She said that her dog had been getting sick lately. So sick, she said, that the dog had required several visits to the vet. She also spoke of her own family stresses. Her husband recently received a promotion which involved not only higher pay but longer hours. "It's a good thing," she said. "Except that he comes home late and too tired to do anything around the house." She added that they had been fighting on and off over the past several weeks. "Nothing like we're getting a divorce but we have been yelling at each other. And I feel angry much of the time." Then she began putting the pieces together. The dog had started getting sick shortly after the husband's promotion and the beginning of the fights. "Oh, my! Our stress is making our dog sick." It was then -- because of the dog -- that they decided to incorporate immediate stress reduction into their lives. "We stopped shouting and started talking. We played soothing music. We spoke gently to each other." The dog got better. In fact, there hasn't been a vet visit for some time. "The dog is healthier and we are so much happier," she concluded.
We visit our moods onto our dogs. When we practice healthier emotional habits we're not the only beneficiaries. And, as the now far less stressed woman concluded, if we can't do it for ourselves, we can certainly give stress reduction a try for our dogs.