Ask Dr. Orloff

Can our pets absorb our illnesses?

Question: I have a strange circumstance here and was hoping you could give some insight. I am in the sixth month of a high risk pregnancy. When I became pregnant I was encouraged to terminate the pregnancy. My doctor warned me that I have a high risk of going into kidney failure and dying even before the baby is born. Obviously, my husband and chose to keep our son. We never even considered abortion. To everyone's amazement, the baby and I have had no complications so far. We both appear completely healthy.

Today we found out that one of our dogs is dying of kidney failure. He has a rare congenital defect that usually kills dogs before they reach their first birthday, but he is four now and has lived a healthy, energetic life until a few weeks ago.

Even though I now know his kidneys were bound to fail at some point, I can't shake the thought that the timing is no coincidence. He has always been extraordinarily sensitive to me and my emotions. Is it possible that he somehow absorbed the energy of the kidney failure that was in me? It seems like such a coincidence that the very thing I was predicted to endure is what my sweet dog is suffering with, while I remain healthy.

I know these sounds like a complete crack-pot idea. We have to put him to sleep in two days, and it is very possible that I'm just grasping for something that would give some meaning to his death.

Please tell me what you think. My heart is so broken right now.

Answer: Life can be very mysterious in the way it plays out sometimes. I don't believe your idea is so crack-pot. Dogs are channels for unconditional love and healing. It could be your sweet dog has decided to heal you. Take the blessing with the love it was intended. Do not feel guilty one bit. Make sure your child never forgets the importance of this dog in all your lives.


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