Healing the American Animal

Today, I’m musing about how to heal the American Animal. Yes, it has been a long time since I have penned a “One Veterinarian’s Musings” column. While I have not been physically sick, I have had “writer’s block”. I just looked for this condition in the bible of mental health aliments, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or the “DSM-IV”. Writer’s Block is not listed. I did find a book titled Understanding Writer’s Block: A Therapist’s Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment by a Dr. Martin Kantor. I’m going to look for this book at the New London Library. Perhaps I’ll muse about how I lost and I’m currently working on finding my own voice in a future “One Veterinarian’s Musing”? I’ve digressed…

After thirty two years as a veterinarian I can confidently declare: ‘Animals are not machines or computers!’. There are two attributes that animals have that machines or computers do not have: 1) animals are endowed with a capacity to heal themselves and 2) animals can reproduce.

We could quibble. Perhaps machines/computers that are able to heal themselves and that can reproduce are closer than I think. However, it is my opinion that we have a LONG way to go before we’re at that point prophesied in the classic movie “2001 A Space Odyssey” or the more recent film, “The Matrix”.

The aforementioned capacity of an animal to heal itself is at the center of every one of the healing professions. On one hand, all DNA-life forms (bacteria, insects, plants, fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals including us) are pre-programmed to and will die. On the other hand, it is possible to intervene in a disease process (behavior and mental-health diseases too) and to avert a premature death.

How do veterinarians heal ailing animals? We are taught (or we learn the hard way) to “First Do No Harm”, i.e. do everything possible–drawing on our training and our experience–to not interfere with the capacity of that animal’s ability to heal themselves.

The first step a skilled veterinarian (like Dr. Ziegler, Dr. Baetke, or Dr. Henderson at our very own Wolf River Veterinary Clinic) takes when faced with an ailing animal is to work to identify the process or cycle which is making that animal sicker and sicker. If they can interrupt the process or stop the cycle (while doing “No Harm”) death can dodged/delayed.

I think it is a fair to think of that the USA, the State of Wisconsin, as an ailing animal. My wager is the upcoming election is not going to interrupt the disease process. Like all human animals, I want a quick fix. However, to fix the American animal, we need to take need to first identify the pathology.

You might say to me: Pete, your analogy is wrong. An animal has just one plan at a time and every one of that animals’ cells buys into the plan.

To which I would exclaim “Thank You! I wonder if you’ve identified the pathology?”

As I talk and interact with my fellow Wisconsinites, as I look at our governments in action, I see unhealthy bureaucracies (“animals”, or should I say “beasts”) with legislators, judges, and folk in the executive branch (all of who are “cells” of these bureaucratic “beasts”) that are fighting against each other.

I wonder if there might be just one plan upon which we could all agree and embark?

One of our culture’s Elders (Parker J. Palmer) has written a book titled Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit. Therein Palmer challenges his readers: If ‘We the People’ are to help heal our ailing democracy–and if we do not, who will?–we need to develop five crucial habits of the heart.

I hereby propose that we divided Americans buy into Palmer’s plan, that we agree on his “five crucial habits of the heart” as our just one plan.

My hope is to have piqued your curiosity herein. You can find a listing of Palmer’s Five Habit of the Heart at this web site: www.kalliopeia.org/connect/?p=257


Published in the Waupaca County Post East newspaper, 11/15/12.





2 responses to “Healing the American Animal”

  1. Pete Gasper Avatar
    Pete Gasper

    Dearest Web Master,

    I LIKE the video you selected!

    One Veterinarian, One Medicine Man…

  2. […] alive or is it dead?”.  I can see my transformation was incubating in two consecutive Musings: Healing the American Animal & Seeds and Stem […]

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