Posts Tagged ‘saying goodbye to a pet’

How did you preserve your memory of your pet?

March 1, 2015 25 comments

My heart. ❤️Ever since Daisy’s diagnosis for an isulinoma (a cancerous tumor on the pancreas), I have been thinking of ways I can capture some of our most special moments in pictures. Being that she is afraid of the camera, it can be hard to capture her at her most cuddly. I’ve got tons of photos of her running through the woods or sniffing something fascinating at the dog park, but those moments when she just wants to cuddle and get a belly rub? Nada. She sees the camera coming every time. A fast get away soon ensues.

Facing the imminent loss of a pet can make you work harder to preserve those moments. Some do bucket lists with their pets, some schedule “joy sessions” and others choose to get their beloved pet made into a plush toy that they can keep with them long after their pet has passed.

(I have to admit I was a little intrigued by the post I saw on Bored Panda regarding the plush stuffed toy. It would be nice to have a stuffed animal version of Daisy that I can keep with me. Of course, with my luck Jasper would get a hold of it and de-stuff it. Can you imagine the trauma that would cause?)josie-and-clone

I have finally decided that I am going to select a few prize photos that really capture Daisy’s spirit and get them made into canvas prints. I don’t plan on doing it right away (after all Daisy may be with me for years to come), but I will do it, when the time is right.

It’s a somewhat melancholy type of thing to consider, but I wonder if all of you have done something similar to preserve your memories of your pet(s).

What special thing have you done to reserve your pet’s memory? Did it help to ease your grief? How did it comfort you? I would love to hear your stories.

The Top 13 Dog Blog Posts of 2013

December 31, 2013 27 comments

IMG_1443It’s become an annual tradition for me to end the year by sharing those blog posts I thought were most touching, interesting, or emotionally powerful throughout the past year. There was no shortage of amazing writing in 2013.

You may not have the same posts on your list that I have on mine, but I hope you will find them worth reading and sharing.

Have one of your own you want to share? Please do in the comment section below.

Happy New Year everyone!

1. Why Supervising Dogs and Kids Doesn’t Work  and My Dog Got Kicked Out Of Daycare Today by Robin Bennett Yes. Robin had two great posts that made my list this year.  The first one covers an issue near and dear to my heart – dogs and kids. The second one covers another topic I wish all dog owners would heed – not all dogs are made for dog parks or doggy daycare. Both are worth reading.

2. A Cautionary Letter by Nancy Tanner – I remember the first time my friend Nancy directed me to this post. I had such strong feelings after reading it – anger, sadness, despair. If ever there were an argument for people to better understand training methods and their impact on fearful dogs then this is it. Trust me, this will leave an imprint on your mind.

3. What My Dying Dog Taught Me About Life by Alisa Bowman of Project Happily Ever After – Even though I read this post in January, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days afterwards. It is a loving, and at times funny, tribute to a dog who loved well and was well-loved. I cannot help but think that Rhodes left an imprint on many a reader (like me).

4. What Does It Mean to Give Your Pet a Good End? Maybe Not What You Think by Edie Jarolim of Will My Dog Hate Me? – Too often in this world we judge one another based on what “we” would do vs what is right for the person in question. Edie takes on an issue that is often considered taboo in pet lover’s circles – should you be with your dog when their life ends. She handles the issue with her usual class and grace, but makes a great point that I think we could all stand to hear.

5. What’s in a Name? A whole lot of bullshitittypoo by The DogSnobs writers – Okay. I admit it. I really do love The DogSnobs. I love that they have a  no-holds-barred kind of writing style and an I-don’t-give-a-sh*t-what-you-think attitude. This particular post makes fun about all the silly names breeders have given designer dogs. Want to read more? Here are a few that made the Honorable Mention list:  Owner Profile: The Distracted DingbatYour dog isn’t being friendly. He’s an asshole. And so are you., and Put it back, you don’t need that! a.k.a. Picking the correct breed is important. Don’t fuck it up.

6. This test that you keep using…… and Beware the Straw Man by Linda Case of The Science Dog – Although these are two posts in one, they are really linked. Both deal with the issue of canine assessment tests used by many shelters and animal control centers to determine if a dog is adoptable or destined for euthanization. I admit I have a bias on this issue since Daisy and Jasper likely would have fallen into the latter category if they had not ended up at my shelter. Thank goodness they didn’t.

7. What it’s like to meet an angel… by Kaylee Greer of Dog Breath Photography – I first read this story on Kaylee’s Facebook page and was moved to tears. Her big heart and giving nature made one woman’s painful day a little brighter. She later posted it on her blog and I read it all over again. If you haven’t seen any of Kaylee’s photography, it is magical, whimsical and beautiful. You can see some of her work on her blog and on her Facebook page.

8. The Four Phases of a Positive Reinforcement Trainer by Katie Hood of When Hounds Fly – Even though I am not a dog trainer, I could completely relate to this post. In any ways it was the post that created a light-bulb moment for me and changed my overall response to animal welfare issues in general. If you have ever worked in the animal welfare arena, it is worth a read. You will find yourself nodding your head in agreement or holding up that figurative mirror of self-reflection.

9. Chasing Sunsets by Leo of Kenzo the Hovawart (and Viva) – This post may have touched me more than most because it was by a fellow dog blogger and friend, but I thought it would resonate with many of you who have recently lost a beloved four-pawed friend. Recently, Leo and his family went on a journey to retrace the steps he had taken with his late dog, Viva. I thought it was a beautiful follow up to her story.

10. They Never Told Me I Would Love the Snow by Kristine Tonks of Rescued Insanity – Anyone who has read Kristine’s blog knows she has a talent with words. This one in particular is a special one. It’s like poetry. Beautiful and visual.

11. Do Some Dogs Need a Heavier Hand? by Nicole Wilde – Nicole is well-known in the dog training world, but what I love is her unique way of getting a pout across by allowing you to examine the issue from all angles. Here is one particular post that resonated with me this year.

12. Chix-A-Lot Friday: Fostering as a New Years Resolution by Aleksandra of Love and a Six-Foot Leash – I love this post simply because it is so thoroughly covers all the things one should think about and plan for when fostering a dog. If you are considering fostering a dog, read this post first. It can help set your expectations and help you prepare ahead of time.

13. Letting Go Of Ruby: A Lesson In The Dying Light by Lisa from Going to the Dogs – Even though this is a more about her mother than her mother’s dog, their tales and lives are woven together. Poignant and heartfelt. Written beautifully.

Favorite Video Friday – Tribute to Schoep

August 8, 2013 17 comments

I remember the moment I heard that Schoep had died. I couldn’t help by shed a few tears thinking how his dad, John, must have felt losing the best friend who had remained at his side for 20 years. How rare it is to have a friendship like theirs.

Dogs are the special angels in our lives. They listen to us when we need to talk, they comfort us when we are down, they make us laugh at their silly antics and they often allow us to see ourselves in a different light.

The hardest part of having a canine companion, like Schoep, is always in saying goodbye. We go into the relationship knowing someday that they will move on while we remain behind – often sooner than we hope.

John was one of the lucky ones. He had Schoep for two decades. He had a companion who gave him love, strength, courage and hope for twenty years. I imagine that his goodbye was just a little bit harder just because they had been so much a part of each other’s lives for so very long.

That’s why this week’s video touched me so much.

You have seen this already, but if not I hope you will watch it. It was clearly made with love.

Happy Friday everyone.

When a dog dies…

March 21, 2010 4 comments


Today my family said goodbye to my brother’s dog, Remy. Remy was a Chow-Lab mix, and even though he was 15 years old, it still broke our hearts when my brother called us today to say that Remy was not doing well and it was time to say goodbye.

One of the hardest things that we, as pet owners, have to face is saying goodbye to our furry best friends. In some cases, losing a pet can be even harder than losing a family member. That’s because our pets are our companions, confidants, comedians, and best friends. They are with us more than most family members and see us through the good times and the bad.

Given the loss of Remy today, I thought it might be appropriate to post some information about the Five Stages of Grief.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross first introduced the Five Stages of Grief in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying. Although the five stages were designed to help people through the process of grief and tragedy in their own lives, I think they apply to our beloved pets as well.

The Five Stages of Grief are as follows:

1. Denial – “My dog is fine.”; “I’m just being silly. My dog is not showing signs of being sick.” ; “My vet must be wrong, my dog looks fine to me.” – For many pet owners, admitting that our dog is sick or is the near the end of life is too hard to deal with so we pretend that everything is okay. They’re just having a few accidents in the house or they ate two days ago, so they might eat again tomorrow.

2. Anger – “Why my dog? It’s not fair!”; “It’s all my fault. If I had only brought her to the veterinarian sooner, she would be okay.” “I should never have done left him alone.” – Often in the second stage (anger) we look for someone to blame, whether that be our veterinarian, a family member or ourselves. We may even look towards other external sources: dog food companies, boarding facilities, etc.

3. Bargaining – “If I just try this new procedure, I’m sure my dog will be okay.”; “If I just wait a few days/weeks/months, my dog will be better.”; “I might make a decision too soon when my dog could recover.”; “I’ll do anything for just a few more years with my buddy.” – In the third stage, we hope that we can somehow postpone or delay death. Sometimes we even negotiate with God in hopes that we can spend a few more precious days with our friend.

4. Depression – “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I don’t want to do anything now that my best friend is gone.”; “I don’t want to even look at another dog right now. They would just remind me of my loss.” – In the fourth stage, we may find it difficult to eat, sleep, or concentrate and we may not want to be around other people. Our grief overcomes us and we mourn. One of the most difficult things for pet owners to deal with is seeing their pet everywhere they used to be – a favorite rug or chair, playing ball in the yard, searching the kitchen floor for scraps, etc.. This is often the most difficult stage because what was once a possibility is now a reality.

5. Acceptance – “I miss my dog, but I can move on.”; “My dog had a really great life in the time he/she was here.”; “I had some wonderful times with my dog.” – In the fifth stage, we begin to accept that our furry friend has died and focus on the wonderful times we had with him/her. For pet owners who’s pet has been sick for a long time, there can even be a bit of relief – not that our beloved pet is gone, but that the care-taking and stress involved with caring for our sick pet is finally over. (Owners should not feel guilt or shame over this relief. It is okay to be relieved that the stress and worry is gone.) There will still be times when we experience deep sadness, anger, or guilt at our loss – I still shed a tear now and then for my pets – but we start to look forward rather than backwards and we may even consider looking for a new pet.

The Healing Process:
One of the best ways to begin to heal from our loss is to express our love for our pet in other ways. For me, the loss of my dog Alicia led to me to volunteer at an animal shelter, where I could help other dogs and cats. For one of my clients, it involved creating a shelf dedicated to her beloved dog. For others, it may be creating a picture book or planting a tree. Whatever the thing may be, consider doing something that honors your pet. It can go a long way towards the healing process.

Remy – We miss you buddy!

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