What do dogs and caregivers have in common?

We have two large hound dogs that are siblings from the same litter. The black and white male is named Hooch and the tan colored female is Hannah. These dogs have been a handful to train, but they are also wonderful companions. We have replaced their plush pet beds with indestructible K9 Ballistic cots as Hooch and Hannah kept chewing up the cloth bedding. Our dogs can be very competitive at times, even scrapping and growling at each other. However, when Hooch and Hannah are cold or scared, they will curl up together on one of the cots. They do need each other!

Sometimes illness or stress can bring conflicts between loved ones, even family and close friends. Patience and good humor are often stretched to the breaking point between the caregiver and the care receiver. When you are answering the same question for the tenth time that day, it is difficult to remain patient.  When you cannot find something you just used, your patience runs short. When you are exhausted after a long day and your husband asks why you didn’t complete a task he thought should have accomplished, it is difficult to maintain your sense of humor. This is why a caregiver needs a support group or at least one person to whom he or she may complain. Yes, caregivers need an opportunity to complain and vent some of those pent-up emotions. This can be accomplished through a blog for caregivers, but a face-to-face group allows for an accompanying hug or pat on the back, which all of us need from time-to-time.

If you are a caregiver, you need to seek out others to support you mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you know of a caregiver, please offer a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a hug! Understanding what a caregiver needs is one of the reasons I am offering a four-week course called Surviving the Caregiver Marathon with Grace: Training for Serving in the Long Run. In caregiving, as in all marathons, respect is not always earned by the “fastest” or “best,” but by the one who endures and triumphs in the long run. This training supports caregivers so they can finish the run with love and grace. In this course, caregivers and those who wish to support someone in this role, learn how to build physical and spiritual stamina, how to handle a care receiver’s changing emotional or physical health, and how to develop a support team. We’ll also read encouraging Biblical passages that will strengthen you and make laughter a priority to lighten your day and speed you on your way.

Join me for this interactive overview of the most current research and literature written specifically for today’s caregivers. Come be supported and encouraged by others who by God’s grace and love have made it through the caregiving marathon!

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