10/03/2013 03:31 pm ET Updated Dec 03, 2013

Final Days With Your Pet: How Music Can Help Your Mind Help Your Companion

Saying goodbye to our pets is one of the most difficult things we ever have to do. So many individuals face this situation daily that I have decided to dedicate this blog to sharing an attention training technique that has helped others (and me too) while in hospice as well as relieve some of its inevitable pain.

Those of us who have had to care for a senior pet know that we try our best to do everything we can to make things peaceful and comfortable. Sometimes there is a regiment of meds and other treatments that makes the "to-dos" hard for you and your pet. Or maybe it is a handicap your pet is dealing with (or both) that is making things difficult. Then, there is the time element. Maybe you are getting up at all hours of the night to nurse your companion and, of course, you want to give your best and all no matter what the scenario. But as you know it is not always easy, and sometimes your energies and awareness runs low.

Here is something that may work for you as it did for someone I know.

Lora, who is single, works in management. She had been nursing her golden retriever, Essie, for over a year. Essie's issues were such that she needed to go out periodically throughout the nights and because she couldn't always get up by herself required Lora's help even to get a drink. She was on pain meds that made her thirsty most of the time. So Lora had been waking on schedule for months. She was weary. Sometimes she said she felt like she was sleepwalking through the care. She wanted to be more present and offer Essie calm and loving care -- not just go through the motions. She decided the fix was in her own mindset.

Here is what she did.

She thought of a song that she knew could elevate her mood and help organize her -- one that, for her, would be fool-proof. That song, for her, was from Vivaldi's The Four Seasons -- Spring.

She decided to play the song in her mind as soon as she heard Essie barking her awake. The first time she did it, she had to remember to do it. But then with each time afterward, the song started coming to mind quicker. Essie's bark would actually trigger it. Soon it was virtually instantaneous.

When she heard the song, she not only became alert and organized, but she became alert and organized happily. This allowed her to flow to her pet and also flow through whatever needed to be done. She sometimes played the song in her mind more than once if it was a particularly difficult moment or night. She discovered that she was a lot more relaxed this way and so was her dog as a result. She spoke to Essie more gently and with loving self-awareness. She felt better about herself and the care she was offering her companion.

Music can help focus your attention, even in painful circumstances. It can, in situations like Lora's, help make positive memories of the time you have left with a loved one and help soothe the situation, for both present and future, with dignity, peace, and warmth. Perhaps, it is right for you.

Songs will be so personal; I will only recommend, for this blog, the one from our example. Whatever you choose will be best for you. Just play it in your mind as soon as your pet calls like the soundtrack of a great film in which you are both starring.

Sample Song
The Four Seasons, Spring, Vivaldi

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