I took a bit of a break from training after the trial three weeks ago.  The stress drained me and I found myself low in energy and lacking in motivation to keep going.  Having things fall apart with Hannah on the home field didn’t help.  I also have some other stuff going on in my life these days that is fairly draining, both physically and emotionally, and it’s hard to focus on training in that mind-set.

But we have another trial coming up, and I need to get back in the saddle, so to speak.  Two days ago I took a homeopathic remedy to see if I could nudge myself out of this rut, and it really seems to be working.  Very interestingly, it is the same remedy that I gave to Ross.  A friend of mine, who is working with the same homeopath that I have just started with and who recommended her, told me this homeopath said that “there are no true acutes.”  I really think this is true.

First, let me explain what an ‘acute’ is, in a homeopathic sense.  Or at least I’ll try.  Basically, an acute is a short-term illness with temporary symptoms.  For example, the flu, a headache, or an injury.  This is in contrast to a constitutional, or long-term chronic disease picture, such as, well, pretty much everything else ranging from eczema to behaviour issues.  Now what this homeopath means by the fact that there are no true acutes is that acutes can still be symptoms of a chronic disease.  Why did you catch that cold?  Because your immune system is weak for one reason or another.  So the flu is a symptom of something deeper going on.  Same with headaches.  Even injuries as you can be predisposed to have particular injuries.  How many people have the same back problems, for example, as their parents?  Is this an acute?  Or chronic disease?  But it can go much, much deeper.

Acutes are basically red flags waving frantically to get us to pay attention to something more serious.  A sort of ‘everything happens for a reason.’  In this case, Ross developed an acute skin problem.  I’ve already written how I was quite sure this was in fact a constitutional problem with an acute manifestation.  The homeopath agreed and selected a remedy based on Ross’s overall health and personality profile, not just on the lesion.  This is how homeopathy works, and why it works.  It takes the whole patient into account, not just some little part of them as if it was not connected to the rest.  She evaluated Ross’s case and selected a particular remedy.  Calc Carb. for those who need to know.  She asked me to read up on the remedy and see what I thought before proceeding.

I did, and, among many symptoms that fit Ross very well, I came across the following: this remedy is indicated for people who take on too much, work themselves into exhaustion, and then find themselves incapable of doing anything.  This is definitely my pattern, and what I have been struggling with lately.  I have been totally overwhelmed by all the things going on in my life and have been paralyzed by it.  So I decided to take the remedy along with Ross.

When I mentioned this to our homeopath, she said that the fact that the remedy was a fit for me make her even more certain it was the right one.  I guess she sees it often that people and their animals need the same remedy.  In other words, Ross’s skin lesion was a red flag not only for his health issues, but for mine as well.  I find this fascinating. It also makes complete sense.  Ross’s ‘whole’ includes me – I am part of his pack, his family, his environment.  We are also very deeply connected emotionally and spiritually.  So of course I am part of his overall picture.  And as such, it makes sense that he can exhibit an “acute” or red flag that is linked to me.

This is not the first time I’ve encountered this concept.  In “The Nature of Animal Healing”Martin Goldstein  writes about this extensively.  In his veterinary practice he began to notice case after case of animals manifesting the health problems of one of their human companions.  When I thought it through, I could also come up with such cases.  Indeed, each of my animals has had some kind of issue that I have had to figure out how to resolve that provided me with important knowledge I later applied to help myself.  This has been true of both physical and mental issues.

For example, I took in a puppy a few years ago who changed the way I train.  She was a Belgian Malinois, and more challenging than 10 border collies to raise.  This dog was bred for generations for prey drive and endurance and was beyond wired for sound.  I don’t think either of us slept for the first 18 months that I had her.  This dog drove me crazy. Honestly, for months on end I couldn’t stand her and wanted to get rid of her, but where could you place such an insane creature?  So I toughed it out wondering what I had done to deserve such a lunatic dog.    

It took me a long time to realize that she was an incredible teacher.  Not only did I have to figure out an entirely new way of training, getting me to abandon compulsion methods and switch to positive approaches through and through, but she also held a mirror up to me.  This dog was a perfect reflection of my mental state.  When I was stressed, she would shut down.  When I got angry, she would freak out.  When I got worked up, she was crazy.  Fun to live with?  Not really.  Until I figured out that when I was calm, so was she.  When I was focused, so was she.  When I was happy and relaxed, she was the best dog in the world.

I never realized just how much negative energy I not only carried around with me, but projected out at other people.  This dog taught me that.  I literally could watch her and know how I was affecting others around me.  It was humbling to say the least.  A quick glance at my dog’s ear set, for example, would let me know when I was being a jerk, or overbearing, or unpleasant in general.  I took up yoga and meditation and have become – I hope, because she’s no longer around to tell me – a more pleasant person to be around.

Each and every one of my animals, through their own health or behaviour crises, has taught me something very important about myself.  These acute and chronic symptoms have led me to figure out ways to help them, and to help myself.  I don’t think any of them has been accidental, or coincidental.  Today I got a ton of work done, and I also got back to some serious training for the next trial.  And I have Ross, lying quietly at my feet, and the nasty but now healing lesion on his back to thank.