Despite the many advances of Allopathy, the many remedies of Homeopathy and the boundless advice of every other alternative healing system, we each have to work out from first principles when we try to heal. Every time I'm unable to save a dog, I know I did something wrong - my basic understanding of the disease is wrong.
Pummi was a classic example of not being able to heal her disease with Thuja and Pulsatilla - two remedies that can't be praised enough in homeopathy. She drew those two like a sponge, but something was missing. The same with all the elemental remedies. I've used them time and again (like an insane person doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different result!:) to lose the dog. I've had enough of this half-baked way of following the leader. I love suggestions of remedies, but I'll judge for myself if they're worthwhile or not.
When I got this old dog, Ancient, and tried to revive him, I reached for the Ranunculae - Aconite and Pulsatilla - textbook style for exposure. I held Pulsatilla 1m to his spine and immediately he began to struggle for breath, jaw gaping and not being able to draw any air in. I had read somewhere on the net when I looked for remedies to help euthanize Pummi that Pulsatilla is used to ease death. Immediately I stopped and began with the Umbelliferae - and he survived! So far.
When Kitpit injured his hipbone, the obvious Symphytum and Rhus tox came to mind, but I expected Arnica and Aconite to help more. But nope. This reminded me of how I couldn't save Rambo (was that his name?) from Vngr after his hip injury with those two. The remedy healing her best is Camphor - go figure. How strange.
So, you see that textbooks can be wrong. Teachers can be wrong, authors can be wrong and Hahnemann can be wrong. Or at least, their knowledge was incomplete and human - we've got to set their advice in perspective (along with all the advice on the net) and judge from the animal's reaction itself.
The other side of learning curve was the puzzling occasional success I had with rare and strange remedies like Angustura for a shelter dog, Ruta when I was working out and Eucalyptus, Pilocarpus, Phytolacca and Physostigma for most dogs.
I couldn't fit them into any pattern until I classified all my remedies into plant families. Even then, it took Pummi's death for me to see the whole picture of how it works from Umbelliferae down the development of plant species. I'm really sad that I couldn't understand it fast enough to save her.
Sometimes I think of my animals as angels that suffer in front of me so that I don't get complaisant and stop trying to figure out how to heal better. I'm the ordinary confused mix of intelligence, laziness and obedience to the past (imitation?) that characterizes humans. Without the rage and sorrow I feel when I lose a life, I would just stick to giving them what the books say works. Perhaps this is what happens to most homeopaths in practise - why so many centuries later, homeopathy hasn't advanced at all from gloomy uncertainty to dazzling perfection.
I always thank my animal friends for not giving up on me, for bearing with my mistakes and hanging on until I learn something, or learn to change something, in my healing system. More power to them.