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Archive for March 8th, 2014

Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

I was thrilled as I always am when I was nominated for not only the Shauny award but
shaunyawardalso the Friends and Followers Award by Sherri Matthews who writes from her summerhouse. She has a wonderful blog -she stirs kinds of emotions with her writing , humour and the occasional sadness. Her enjoyable from the heart memories will stir your own memories and together you can wander down a path that perhaps you weren’t planning on exploring today but the sheer unexpectedness of it and the delight she gives you makes that path even more special. Sherri also writes about Aspergers as her daughter has this condition. An interview she did recently with her daughter was fascinating and can be found at

http://sherrimatthewsblog.com/2014/02/19/awards-part-three-the-shauny-award-for-blogging-excellence-and-seven-awards-in-one/

The Shauny Award. Was created by Dr Rex who created this award to acknowledge the efforts and multiple contributions that a lad, Shaun Gibson, has shown since he…

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Thank-You

The Cranky Giraffe

image I want to thank all of you, my blogging friends.  Sometimes I forget how wonderfully connected I am to this little place and it is times like this that remind me how important blogging is in my life.

You have all been so empathetic and supportive of me through this hard time.  In some ways, your words have been more helpful than some of the things I have heard from people in my “real life.”

I was aimlessly walking through a store the other day and saw these pictures.  I had to buy them. I was aimlessly walking through a store the other day and saw these pictures. I had to buy them.

This week I was reminded that we ultimately have no control over where our lives are headed.  I continue to be sad that I am leaving behind the wonderful life I have built for myself in this city.  However, I am beginning to open my arms up with only faith to all the possibilities that I…

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petsssssssssss              petsssssssssss

       

For many people a pet is not “just a dog” or “just a cat.” Pets are beloved members of the family and, when they die, you feel a significant, even traumatic loss. The level of grief depends on factors such as your age and personality, the age of your pet, and the circumstances of their death. Generally, the more significant the loss, the more intense the grief you’ll feel.

Grief can be  complicated by the role the animal played in your life. For example, if your  pet was a working dog or a helper animal such as a guide dog, then you’ll not  only be grieving the loss of a companion but also the loss of a coworker or the  loss of your independence. If  you cared for your pet through a protracted illness, you likely grew to love  him even more. If you lived alone and the pet was your only companion,  coming to terms with his loss can be even harder. If you were unable to afford  expensive veterinary treatment to prolong the life of your pet, you may even  feel a profound sense of guilt.

Everyone grieves differently

Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience.  Some people find grief comes in stages, where they experience different  feelings such as denial, anger, guilt, depression, and eventually acceptance  and resolution. Others find that grief is more cyclical, coming in waves, or a  series of highs and lows. The lows are likely to be deeper and longer at the  beginning and then gradually become shorter and less intense as time goes by. Still,  even years after a loss, a sight, a sound, or a special anniversary can spark  memories that trigger a strong sense of grief.

  • The grieving process happens only gradually. It can’t be forced or hurried—and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving.  Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving  process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to  be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.
  • Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is a  normal reaction to the loss of a beloved pet. Exhibiting these feelings  doesn’t mean you are weak, so you shouldn’t feel ashamed.
  • Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from  surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing, it is  necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it. By expressing your  grief, you’ll likely need less time to heal than if you withhold or “bottle up”  your feelings. Write about your feelings and talk with others about them.

Dealing with the loss of a pet when others  devalue your loss

One aspect that can make grieving for the loss of a  pet so difficult is that pet loss is not appreciated by everyone. Friends and  family may ask “What’s the big deal? It’s just a pet!” Some people assume that  pet loss shouldn’t hurt as much as human loss, or that it is somehow  inappropriate to grieve for an animal. They may not understand because they  don’t have a pet of their own, or because they are unable to appreciate the  companionship and love that a pet can provide.

  • Don’t  argue with others about whether your grief is appropriate or not.
  • Accept  the fact that the best support for your grief may come from outside your usual  circle of friends and family members.
  • Seek  out others who have lost pets; those who can appreciate the magnitude of your  loss, and may be able to suggest ways of getting through the grieving process.

Tips for coping with the grief of pet loss

Sorrow and grief are normal and natural responses to death.  Like grief for humans, grief for animal companions can only be dealt with over  time, but there are healthy ways to cope with the pain. Here are some suggestions:

  • Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel, and don’t tell yourself how to feel either. Your grief is your own, and no one  else can tell you when it’s time to “move on” or “get over it.” Let yourself  feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgment. It’s okay to be  angry, to cry or not to cry. It’s also okay to laugh, to find moments of joy,  and to let go when you’re ready.
  • Reach out to others who have lost pets. Check out online message boards, pet loss hotlines, and pet loss support  groups. If your own friends, family members, therapist, or clergy do not work  well with the grief of pet loss, find someone who does.
  • Rituals can help healing. A funeral can  help you and your family members openly express your feelings. Ignore people  who think it’s inappropriate to hold a funeral for a pet, and do what feels  right for you.
  • Create a legacy. Preparing a memorial, planting  a tree in memory of your pet, compiling a photo album or scrapbook, or otherwise  sharing the memories you enjoyed with your pet, can create a legacy to  celebrate the life of your animal companion.
  • Look after yourself. The stress of losing  a pet can quickly deplete your energy and emotional reserves. Looking after  your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult  time. Eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly to release  endorphins and help boost your mood.
  • If you have other pets, try to maintain  your normal routine. Surviving pets can also experience loss when a pet  dies, or they may become distressed by your sorrow. Maintaining their daily  routines, or even increasing exercise and play times, will not only benefit the  surviving pets but may also help to elevate your outlook too.

Tips for seniors to cope with pet loss

As we age, we experience an increasing number of major life  changes, including the loss of beloved friends, family members, and pets. The  death of a pet can hit retired seniors even harder than younger adults who may  be able to draw on the comfort of a close family, or distract themselves with  the routine of work. For older adults who live alone, the pet was probably your  sole companion, and taking care of the animal provided you with a sense of  purpose and self-worth.

  • Try to find new meaning and joy in life. Caring for a pet previously occupied your time and boosted your morale and  optimism. Try to fill that time by volunteering, picking up a long-neglected  hobby, taking a class, helping friends care for their pets, or even by getting  another pet when the time feels right.
  • Stay connected with friends. Pets, dogs  especially, can help seniors meet new people or regularly connect with friends  and neighbors while out on a walk or in the dog park, for example. Having lost  your pet, it’s important that you don’t now spend day after day alone. Try to spend time with at least one person every day. Regular face-to-face contact can help you ward off depression and stay  positive. Call up an old friend or neighbor for a lunch date or join a club.
  • Boost your vitality with exercise. Pets  help many older adults stay active and playful, which can boost your immune  system and increase your energy. It’s important to keep up your activity levels  after the loss of your pet. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise  program and then find an activity that you enjoy. Exercising in a group—by  playing a sport such as tennis or golf, or taking an exercise or swimming class—can  also help you connect with others.

Helping a child cope with pet loss

The loss of a pet may be your child’s first experience of  death—and your first opportunity to teach them about coping with the grief and  pain that inevitably accompanies the joy of loving another living creature. Losing  a pet can be a traumatic experience for any child. Many kids love their pets  very deeply and some may not even remember a time in their life when the pet  wasn’t around. A child may feel angry and blame themselves—or you—for the pet’s  death. A child may feel scared that other people or animals they love may also  leave them. How you handle the grieving process can determine whether the  experience has a positive or negative effect on your child’s personal  development.

Some parents feel they should try to shield their children  from the sadness of losing a pet by either not talking about the pet’s death,  or by not being honest about what’s happened. Pretending the animal ran away,  or “went to sleep,” for example, can leave a child feeling even more confused,  frightened, and betrayed when they finally learn the truth. It’s far better to  be honest with children and allow them the opportunity to grieve in their own  way.

Tips for a helping a child cope with the loss of a  pet

  • Let your child see you express your own  grief at the loss of the pet. If you don’t experience the same sense of  loss as your child, respect their grief and let them express their feelings  openly, without making them feel ashamed or guilty. Children should feel proud  that they have so much compassion and care deeply about their animal  companions.
  • Reassure your child that they weren’t  responsible for the pet’s death. The death of a pet can raise a lot of  questions and fears in a child. You may need to reassure your child that you,  their parents, are not also likely to die. It’s important to talk about all  their feelings and concerns.
  • Involve your child in the dying process. If you’ve chosen euthanasia for your pet, be honest with your child. Explain why  the choice is necessary and give the child chance to spend some special time  with the pet and say goodbye in his or her own way.
  • If possible, give the child an opportunity  to create a memento of the pet. This could be a special photograph, or a  plaster cast of the animal’s paw print, for example.
  • Allow the child to be involved in any  memorial service, if they desire. Holding a funeral or creating a memorial  for the pet can help your child express their feelings openly and help process  the loss.
  • Do not rush out to get the child a  “replacement pet” before they have had chance to grieve the loss they feel.  Your child may feel disloyal, or you could send the message that the grief and  sadness felt when something dies can simply be overcome by buying a replacement.

Making the decision to put a pet to sleep

A decision concerning euthanasia may be one of the most  difficult decisions you will ever have to make for your pet. As a loving pet  owner, though, the time may come when you need to help your pet make the  transition from life to death, with the help of your veterinarian, in as  painless and peaceful a way as possible.

Knowing when it’s time to put a pet to sleep

Euthanasia for a beloved pet is highly personal decision and  usually comes after a diagnosis of a terminal illness and with the knowledge that  the animal is suffering seriously. Your choices for your pet should be informed  by the care and love you feel for the animal. Important things to consider  include:

  • Activity  level. Does your pet still enjoy previously loved activities or is he/she  able to be active at all?
  • Response  to care and affection. Does your pet still interact and respond to love and  care in the usual ways?
  • Amount  of pain and suffering. Is your pet experiencing pain and suffering which  outweigh any pleasure and enjoyment in life?
  • Terminal  illness or critical injury. Have illness or injury prohibited your pet from  enjoying life? Is your pet facing certain death from the injury or illness?
  • Your family’s feelings. Is your family  unanimous in the decision? If not, and you still feel it is the best thing for  your pet, can you live with the decision that you have to make?

If you do decide that ending the suffering is in your pet’s  best interest, take your time to create a process that is as peaceful as  possible for you, your pet, and your family. You may want to have a last day at  home with the pet in order to say goodbye, or to visit the pet at the animal  hospital. You can also choose to be present during your pet’s euthanasia, or to  say goodbye beforehand and remain in the veterinary waiting room or at home.  This is an individual decision for each member of the family.

What to expect when putting your dog or cat to sleep

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, euthanasia  for a pet is most often achieved by injection of a death-inducing drug. The  veterinarian may administer a tranquilizer first to relax your pet. Following the  injection of the euthanasia drug, your pet will immediately become unconscious.  Death is quick and painless. Your pet may move its legs or breathe deeply  several times after the drug is given, but these are reflexes and don’t mean  that your pet is in pain or is suffering.

How to explain pet euthanasia to a child

Explain that the pet is ill, often suffering, and  that you have the ability to end that suffering in a very humane and gentle  way. It is a simple injection, very peaceful and painless, and if you really  love a pet you have to make these kinds of difficult decisions.

  • Children  tend to feed off of how their parents react. If a parent is hysterical, the  children will be the same. If the parents are truly sad, and deal with the  sadness in a healthy and thoughtful manner, the children will follow their  example.
  • If  you are putting your beloved pet to sleep for the right reasons, tell your  children that it is OK to feel sad, but don’t feel guilty. These are two very  different emotions. You should feel sad, and your children can feel the sadness,  but don’t mix guilt in with the sadness. One emotion is healthy, the other  terribly burdensome.

Source: Dr. Larry

Getting another dog or cat: Moving on after pet loss

There are many wonderful reasons to once again share your  life with a companion animal, but the decision of when to do so is a very  personal one. It may be tempting to rush out and fill the void left by your  pet’s death by immediately getting another pet. In most cases, it’s best to  mourn the old pet first, and wait until you’re emotionally ready to open your  heart and your home to a new animal.

Some retired seniors living alone, however, may find it  hardest to adjust to life without a pet. If taking care of an animal provided you  with a sense of purpose and self-worth as well as companionship, you may want  to consider getting another pet at an earlier stage. Of course, seniors also need  to consider their own health and life expectancy when deciding on a new pet.

Each animal is  different, so trying to exactly duplicate your old pet will likely result only  in frustration and disappointment. A new pet should be appreciated fully for  its own sake, not as a direct replacement. That may mean choosing another type of  pet or a different breed  Whatever you decide, give yourself time to  grieve the loss of your old friend and follow your instincts. You will know  when it is right to bring a new animal companion into your life.

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