Recognize How Fragile Life is and Be Grateful for the Good Times

By Dr. Andrew Frishman, DVM

It is human nature to try and structure one’s life with a sense of purpose. We insulate ourselves from the chaos and fragility of life. On the news, there are stories of loss of life locally and from around the globe.

Living in the suburbs we so often put “lipstick” on life’s celebrations as well as tragic events. We like to think that we deserve everything that life has to offer. Tragic events that happen in the inner city are explained away as something that could never affect you or a loved one.

When a household name such as Kobe Bryant dies in the prime of his life, the news rattles our sense of order and well-being in our world. It breaks all of the windows in our glass house.

As a veterinarian, I am confronted with the fragility of life on a daily basis. I can recall several cases in the recent past that illustrate life’s vagaries. An energetic sweet puppy was recently brought for a first visit. Later that week we found out he ingested a toxic house plant and died at an emergency clinic.

Pregnant female dogs sometimes have labored pregnancy that result in stillbirths and the mother also dies in labor.

Every veterinarian has treated a dog that has been hit by a car or had a life-threatening emergency stomach torsion.

Every day I am asked about my medical opinion or protocol for prevention or treatment of a disease.

My intention is not to make you afraid or depress you. Below are two actionable ideas you can make in your life.

  1. Have an Attitude of Gratitude. Appreciate everything from the air you breathe, the food you eat and the people in your life. Start your day off writing in a “Gratitude Journal.”
  2. I base my medical decisions on scientific studies and 20 years of experience seeing the successes – and failures – of different medications and vaccines. My decisions directly affect the life of my patient. I don’t take my medical responsibilities lightly. When I recommend a Lyme vaccine to prevent irreversible life-threatening kidney damage from an infected tick, my only concern is to help the animal. Quite different then an ice cream store owner picking the “flavor of the month.”

Adopt an attitude of gratitude, savor every moment, understand life’s fragility and trust your veterinarian.

Dr. Andrew Frishman is the owner and practitioner of Progressive Animal Hospital in Somers.

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