Tag Archives: healing

Dog Heals Family… And Vice Versa

by on February 23, 2016

pets rescue spca
By Debbie Goren

2013 was a tough year for the Goren family. We had lost my beloved father to brain cancer after six grueling months of slowly watching this wonderful father and grandfather slip away. His passing left a hole in our hearts and our healing would be slow.

2013 was also a tough year for a stray dog who was dumped in Half Moon Bay without a collar, microchip, or any signs of his owner. The unkempt black-and white mutt was taken to the Peninsula Humane Society in Burlingame, where it was found that his right eye was so severely infected and swollen it no longer served any purpose but pain, and had to be removed. In addition, the little guy was sick with a stomach bug he had picked up from drinking gutter water.

Our lives aligned the day my family decided that in order to continue our healing, we needed love and needed to give love. We went to the SPCA where we sighted the one-eyed dog and were intrigued. Could we get to know him better? In the greeting room, he was scampering round, giving kisses, and rolling over for belly scratches, ecstatic over the affection and attention our boys were heaping on him. As I watched and fell in love, I realized it was no accident that we had found each other. We both needed healing.

We kept his shelter name, Thomas, and made it official by engraving it on a shiny, new bone-shaped doggie tag. To say this former stray helped our family emerge from a dark time would be an understatement. Our boys, 12-year old Jonathan and 9-year-old Zach, love Thomas so much that we have a written schedule for who gets to sleep with him each night. After a long day at work, he welcomes my husband at the door, and I see the stress melt away as David bends down to return the enthusiastic canine greeting. When my mother visits, she cuddles her furry grandpuppy in her arms and serenades him with Yiddish lullabies, while the other doggie grandparents are always volunteering as “Thomas-sitters.” Our boy has also become the unofficial class mascot for Jonathan’s 7th grade class.

When I can steal Thomas from other family members, I take him with me everywhere. At night, Thomas nestles next to one of us in bed and we listen to him snore. We feel comforted by the sound, even if others might be bothered by the wheezing, snorts, and snuffles. Instead, we hear something else: contentment, love, and healing.


Prayer Rx

by on October 8, 2015

prayer rx

I had recently returned from a medical conference, and the first patient I faced at 8:30 AM on a Monday morning was a woman who the physician in chief of the medical center wanted me to see because she was a problematic patient. She had been visiting the Emergency Department monthly for vague neurological complaints for more than half a year. Despite many negative brain scans and other tests, she was convinced she had multiple sclerosis, and she insisted on treatment with high dose intravenous steroids. When steroid treatment was denied her, she Continue reading

Music As Therapy

by on June 9, 2015


My Patient
Irene (not her real name) was my patient for many years, and during a routine visit she showed me a lump on her abdomen which turned out to be metastatic pancreatic cancer. I went to visit her one afternoon in hopes of offering her some comfort. The day I visited her was sunny and cloudless, but when I entered the mobile home, I was ushered in by her daughter into a low-lit room with all the shades drawn. Irene was lying in bed surrounded by Continue reading