James Jacobson: Here’s an interesting question that I want to throw out to you first Dr. Dressler, what is the difference between being a dog lover and being a dog guardian?
Dr. Demian Dressler: That’s an excellent question. There can be confusion in our minds not only as veterinarians but also as owners, “of dogs”. The confusion is this, on the one hand we want to enjoy the things that our dog gives us, that is receiving and we have a loving relationship with the animal and works in both directions. Now there’s the other role and that’s us giving, and that’s guardianship. Guardianship is something that takes energy, and vigilance and discipline and that’s the action of looking out for your dog as a protective guardian and making decisions and the truth of it is some of those decisions can be tough, so that’s the difference between being a pet lover and areal guardian.
James Jacobson: You talk in the book a little bit about the role of a, you make the analogy of a secret service agent can you expound on that?
Dr. Demian Dressler: The secret service agent uses vigilance, they’re always vigilant, they’ve got their ear piece, they’re always scanning the horizon, they’ve got their binoculars they’re communicating with other secret agents. Their main job is that of a protector and they will go to any extreme to protect the person that they are protecting, the politician, president, or what have you. A secret service agent is kind of a useful metaphor although there’s nothing secret about it but the act of vigilance, I think is the real critical defining factor in guardianship, and it’s not always fun, it can take some work.
James Jacobson: Dr. Ettinger, any thoughts?
Dr. Susan Ettinger: One thing I always try to remind the guardians when they’re in the room because they are so worried about making the right choice for their dogs, and I think one of the gifts of being a dog with cancer they can look at it that way is that the pet themselves doesn’t actually have the process all the confusing information statistics, that may end survival times. All that information that we share with them at the appointment and the dog really just want to live in the moment be with their guardian because they are happy when they’re with them and I think actually not having to worry about all the information that the guardians is worrying about is probably not a bad way to live. I always tell my guardians we could learn something from our dogs they live in the moment they wanna be pain free, they wanna be happy but they worry a little less about the information and I think that’s probably not a bad way to live.
James Jacobson: We could all learn and benefit from that concept. Dr. Ettinger in New York, Dr. Dressler in Hawaii, thank you both for being with us today!
Dr. Susan Ettinger & Dr. Demian Dressler: Thank you!