She’s a Tough Little Dog

I have been forever busy with a gazillion things going on, and have not taken a moment to give an update about my little dog. She is just the sweetest dog and has never even hurt a fly. Since she was attacked by the neighbor’s pit bull dog last August, my Yorkshire terrier has made a full recovery. I would estimate that it literally took about five months before I noticed that she was truly back to her usual self again. That was already two months ago. Thankfully, she has recovered after her terrible and traumatizing ordeal. For a long time, she did not want to go outside, and if she was outside, she did not go too far from the house – only a few feet.

I still go over the attack in my mind when I was outside walking her at lunchtime. The neighbor’s dog charged down his driveway as we were walking past and attacked my dog while we were walking on the road. I always carry mace, got it out of my pocket and maced the dog, but it made no effect. That is the first time I have maced a dog and it did not retreat from us – as this has happened several times in the past with other dogs in my neighborhood.

So much for the leash law and so much for getting any compensation from my neighbor to pay for my dog’s surgery. I am not a person who gets angry at much or very quickly, but this situation made me afraid and angry. I posted around social media with my graphic pictures of my nearly dead dog so people would know that this pit bull almost killed my dog. I also turned to the courts. One court placed my neighbor on probation, and the other court dragged the situation out and did not proceed as it had informed me it would. I paid more than $1,200 for my dog’s surgery in order to save her, and I realize, now, that I will never get a cent from my irresponsible and uncaring neighbor. My Neighborhood Watch Association suggested that I take it to the courts, so I am thankful that I did and my neighbor has received at least some consequence.

Also, my neighbor is a renter, and was not supposed to have a dog on the property – as I discovered by taking the property owner to court, as well. So now, at least the pit bull is gone, though I keep a watchful eye and am prepared with a bit more than mace should anything come up in the future. It is sad that I cannot completely enjoy the outdoors on my own property for concern about what is going on next door. There’s more to it than that, as well, but I’ll leave it to that they are not the type of neighbors anyone would desire. Sadly, I get to be the lucky one to have them next to me.

At any rate, my little dog is much tougher than I ever thought, and she made it through. She’s already 13 and doesn’t have too much time left on this earth, so I am happy she made a complete recovery. Again, I am thankful for the two UPS drivers who came to our aid and got the pit bull away from my dog at the time she was being attacked. I am also so thankful for my local veterinarian and the staff at Snellville Animal Hospital for all of their care, professionalism, and expertise. My brave little dog would not have made it without them!

Challenges in Mental Health Care: The Sickness v. Wellness Perspective (By: Michele Babcock-Nice)

Mental health care is a challenging, but rewarding field.  There are many positive sides of mental health care, and also areas that need improvement.  One of the biggest rewards of mental health care is observing and experiencing progress, recovery, and a return to wellness of clients.  Healing, recovery, and a return to wellness of clients in mental health settings requires patience, understanding, respect, and sensitivity.  Agency and organizational stability is also needed for clients in order that they receive optimal care.  While each agency and/or organization has its own culture, a culture in which workers live in fear of becoming a statistic in extremely high turnover is unhealthy in itself.

As an individual working toward licensure in the mental health profession, I am one whose perspective is from a position of wellness.  First and foremost, one must view a person as a person.  To perceive and treat a person with respect, kindness, nonjudgment, and impartiality are requirements in supporting and empowering the wellness, healing, and recovery of clients.  In the counseling profession, one based on a view of wellness in people, there exists a positive and supportive hope for the overall optimal health of the individual.

This view is different from many other mental health professions in which the general view of the client is one of sickness.  Certainly, approaching an individual with a perspective of what can be improved is helpful, and for insurance purposes involving payment for services rendered, a diagnosis of the client is required, however it is my perspective that viewing the client from a wellness standpoint is much more healthy for all involved rather than judging a person as being sick.

Those who view and describe an individual as a “sick person” have already negatively judged him or her.  They have not viewed the person as a person, but as an “ill person.”  Such a perspective held by such individuals causes them to treat the client differently, as one who needs more and more treatment, more and more medication, more and more confinement.  In these situations, the positive view of wellness is gone, and is replaced by a judgment that the “sick person” is unable to become well.

While clients have challenges to achieving and maintaining wellness, it becomes even more of a challenge when many in the mental health field view clients as sick, and only they as the professionals who hold those views have the power and expertise to make them well – or they have already judged that they will never become well.  A professional who approaches a client from a perspective of wellness (a perspective that is in the minority), therefore, faces even more challenges, not only for themselves but also for their clients when others view them as sick and unable to become well.  A person is still a person, regardless of their diagnosis or disorder.  A person is still a person, and has the capability of becoming well.  A hopeful perspective toward client wellness must exist in the mental health profession – rather than client sickness – in order that clients are supported and empowered to experience that wellness.

A further challenge in agencies and/or organizations in which a “sickness” perspective prevails is that experienced clinicians fall into the trap of believing that their views and judgments about clients are the best – that they are the experts.  Certainly, the experience of a veteran clinician is extremely valuable in treating clients, however experienced clinicians who believe that only their views, judgments, and culture of sickness are the most helpful approaches create a potentially dangerous situations for their clients.  Clinicians of all levels of experience must be open-minded to considering and perceiving different views – including those from a wellness perspective – so that their clients receive optimal care and so that they profession, itself, can grow and develop in a healthy way.

Clinicians who view clients from a perspective of illness and negative judgment place their clients at risk for further illness.  Clinicians who are set in their ways of expertise toward mental health treatment, and who are unable to be open-minded toward viewing different perspectives regarding it have already erected walls around themselves that are harmful for themselves, their clients, the culture of their agency/organization, and the field of mental health.

What clinicians must always place as a primary priority is that people are people.  As such, people should be treated with dignity, understanding, kindness, respect, and sensitivity.  If a perspective of client wellness is lacking or absent, clients will likely experience a more difficult road to recovery and may not achieve wellness.  What is healthier – being an “expert” clinician whose views of client illness cause him or her to be closed to considering a client’s optimal recovery, or being a clinician who treats a person as a person, and who applies a wellness perspective that supports rather than negatively judges the client?  You be the judge.