short of breathe.  Slumped inside and in trouble I couldn’t breathe or talk.

My husband sat in the driver’s seat and drove off.  I couldn’t tell him to take me to the hospital… I couldn’t talk. There was no way to communicate to him that I was in trouble.  The only thing I had that could move was my mind.

Physically helpless my brain raced to hang on to something – anything.  Touches of memory flitted by and were lost. I couldn’t hang on – until the memory of a toilet suspended over a ravine tickled my memory.  The toilet was off to the right of the trail I was riding on.  The memory touched my mind and.  I grabbed hold and felt again the feeling of surprise and absurdity of seeing a toilet high in the Cascades.

I grabbed that memory and felt again the warm and windless Cascade mountain afternoon.  I felt the warm sweat of Wixi’s neck and inhaled her sweet horse smell when I patted her and dismounted to take a closer look and a picture.

The halter rope felt pliable and soft coiled in my hand.  The worn smooth edges of the leather reins slid through my fingers until I had enough rein to loop the ends around the saddle horn of my old roping saddle.

My mind pulled to relive every feeling and sight of that toilet set on the edge of space off a trail high in the Cascade mountain range.  It sat out on the edge of a ravine overlooking space.  Across the ridge, you could see the trail as it came around a bend and then disappeared again off to the right.

Focusing around that memory allowed me to breathe again.

Whoever hauled that toilet in – thanks for the memory.

It is a twenty minute drive to my doctor’s office.  At some point during that drive, I began breathing again.

It is strange how desperation can pull past training up without conscious thought.

Focusing my mind to grab a memory and recall the sights, sound, smell in detail was something I’d learned during a week-end seminar more than thirty years ago.  Lou Tice’s, Pacific Institute affirmation training saved the day.

Thanks Lou.

If that experience was an anxiety attack, a pill couldn’t have helped.  I was helpless to move anything or to swallow if I had a pill to take.

Our minds are available year around.  Maybe we should be trained to use our brain.

September is Pain Awareness Month

What does anger and pain have to do with women?  Lots it seems, with or without fibromyalgia.

Part 1 of 2   More later… Sharon O’Hara

QUALITY LIFE- TOO EXPENSIVE?

QUALITY LIFE- TOO EXPENSIVE?
CHEAP DEATH – IS IT REALLY?
WHO DECIDES?

Since when does living a quality life for the medically or physically challenged mean too costly for taxpayers?

Living a quality life, to me, means seeing and feeling the world around us…seeing the sparkle and sharp colors of new daybreak splash slowly across the horizon and its new dawn promise, the muted and soft streaks of a sunset inch across the sky at day’s end, the happy, funny gurgle and contented baby coo, a bee’s buzz as it flits from flower to flower, the busy chirp and chat of birds, the cheery tug of anticipation at the shout of “STRIKE ONE!” when your child or grandchild is at bat, the intoxicating smell of freshly mowed grass, an unexpected hug from a friend, the excited bark of a welcome home greeting and the warm feel and tangy smell of a horse and the soft nudge of her head for a carrot treat – all blend together.

None have a price tag. One or more of these things and many more, give a quality life without a price tag.

Yes, for seniors, when major disease requiring intensive treatment costly to the body and pocketbook is diagnosed, open and honest dialog between the patient and doctor is a vital step to making the right decision for each patient.

If the patient is already under treatment for life altering medical conditions and treatment, the patient must be fully informed of the new estimated treatment, length and intensity of recovery, adding the cause and effect to the existing medications and prognosis.

Who should make the decision? The patient knows when his/her quality life is over. For me, it is when I can no long feel anything but the pain …when the world around me ceases to matter…before I can no longer take care of my personal needs and can’t recover…its time.

I know, understand and approve age and other limits on lungs and organ transplants. I don’t get mammograms, apps or colon tests simply because should any prove positive, I won’t do anything about it.

My doctor and I have already talked about quality of life and she is incredibly wise and informs, yet accepts my decisions about my own health care. My family knows exactly how I feel and it is not their decision, it is my life and my decisions.

It is not your decision either. I think the patient’s doctor and other medical professionals – NOT including the government – need to present the facts to the patient in a kind, straightforward manner and let the patient and medical team make the decision regarding treatment or no treatment.

IF the facts are presented properly and honestly in each case, very few, if any, senior patients would choose to undergo serious surgery, intensive recovery time, loss of ability to care for their own personal hygiene and waste what remains of their time on earth. Each situation is different and individual.

I was once present when an elderly patient was taken to the emergency room. He clearly had dementia, yet was given – it seemed – a test on every new and old machine in the hospital. One scene stands out in memory…the technician reading aloud the instruction booklet as she hooked the patient to the machine. None of the tests were productive. I’m sure it was an expensive visit.

Keep terminally ill folks comfortable … but all these things should be discussed with the PATIENT long before emergencies and urgency cloud the overall issue.

I doubt my grandmother had much quality of life after she entered the nursing home. Her false teeth were stolen along with other personal items. She fought to get out of bed and walk until she was drugged to keep her compliant and easy to care for. Soon she couldn’t get out of bed by herself and was eventually spoon fed and diapered.
Quality of life? She was over ninety, did not recognize anyone and had forgotten how to speak English. The grandmother I knew was gone.
Why hadn’t she been allowed to walk and maintain a quality of life? Too expensive?

Keep government out of health care and a single pay. Let the free enterprise system flourish and see the health care costs diminish and patient care increase. Let the insurance companies compete for business across the nation. Allow our system to work and use the system we already have in place to correct and make the needed changes. NOT GOVERNMENT.

Remember the $600 toilet seats government bought and regular folks only paid about $50 for the same seat? How about Social Security? How many years before its bankrupt and the people paying into it now will probably never get to use it?

How has the government run Clunkers worked out for our tax dollar and the economy? Well, a lot of folks bought, free, thanks to the Clunkers program, electric golf carts.

Medicare is government run…is it successful?
Please.
The government run Medicare and Medicaid is the reason the medical profession is the only profession I know of in this country that is penalized for being in health care and treating seniors and Medicaid patients.
Patients are cheated, physicians and health care professionals are cheated…and some cheat in return.
Keep government out of the health care business… for your kids’ sake.

No one in this country is denied health care…hospitals have shut their doors before or after the bankruptcy for treating patients without payment. No one is turned away. However, how long can any organization last without revenue?

In addition, ask yourself how long a civilization can last or should last, if their citizens are evaluated and cared for based on dollars not spent?

Frank and open honest discussion with the patient – educate them – will make a difference…not manipulation based on dollars. .

NO to government health care.

More later … Sharon O’Hara
This blog post was an answer to a post on Rob’s blog and tantalizing title: http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2009/oct/16/rob-woutat-a-dying-person-needs-death/