for those of you who frequent facebook, i have created a fan page for you to join and talk about your losses.
Hold the onions to help ensure good health for your cat
*New Finding* Heinz body anemia is a red blood cell abnormality that can develop in cats who eat onions. Symptoms include fever, lethargy, vomiting, depression, and loss of appetite and require a veterinarian's immediate attention. In larger doses, onions can cause kidney damage or worse. Keep onions in any form -- raw, cooked, powdered, or dried -- out of your cat's diet.
Preparation and learning to cope with loss...what you can expect to go through.
The First Stage: Denial
Denial is the initial response of many pet owners when confronted with a pet's terminal condition or sudden death. This rejection seems to be the mind's buffer against a sharp emotional blow.
The Second Stage: Bargaining
This stage is well documented in the human grieving process. Many times, faced with impending death, an individual may "bargain" - offering some condition if the loved one is spared. The hope that a pet might recover can foster reactions like, "If Sam recovers, I'll never skip his regular walk . . . never put him in a kennel when I go on vacation, . . . never. . . "
The Third Stage: Anger
Recognizing anger in the grief process is seldom a problem; dealing with anger however, often is. Anger can be obvious, as in hostility or aggression. On the other hand, anger often turns inward, emerging as guilt. Many veterinarians have heard the classic anger response, "What happened? I thought you had everything under control and now you've killed my dog!" Another standard: "You never really cared about Rover. He was just another fee to you, and I'm the one who has lost my pet!"
Such outbursts help relieve immediate, frustrations, though often at the expense of someone else. More commonly, pet owners dwell on the past. The number of "If only . . ." regrets are endless: "If only I hadn't left the dog at my sister's house . . ." "If only I had taken Kitty to the veterinarian a week ago . . ." Whether true or false, such recriminations and fears do little to relieve anger and are not constructive. Here, your veterinarian's support is particularly helpful.
The Fourth Stage: Grief
This is the stage of true sadness. The pet is gone, along with the guilt and anger, and only an emptiness remains. It is now that the support of family and friends is most important and sadly, the most difficult to find. A lack of support prolongs the grief stage. Therefore, the pet owner may want to seek some help from their veterinarian, pet cemeterian, or from a professional counselor.
It is normal, and should be acceptable, to display grief when a companion animal dies. It is helpful, too, to recognize that other pet owners have experienced similar strong feelings, and that you are not alone in this feeling of grief. Don't ever feel embarrassed or ashamed. Your pain is very real and your loss a heavy one.
The Final Stage: Resolution
All things come to an end - even grieving. As time passes, the sadness evolves into memories of joyful times. And, more often than not, part of the remedy lies in a new pet, a new companion animal to fill the need for a pet in the household. Keep in mind, you're not replacing your beloved friend. Nothing can ever do that. You're filling a very deep void in your heart with new love for a new companion. It's time to complete the healing.
The College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University offers a free phone-based pet loss hotline for pet loss support, death of a pet, dying pet. Staffed by veterinary students, trained by a licensed therapist, as well as a pet memorial site where pet owners can post stories and photos in memory of their pets.
By Gina Spadaforei
The Short Life of a Pet is not Measured in Time, but in Love
The patterns of one's life often are captured and defined by the all-too-short life of a very special animal.
I know this all too well now. I've been spending a lot of time remembering, analyzing and, yes, crying, after losing my 10-year-old dog Lance last week, a victim of the cancer that had finally come roaring back after more than 18 months of dormancy.
Two years ago this month, a veterinarian I didn't know, then a young associate at the hospital we patronized, told me Lance wouldn't make it through the summer, if he even made it through the next few hours. He told me this over the anesthetized form of my dog, who'd gone in for a biopsy and come out with a reconstructed bladder after the young veterinarian acted on a hunch that what he wanted to do might work.
It did. Lance recovered and thrived for that summer and the next one, as the vet, now out on his own, ended each of Lance's frequent examinations with a shake of his head and an expression of amazement. It was a precious time, too good to last, and just before Christmas, a smidgen of blood in the bottom of a test tube gave us the news we'd all feared: The cancer was back.
by Martha M. Tousley, CNS-BC, FT
People I encounter in pet grief support groups are often shocked to discover how bad they feel when their pets die. Statements such as "I don't know what's wrong with me. I didn't feel this bad when my grandmother (acquaintance, friend, relative) died" are common. And so the question arises, why do so many of us feel the loss of a companion animal so intently - and is it normal to feel this way?
There is no question that companion animals are becoming more valued in our society than they were just 20 or 30 years ago. Statistics indicate that more people in the United States today have pets than children, and most pet owners regard their pets as members of the family.
How we react to the death of any family member- human or animal- depends to a large extent on the part they've played in our daily lives, the significance of our relationships with them, and the strength of our attachments to them.
When a pet dies, owners often ask their veterinarian whether they should show the body to their other pets. They ask this in a sincere effort to help "explain" the finality of what has occurred to the surviving pets - to let them know why their buddy won't be coming home.
Whether this is helpful is the subject of debate ... and there is little evidence to support either view. On one hand, it may be argued that pets do not have the cognitive ability to understand the finality of death. Showing them a body would be like letting a 2-year-old see a deceased family member at a funeral – the consequences just don't register. On the other hand, it can be argued that dogs and cats see death as we do, and that viewing a deceased companion does help to explain why that pet won't be around in the future.
By: Karen Commings
One meaningful way to pay tribute to your dog's memory is to donate to an animal organization in his name.
The human-animal bond is strong, sometimes as strong as any you may have with a person. When an animal companion dies, it can be just as heartbreaking as the death of a human loved one. Unfortunately, animal lovers are often met with insensitive comments, such as, "It was only a dog," or "Just get another one" when a dog companion dies. The dog's caregiver is left to mourn in private or get emotional support from strangers who might staff pet-loss support lines.
If the person experiencing the death of a dog is a child, finding ways to validate the pain of the loss is vital to helping the youngster through the mourning process and the feelings of grief.
Special Memorial Projects
Preserving and cherishing your dog's memory will help you find emotional support in your time of loss among those who love their pets as much as you. Everyone grieves in different ways, so finding an appropriate way to memorialize your pet is an individual decision.
What to know when making the toughest decision
by Becky Mokkenkamp
(as shown in Prevention Magazine, All Rights Reserved)
Pancho was bloated and had been moaning for hours when her owner took her to the vet. Alison Benton knew that her 13yo Boston Terrier was gravely ill, but she was unprepared for the diagnosis of terminal congestive heart failure.
"There was kind of disbelief," she recalls. "Then I cried." Medication eased Pancho's discomfort, but she became progressively weaker until she was unable to walk to her water bowl. Finally, Benton and her husband decided they needed to end the dog's suffering, though it meant ending her life. Now, two years later, Benton says that putting Pancho down was the kindest thing they could have done.
Coping with Pet Loss: "Am I Crazy to Feel So Sad about This?"
By Marty Tousley
You've just learned that your family's beloved pet is terminally ill. The vet gives your cherished companion less than a month to live! As the sad reality of losing this important member of your family sets in, a million thoughts race through your head.
Whether struggling with an animal companion's chronic illness, facing a decision about euthanasia, or mourning the loss of a cherished pet, most animal lovers are shocked and overwhelmed by the intensity of their reactions. They wonder if it is normal to feel the loss of a companion animal so deeply. Statements such as "I don't know what's wrong with me. I didn't feel this bad when my grandmother (acquaintance, friend, relative) died" are common. If this is a family's first encounter with death, parents may be uncertain how to guide their children through the experience of losing a beloved pet.
Death and dying are two of the hardest facts of life to explain to children. Very often, the death of a family pet is a child's first encounter with this immutable law of nature. How we handle this event can have a far-reaching impact on our children's understanding of death and dying.
Eleven-year-old Maria, for instance, was used to greeting her cat Feifel every day after school. One day, he didn't appear. Maria and her mother found Feifel under a bed, breathing weakly. The veterinarian said Feifel had heart disease. He might be able to save him, but Feifel was 14 and suffered from several other age-related problems.
His quality of life would only grow worse. The most humane course to take was euthanasia. Later, her family held a memorial service, and Maria wrote poems about him.
by Martha M. Tousley, CNS-BC, FT
In his runaway bestseller, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, author John Gray examines in detail what most of us intuitively already know. Men and women are very different from each other in how they think, how they feel and how they behave.
So it is with grieving. When a cherished pet is critically ill or has died, men and women will not experience or express their reactions in the same way. Failure to understand and accept our different ways of grieving can result in hurt feelings and conflict between partners and among family members during a very difficult time.
There are big decisions to be made - whether to proceed with expensive diagnostic procedures or treatments, choices about euthanasia, options for care of the pet's body after death. There are good-byes to be said and there is grief work to be done. Behaviors can be misinterpreted; needs may be misunderstood; expectations may not be met.
Male grief has certain characteristics that are important for us to know. Otherwise we may assume that, when faced with the crisis of losing a beloved companion animal, real men don't grieve.
Learning that your pet has a terminal illness can be devastating for a family. Working with a veterinarian you trust to confirm the diagnosis is the first step.
Veterinarian Merry Crimi urges, “Be sure your vet makes an accurate diagnosis, and not just a best guess. Laboratory tests, x-rays, ultrasounds and biopsies can confirm diagnosis of a terminal illness. Be sure you understand how your veterinarian reached his conclusion, and ask how the disease most often progresses.”
The outcome of a terminal illness is death. “Common terminal illnesses include inoperable brain cancer, end stage kidney, and heart failure – diseases where surgery or medicines cannot be effective,” says Crimi.
A second opinion
If you do not feel the spectrum of options given to you is reasonable or you don’t have a trusting relationship with the staff that has seen your pet, seek a second opinion. Another opinion may offer some options you hadn’t considered.
Pet companions may feel awkward about asking for a second opinion. Most veterinarians can appreciate that for important decisions, a companion might want another set of eyes and ears. A caring veterinarian will not make it difficult for you to get more information or consult with another professional.
A survey in the Veterinary Record listed the most common reason for cats and dogs to be put to sleep as terminal illness (51%). Old age or senility accounts for 37% of cat and dog euthanasias. Cats are twice as likely (10%) than dogs (5%) to require euthanasia because of traumatic injuries, for example, road accidents, which sadly are more common among cats. However, only 1% of cats, as opposed to 6% of dogs, are put to sleep because of behavioral problems.
(The list of a pet's basic needs below is universally recorded elsewhere but these criteria are intended only as guidelines when used as a benchmark in deciding your pet's well-being. Euthanasia may not be appropriate even if some of these criteria are not met. Each case for euthanasia should be judged on its own merits and your vet should always be consulted beforehand. As the owner you also know your pet better than anyone.)
- Freedom from uncontrollable pain, distress and discomfort.
- Ability to walk and balance.
- Ability to eat and drink without pain and vomiting.
- Freedom from painful, inoperable tumours.
- Ability to breathe freely and without difficulty.
- Ability to hold up head when at rest.
- Ability to urinate and defecate without difficulty or incontinence.
- Ability to see and hear.
- Ability to enjoy food.
- Pet responds to owner and family.
- Not suffering from repeated vomiting and/or convulsions.
The loss of a pet or a non-human animal to which one has become emotionally bonded can be an intense loss, comparable with the death of a loved one. Whilst there is strong evidence that animals can feel such loss for other animals, this article focuses on human feelings, when an animal is lost, dies or otherwise is departed.
Grief over the loss of a pet is often trivialised, and people who have not experienced it themselves may add to the problem by making insensitive remarks such as "It was just a cat" or "You can always get another". A further complication is that the owner may feel guilty over having chosen to have the pet euthanised.
>Read more here
FUNERALS FOR PETS?
In his delightful 1991 book, UH-OH, minister Robert Fulghum describes how he came to officiate at a memorial service for Gyda, a half German shepherd, half Dalmatian dog who lived in his houseboat "neighborhood" and who came to be loved by him and all who knew her. After Gyda dies, he describes the funeral service as a celebration of Gyda's life, during which all of her family and friends gather together on the dock and tell stories that are as much about themselves as they are about the dog. "My seminary training didn't cover how to perform a dog funeral," he observes. "It takes a real dog to teach that. And when the pupil is ready, the teacher appears."
Last month a reader of this column described to me her family's touching ceremony of remembrance following the death of their beloved dog...
>>Read all of story
Michael Vick has successfully passed an 8 hour 'rigorous' course on animal compassion and protection at PETA's headquarters. He still faces up to 5 years in prison for killing dogs during illegal dogfighting matches.
Grieving the Loss of a Pet
BY: JULIE AXELROD
When a parent, spouse, child or someone close to us dies, our loss is usually met with sympathy, comfort, and offerings of sincere condolence. We are allowed to grieve. We are allowed to cry. We are allowed to experience our emotions. But talk to the millions of pet owners who have had a dog hit by a car or a terminally ill cat euthanized and you will hear quite a different story. Many will tell you that most people did not understand the depth of their grief. Some even experienced the gross insensitivity of a comment like, "Why don't you just get another pet?" Mourning a pet may not only be painful due to the loss itself, but deeper as well due to the potential loneliness of this type of grieving.
Why Are the Feelings So Painful? When we are grieving the loss of a beloved pet, we are actually mourning several losses at the same time. These include: The loss of unconditional love: Our pets provide us with emotional responses that are uninhibited by concern for how their expression appears to others. Many of our human relationships aren't that simple; they can be riddled with anxiety about rejection and other fears that often dictate how we behave and what we share. Our pets do not judge insecurity or imperfection. They are all-accepting in ways few humans can achieve.
From what I have read, indoor pest control has been formulated to be safe for humans and animals. One distinction from this is rodent poison, the pellet kind that looks like guinea pig food. This stuff is dangerous, so homes with animals should use well-concealed glue or snap or cage traps instead.
Outdoor chemicals are often considerably stronger, and precautions should be taken for a determined length of time (talk to your exterminator). Same goes for lawn fertilizer products. Upon initial application, these products are generally not safe for children or pets...after a few days, they are less harmful. Again, talk to the person who distributes these products, they will know best.
Another harmful chemical to cats is antifreeze. For some reason, (veterinarians believe because of its sweet flavor) pets enjoy the taste of this chemical, which is readily found on the garage floors and driveways of most homes. It is best to mop up any spills or leaks once they are found.
The vet college at ISU has always been compassionate to those grieving from pet loss. See their written pet grief resources for use at veterinary clinics or schools or churches with pet loss support groups.
Pet Loss and Grief: How Some
Shelters Are Providing Comfort
at the End
By Cathy M. Rosenthal
Sitting in a circle, seven people clutch framed photos, pet toys,
collars, and tissues, anxiously awaiting the discussion ahead.
Slowly the group begins to tell their stories, as the facilitator
goes around the circle ensuring that everyone gets a turn to
talk. Each person is asked to share something about their pet:
Some people present photos, while others show off their
pet’s favorite toy or give vivid descriptions of their pet’s once
humorous antics. By the end of the two-hour session, people
are crying, hugging, and even laughing, relieved that they
aren’t alone in their sadness or feeling like they must be crazy
because of the death or impending death of their companion
animals. This is what it’s like at a pet loss support group.
>>Get the full article in PDF format here
YOU HAVE CHOSEN TEARS
The little orange boy stopped.
Behind him, kitties were playing, chasing each other and
wrestling in the warm sunshine.
It looked like so much fun, but in front of him, through
the clear stillness of the pond's water, he could see his mommy.
And she was crying.
He pawed at the water, trying to get at her, and when
that didn't work, he jumped into the shallow water. All that got him was wet and Mommy's image danced away in the ripples.
"Mommy!" he cried. "Is something wrong?" The little orange boy turned
A lady was standing at the edge of the pond, her eyes
sad but filled with love.
The little orange boy sighed and walked out of the water.
"There's been a mistake," he said. "I'm not supposed to be here."
He looked back at the water.
It was starting to still again and his mommy's image was coming back.
"I'm just a baby. Mommy said it had to be a mistake. She said I wasn't
supposed to come here yet." The kind lady sighed and sat down on the grass.
The little orange boy climbed into her lap.
It wasn't Mommy's lap, but it was almost as good.
When she started to pet him and scratch under his chin like he liked, he
started to purr. He hadn't wanted to, but he couldn't help it.
"I'm afraid there is no mistake. You are supposed to be
here and your mommy knows it deep down in her heart," the lady said.
The little orange boy sighed and laid his head on the lady's leg.
"But she's so sad. It hurts me to see her cry. And daddy too."
"But they knew right from the beginning this would happen."
"That I was sick?"
Q> One of our family's dogs recently died, and the other seems quite depressed. Should we get a new puppy to ease her blues?
A> Don't head to the pound just yet. While a new addition may cheer up some dogs, others may become even more upset by the change. After all, she would likely be competing for attention with the younger, more active dog. >> Read More....
Hole In My Heart
There's a hole in my heart, left there when you departed,
Blood gushes through my fingertips (figuratively)
Weak, dizzy, crying,and trying to just make sense of this thing
How does anyone survive this and go on?
My heart was so hard from years of abuse
I swore noone but me would have the key.
Then there you were, so tiny and afraid
with the world to grind you up and toss away.
But between your four leg and two of my own
we'd have it made.
So much is missing now that you've passed.
This small house house is way too big.
How could eight lbs. of love make such a difference;
It's not the same house we had at all.
I remember your bark, your snoring, and your licks;
Your eyes begging for a treat your middle didn't need.
I think now I'll retreat and lock my heart's door again
because I could never love as much as you again.
(I love you Chiqui, baby)
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