I had to put down my dog last week. Maya the Pug was 14 years old. Her health had been declining over the last few years, and her troubles progressed to the point that I knew it was time. So what does this have to do with hyperhidrosis?
In the last moments of her life, my hands were sweating so badly that it made it difficult for me to pet my sweet dog and say goodbye.
People may not realize how hyperhidrosis (excessive uncontrollable sweating) can affect people’s lives. This is just one of thousands of examples I could give you. When getting close to someone or something matters most, our sweating can get in the way.
As I prepared to let Maya take her final breaths here on Earth before she crossed the rainbow bridge, I was already sweating. We had a licensed professional come to our home for the procedure rather than taking her to the vet and coming home without her. Normally when people come over, my hands and feet are sweaty for awhile. For some reason, the doorbell is a trigger for my hyperhidrosis. My puddles started and continued until the technician left with my dog bundled in a blanket.
As she walked us through the procedure and how long it would take, we sat on the rug in the family room holding our sweet girl. We hadn’t vacuumed, and at that point did it really even matter? I had socks on, so her fur stuck to my socks and not to my bare feet. It’s a rare occurrence you’ll find me walking around without socks on anyway. Leave wet footprints everywhere? No thanks.
As Maya began to relax, my husband was the one holding her. I didn’t feel like I could because my hands were soaking wet. Instead of using my palm to pet her, I flipped it over and stroked her soft fur with the back of my hand instead. This was not a moment where I needed to worry about my hyperhidrosis, yet here it was regardless, getting in the way of saying goodbye to my fur baby that’s seen me through so many of life’s moments, both wet and dry.
While I know Maya didn’t care about how sweaty my hands were, I cared. How could I not notice it when it became a physical barrier to authentic connection with my dog?
Maybe you’re not familiar with hyperhidrosis yet, and that’s okay. The next time you come across someone with an excessive sweating problem, I encourage you to toss aside any instantaneous judgments or reactions you might have. It’s not just a little sweat, no big deal, everyone sweats, or whatever other thoughts might run through your brain. Those who deal with it can’t escape it. Yes, we can control the thoughts we think and how we navigate life with excessive sweating. We can decide not to have a victim mentality because of our hyperhidrosis. But sometimes, we just want to pet our animals like everyone else.