When Saying Too Much, Is Just Too Much!

As some of you may know, we just experienced the devastating loss of our beloved Coral on December 15th, 2016.  From when we first learned something was seriously wrong, to when we had to make the decision to say goodbye was a span of a brutal 2 ½ days.

Needless to say our heads were spinning, and we couldn’t take in all we were being told. A sense of unreality surrounded us as we visited four different veterinary services in two days, beginning with Coral’s regular Arizona veterinarian, and ending with the emergency clinic where we had to make the decision to let her go.

In the middle of this crisis, we became keenly aware of what sorts of communication comforted us, helped us process information, and which did not.  While everyone treated us and Coral with kindness, some conversational styles just grated on our raw nerves while others soothed and calmed us.

We decided to make this the topic of this month’s Biscuit series for Behavior Education Network members.

As behavior and training professionals, we may not often be talking to clients who are considering euthanasia, (although that DOES happen)  but you WILL be talking to people who are making other difficult and emotional decisions or who have just been shocked and frightened by something their pet has done.

The mistake that impacted us the most was when people said too much too quickly.  

We were still in disbelief that we, and Coral, were in this situation.  Circumstances seemed to be racing by, moving at warp speed, while we felt we were paddling under water. We just wanted to yell STOP!

People whose dogs have just bitten someone, or whose pets have been in a terrifying fight, or whose dog has just injured itself trying to get out of a crate, are also experiencing something similar.  What we, and they, don’t need is more emotion, and more information overload.  Too much information that is simply impossible to process in a short period of time.

Yet that’s our tendency.  As professionals we want to share ALL the knowledge we have.  But that might not be what our clients need in the moment.

Find out what to do instead in this month’s Behavior Education Network Biscuit series on “Effective and Compassionate Communication Tips For Emotionally Difficult Times”.  This month, the series has five articles (each Biscuit is delivered every Tuesday) that include specific strategies and techniques to make communication during emotionally laden times more comforting for your clients, and less stressful for you.

Topics include:

—- how to slow communication down to make it easier for clients to hear you
—- how best to respond to emotions – yours and your clients’
—- what to do with silence, tears or anger
—- dos and don’ts for tactile communication
—- how to choose the best follow-up responses

Join us in Behavior Education Network today.  Just click this HOME button  link, or in the top navigation to discover all our member benefits and join us today to receive this Biscuit series and scores of other immediately available in the BEN members area.


  • Suzanne-Dan

    January 19, 2017

    We’re so glad you got to have him for 14 years Cheryl. We so wanted another year with Coral, but it just wasn’t to be. I hope the two of them found each other at the Bridge. Trying to focus on the gratitude but some days are harder than others. Good to hear from you, and our condolences.

  • Cheryl Kolus

    January 19, 2017

    I’m so sorry to hear about Coral. I said goodbye to my precious golden on Dec. 14, a week before his 14th birthday, so I feel your pain only too well. “How lucky we are to share something so beautiful that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

  • Suzanne-Dan

    January 19, 2017

    Thanks Ricki. She was one of those ‘heart dogs’ that we get if we’re lucky once or twice in a lifetime. We’ve loved them all but Coral was in a class by herself.

  • Ricki Feist

    January 19, 2017

    I was so sad to hear in your Christmas card that your beautiful Coral had crossed the rainbow bridge. It is so hard to say goodbye to our furry family members. My heart goes out to you both.


  • Suzanne-Dan

    January 3, 2017

    Thanks Laurie for your thoughts. We’ve heard from many people who have enjoyed hearing about Coral over the years. That’s such a comfort – to know that we were able to share her, and what a special soul she was. She deserved more time on this planet than she had, and we would have done anything to have been able to give it to her.

  • Laurie Mosher

    January 3, 2017

    Suzanne and Dan,
    just a note to tell you how sorry I am to hear about Coral. I have followed you, and although I am not a BEN member have enjoyed hearing about Coral for several years. So sorry for your loss.
    Laurie Mosher

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field