The Struggle When our Animals are in Pain

Cute JackShortly after Andrew and I got married in 2005, we adopted an adorable Jack Russell dog from a friend when he emigrated to Australia. At the time we thought we were helping out a friend and offering a home to a cute animal. Little did we know what we were signing up for!

Our cute dog arrived on a bright Saturday afternoon and our friend, who had to find good homes for 2 dogs and 2 cats, left in tears. We sat looking at this new addition to our family, wondering how we’d get along. He looked back, probably wondering the same thing. For about 2 days he ran through the garden and house, searching for his furry siblings.

Since he was already four years old, we decided to keep his original name. Jack. We thought it was kind of odd to call a Jack Russell “Jack” – and we started joking that he was now Jack Teversham instead of Jack Russell!

It was clear from the very outset that Jack expected to be included in all the family activities. The first afternoon Andrew and I went to our bedroom for a nap, while leaving Jack outside. He did not take that well! Loud, anxious barking alerted us to the fact that he was not an “outside” dog. As soon as we let him in to the bedroom, he settled down quietly and allowed us to enjoy our nap.

Our Teacher

And so, he entered our lives, I believe, for very specific reasons. Andrew and I married late in our lives (at 38 and 43) and we opted not to have children. Obviously there are some experiences that go with having children and since we were not going to have them through children of our own, I believe little Jack came to fulfill that role for us to the best of his abilities.

Through the 9 years he’s shared our home, I’ve learnt many wonderful and sometimes really hard lessons. His presence has taught us much wisdom, letting go of things (like expensive, chewed electronic articles and 2 packets of biscuits in one evening), responsibility, especially about when responsibility is just over the top, and so much love and laughter.

He’s had to face many health challenges in his short life and he’s done that so bravely. Over the years I’ve written a number of articles about how he’s impacted my life and helped me to face my own “stuff”. He took a sudden downturn in February 2014, and we didn’t know how long he was still going to be with us.

During this time I was involved in an author’s group for mentoring and support. I met a beautiful author from Copenhagen, Denmark, who works with animals and she was about to publish her book on Amazon. I read a review copy of her book (Healing Pet Loss – Practical Steps for Coping and Comforting Messages from Animals and Spirit Guides) and within a few pages I had tears in my eyes. They were tears of gratitude, comfort and relief.

Marianne’s book and its beautiful wisdom touched me so deeply because I was going through the most painful turmoil and anguish. We didn’t know what to do about our doggy’s health – whether we were prolonging his suffering, whether we should be taking steps to help him across the rainbow bridge or leave nature to run its course. This book was just such an ocean of relief in a desert of pain and suffering at that moment.

Jack’s Health Challenges

Jack’s health had been doing a see-saw for months, and we saw a number of vets to try and get him the best health care possible. During this time we also contacted a supportive animal communicator, Laverne, who helped us to “talk” to Jack.

It was clear through these conversations that he wasn’t ready to leave – on a soul level, he said, he’d so much love to spend more time with us. Hence, we’ve been searching for other resources and recently, also through Laverne, got an appointment with a vet who works holistically, with homeopathic and natural remedies as well as traditional veterinary science.

Finally we feel like we’re on the right track and it’s clear that our dog has walked a very courageous journey. It seems that he was incorrectly diagnosed for Cushing’s Disease just over a year ago, thus treated incorrectly which caused more damage to his already struggling liver. He clearly has liver disease and both times that four liver enzymes were tested, they were “through the roof” in the vet’s words. Some couldn’t be measured they were so high.

Ourselves and the new vet are trying to minimize the damage as best we can, while staying positive and open that miracles can happen and loving him the best way we can to give him a chance to be with us until he decides it’s time to go.

He has severe arthritis in both hind legs. Both his anterior cruciate ligaments were torn (7 years apart) and that caused lasting damage, even though the ligaments were surgically repaired. We’ve recently had to build him 2 ramps at home so he can walk down 3 steps. He kept falling and tripping. He also consumes huge amounts of water due to the liver trying to cleanse itself and that has caused months of interrupted sleeping for Andrew and myself. We’ve resorted to taking turns doing “night duty” so one of us can be fresh!

Jack detests going to the vet and every time it’s stressful for me to take him. He trembles and shivers like a huge leaf from anxiety, evoking stares from everyone around us. Of course, I have to do loads of tapping every time we go! I’ve now resorted to giving him an herbal calming tablet to get us through it.

A New Idea

During an extremely stressful 3 month period, I took such comfort from Marianne’s book and Laverne’s messages from Jack that an idea started forming for me.

If I found profound relief from these two sources I started wondering, “Might there be others who need the same kind of uplifting inspiration, hope and loving kindness?” And might there be people who can deliver similar needed messages who have not yet found ways to get their messages of comfort out into the world?

One the one hand I wanted to honour my brave dog’s life, his love, loyalty and beautiful gentle nature by writing about his struggles and what I learnt on the journey. And I also wanted to offer readers as much hope and encouragement as possible “under one roof” or “in one book”.

The idea came to me to ask a few loving souls who work with animals, or have suffered great loss and pain through losing their own precious animals, to contribute to a book. Five beautiful animal lovers are now putting their hearts and souls into this project and they’ll bring messages of hope and wisdom from beyond the physical existence. My contribution is around the lessons I learnt through Jack, and how to use EFT for your stress and anxiety about your animal’s distress.

We’re planning to complete our writing by the end of June, then editing will happen and it’s our plan to launch this book by September 2014! First on Kindle, and then in print.

Here’s a question for you:

What are you currently struggling with, that causes you pain and emotional suffering?

Can you feel how thinking about that contracts you, makes your body feel uncomfortable and perhaps even awful?

We can use EFT to minimize the discomfort. However, questions can also determine what we experience! We can ask ourselves more empowering questions…

What if you asked one of the following questions instead?

  1. What am I learning from this struggle that I can carry forward with me in an empowering way?
  2. What quality do I need to develop in order to make this a more peaceful experience?
  3. How can I use this experience to grow on a personal, emotional, spiritual level?
  4. How can I “let go” and trust that a Higher Power has everything in hand for the highest good of all?
  5. How can I ask for support from others to get through this in an empowered way?

We don’t have control over our circumstances. The one thing we have much more control over is our attitude and how we choose to go through the experience. I say “much more” because sometimes it’s so challenging to change our attitude when the going is rough, that it can feel impossible!

I wish you a clear, empowered path through life with support, growth and peace.

Oh and by the way – I’m recording an interview with Marianne this afternoon. I’ll make it available to you in the next newsletter and her “Healing Pet Loss” book is available FREE on 21 and 22 June 2014.

Review Opportunity

PS: If this subject interests you – how would you like to receive a review copy of this book in exchange for a written review? This opportunity provides you with exposure for your business/website.

Pop me an email if you’d like to participate!

Liesel Teversham
Liesel Teversham

Liesel helps sensitive introverts to see their sensitivity as a superpower, love their work and practice awesome self-care so they can be energized and make a difference in a meaningful and fulfilling way. She helps them to overcome the fear of being visible, avoiding the spotlight and conflict, being ‘too nice’, perfectionism and procrastination.

She’s the author of “No Problem. The Upside of Saying No”, which is a handbook for those who struggle to say no, are overwhelmed and exhausted.

Click here to read about the book.




  1. Elana Rabinowitz

    Hi Liesel. Im so happy to hear that Jack has improved. As I told you I have also had to face difficult decisions with my precious companions – also had to have a ramp built so my dog could get in the car! I would love a review copy… will phone you soon
    Best wishes

    • Liesel Teversham

      Hi Elana,
      So great to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by. Our companions are so precious and it’s a privilege to do for them what we can, to make their lives a little easier. They’re SO loyal! I look forward to seeing you soon.

  2. Sue Goutier

    As you know I recently lost one of my precious dogs. Fortunately for her it was quick and I am hoping that there was not too much suffering.
    The dilemma now is whether I can go through this again. My other dog needs company when I’m not here.
    It would be a privilege to review your new book.

    Love Sue

    • Liesel Teversham

      Thank you so much for stopping by, Sue, and sharing your thoughts. I’m so sorry for your loss, and glad with you that it was quick and didn’t need months of suffering and wondering about whether to take the next step.

      I so get what you mean about “whether to go through this again.” It’s so painful every time and we all want to avoid pain as much as possible. And in that process we can close off many other sources of possibly joy.

      I received an email from a lady this morning who wants to share her message on the “Savvy Self-Care Secrets Telesummit”. She lost her 22 year old son, her father, a 6 month pregnancy as well as her best friend. She’s now found a way to share her message of “self-care through the grief” and even though she’s still hurting, she’s transformed her loss into something that serves others too.

      I wish you joy in other ways and for you to connect with your precious dog in your heart. The love he feels for you is always there! I’d be so delighted to have you as a reviewer – details available shortly. And my wish would be that this book and the messages of the 6 authors bring you much comfort, relief and love.

  3. Peggy McAloon

    We lost our little Shih Tzu Shansi two years ago. It is so hard to say goodbye after 15 years. Six months later I saw a picture of another Shih Tzu on the internet. I knew looking at the picture he was the one. Then I read the complete history and discovered he was blind. His owner, an elderly gentleman in the Milwaukee area had died and the nephew knew nothing about the dog. He is the most remarkable and loving dog. He thrives on the seashore during our winter vacation, so I know he spent time on the Great Lakes. This week, we took him in a boat for the first time on our lake. He settled in and was so mellow, that I also know he spent hours on the water with his former owner. In this instance, the dog lost the human, but found humans who had lost the dog. It has been a miraculous marriage of two humans and one dog who were destined for each other and the love all were so willing to share.

    • Liesel Teversham

      Hi Peggy,
      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your beautiful story!! How amazing, that “the right people and animals” have found each other. It’s so precious that this doggy now has very caring and wonderful people to look after him.

      Magic does happen everywhere! And love is the best magic of all.
      Love, from South Africa!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.