Facebook Charity Donations?

So, I have been away from the blog for a while due to overtime needs at my day job, but also due to a bit of a meltdown on my birthday. I hit a milestone birthday this year, and had a hard time turning 40. (silly, huh?) Honestly, I feel no different than I did at 30, but I digress. Have you noticed social media is great at reminding you about your friends’ and family’s birthdays and that sure enough…you are getting older too. Facebook is great about sending these notifications.

For one to two weeks prior to my birthday, Facebook left a post saying they will donate $1.00 to the charity I support for my birthday, and then ask if I want to set up a charity donation for that specific organization. From a social media standpoint, it looks like a great idea…but I have a few thoughts about this.

The History

I first joined the Facebook Community back in 2009 around the time I was pregnant with my first baby. Facebook gave me the opportunity to reconnect with family and friends I hadn’t talked to in years. It was awesome! Now, I had the opportunity to share pictures of my new baby, ask questions about motherhood, and…get reminded about my family and friends’ birthdays.

It wasn’t until 2017 when Facebook added a new feature that allows their members to solicit funds for their favorite charity. Instead of getting gifts or cards, Facebook members can request a donation be made in honor of their birthday. The fundraiser can set a goal amount, post a personal message, and bam! A fundraiser has been born.

The Outward Appearance

From the outside, setting up a donation for your birthday looks to be a great opportunity to help out a non-profit organization. You have the ability to choose the organization, put it on your Facebook feed, and let Facebook continually remind your friends, family, acquaintances, random people you don’t even remember adding as a friend, that you are having a fundraiser. The system keeps track of how much has been donated, and what your total goal is for the organization.

This is a great idea to be able to help an organization without really doing anything. You can donate as little or as much as you want, and at the end of the day, you feel good about yourself.

Do I Feel Compelled to Give?

My sister started a Facebook fundraiser for her birthday, and she shared her two cents.

“It makes it easier for some to be able to show a little birthday support for people they don’t normally buy gifts for. This has happened to me; I got donations from people who never give gifts but they appreciated the opportunity to support a cause they believe in and get points with me for my birthday.”

I understand this perspective. It makes sense to give $5.00 as a small token, and then move on with your day. The birthday girl or guy gets a pat on the back, and the charity receives a small donation.

Now, most of us on Facebook have over 100 friends. But… have you noticed that these fundraisers tend to raise $200 or less? Why is that? Could it be compassion fatigue? Are we worn out with all of our friends asking for donations for their birthdays?

For example, I currently have 413 friends on Facebook. Chances are, if all 413 friends started a fundraiser for their birthdays, my news feed would only have room for their requests. That is extremely overwhelming for me.

It also makes me ask myself, “Do I feel compelled to give?” The overarching answer is yes, but… I have to dig deeper into the why. Why do I feel compelled? Is it only to make me feel better about myself for doing a nice thing? Do I feel guilted into it because my friend is requesting a donation? Do I really support the cause of the fundraiser, or am I just trying to get the request off of my news feed?

My goal is to be able to donate money to a charity to help them; not to make myself feel good or get myself noticed by others. Don’t get me wrong…these fundraisers are helping non-profit agencies, and are bringing awareness of the needs out there. I may donate to a friend’s cause, but maybe not for a Facebook birthday fundraiser.

Why Only Donate on My Birthday?

My thoughts boil down to this question…Why only donate on my birthday? To make a real impact to the community, donations should be on a regular basis. A one time offering of $5 will help a bit, but why not make it $5 a week or $5 a month?

There are so many organizations that are in need of monetary donations. These donations sustain their businesses so they can impact communities…OUR communities. Consider making a monthly donation to your favorite charity, but don’t base it on a Facebook birthday. Base your donations on how you can help non-profits stay afloat.

Conclusion

I understand many people appreciate the ability to use Facebook birthday fundraisers. It makes sense…and keep using it. In this, you are still able to impact the lives of others, but I challenge you to ask yourself why you are making a donation. Don’t do it because you can be seen. Don’t do it because you feel guilted into it. Do it to help others.

For those who are a little more skeptical of these types fundraisers, I encourage you to set up a monthly donation to your favorite charity, and if you are unable to give monetarily, go and volunteer. They can use your hands and feet, too! You can also set up a community fundraiser that can benefit the organization. Even though I was unable to give monetarily, I have been able to use my skills to facilitate fundraisers such as a Reverse Karaoke Night and a Shopping Boutique. These were so much fun, but they also helped the organization they were set up for.

Are you looking to find an organization to give to? There are plenty to choose from. For example, each community has a number of animal shelters that need your assistance. There are so many animals that have lost their homes or been abused. These shelters are doing everything in their power to help reduce the number of animals on the street, while finding deserving pets a loving home.

So, do you feel compelled to give? If you do, what charity is important to you? Let me know your thoughts!

 

Atticus Found His Furever Home

I’m back! I apologize for the lateness in posting, but it has been quite hectic here in Phoenix, AZ (not to mention a little warm…) With kids getting out of school, and my day job offering overtime, I have not been able to sit down for two seconds and write. It feels good to be back! The funny thing is, I am sharing a story from a good friend on his favorite pet…who is a big, goofy, lovable, opinionated, and fuzzy Maine Coon named Atticus.

It may have taken a while, but Atticus is now in his furever home with his good buddy, James… Enjoy the story. It will warm your heart.

Meeting Atticus

The phone vibrated next to me.

Hey. Are you ready?

Is this really happening?

Yes. You’re going to go over to her place right now.

Okay.

I sigh as I pocket my cell phone and get up from my couch. A minute later, I’m outside wearing a hoodie and flip-flops walking across the parking lot of my apartment complex. It was December in Arizona, and it was a chilly 40 degrees. Blinking incandescent lights lit the chilly night. A car door slams as I cross the lot and head towards my destination.


This story begins roughly eight months ago with my best friend Gabriela. Gabriela lives in a small house with three dogs. For a time, she decided to rent out one of her rooms for a young woman to help pay her mortgage for a time. This young woman had a rather friendly cat who was able to tolerate the attention from three very unique dogs.

I was introduced to the pair a week after they moved in with Gabriela and learned that the young woman was Kate and the cat was Atticus. Kate was in her early- to mid-twenties and had the air of a youth who was still trying to figure things out. Atticus was a large Maine Coon-ish type of cat who freely came up to say hello. At this moment in time, Kate seemed to be heading in the right direction. She had a steady job with a good pay and was on her way to being able to support herself.


The dark brown apartment door stood in front of me. Next to me was a young man who seemed friendly enough, yet his eyes flashed a challenge as I awaited a response to my knock. Kate answered the door and took us both in. It was clear that she expected one of us. She looked harried and nervous, a far cry to when I first met her.

She beckoned us both inside and I saw Atticus look up at us with his curious big green eyes. There was nervous twitch in his tail as he walked around the small apartment. His carrier sat in the middle of the living area.

“Okay. Let’s get this done quickly,” Kate announced as she closed the door. She walked over to Atticus who quickly disappeared under the couch.


Three months had passed from my introduction with Kate and Atticus. Kate had moved in with a boyfriend and had taken Atticus with her. Gabriela was both grateful of the experience with a roommate and thankful to be alone again in her home with her three dogs.

I received a phone call one weekend afternoon from Gabriela. She was in a frantic mood and rushed through a flurry of events that I asked to be repeated. Kate was moving back in. She had broken up with her boyfriend after he abused her.

The young man, who was introduced as James, helped Kate lift the couch causing Atticus to dart out and seek refuge in the bedroom.

Kate ran after him, all pretense of calm evaporating from her as she did. I stood there taking everything in with my hands in the pockets of my hoodie. It was still a little surreal to me that I was in this apartment about to be given a cat.

Kate reappeared with Atticus in her arms. A look of panic gleamed in his eyes as she stuffed him in the carrier, which now appeared to be a size too small for him.

“Okay,” she said once the deed was done. “I have his food in a plastic container. He likes fish flavoring. I also have a can of pumpkin sauce and his litter box as well. Finally, he likes to watch the water move as he drinks it, so I have this drinking fountain. I’m not sure if it works though.”

Her words are spilling out of her mouth. I’ve gone to crouching by the too small carrier to comfort Atticus. He had begun to meow in protest.

“He’ll be fine,” I finally say looking up at Kate. I try to sound as calm as possible. Kate’s eyes and posture relax. “I’ll make two trips. I’ll get him over first and then come back for the rest.”


Gabriela was frantic at work. Atticus had just learned how to operate the doggie door.

Four months had passed since Kate had moved back in. She was no longer with Gabriela at this point in time. She had decided to stay for only a month before she had set out to find a place on her own. In the meantime, Atticus had remained with Gabriela.

I was sitting with Gabriela in the break room listening as she detailed her attempts to get Kate to pick up Atticus.

“If, and this is a big if,” Gabriela began. She looked me directly in the eyes. “If I can’t get Kate to pick up her cat. You’re the only person I can trust that would be able to be a good home for him.”

We had talked often about me getting a pet of some sort. I had taken care of Gabriela’s dogs for four months a year ago due to an emergency. I preferred cats.

“I guess that can work…”


Atticus’ meows had slowed as I carried him across the parking lot to my apartment. I had tried to calm him with “It’s going to okay” and “You’ll be fine.” Maybe just hearing soothing words helped – I wasn’t sure.

“Here we are,” I announced as we entered my apartment.

I carefully placed the all too small carrier on the floor in the middle of the living area and unzipped the top. Atticus timidly peered out and took a quick scan of his new environment before leaping out and exploring.

“I’ll be right back.”

I left the apartment and headed across the lot to Kate’s pad.


Okay, this might be happening. I finally contacted Kate and she was mulling it over.

I sat at my desk at the office looking down at the new text. It had been less than a week since Gabriela and I even talked about my adopting a cat, let alone adopt Atticus.

Where does she live? I texted back.

The response had come back lightning quick. Believe it or not, but she lives in the same apartment complex as you.

You’ve got to be kidding me.


The second trip to Kate’s had been a quick one. She waited around as I collected Atticus’ litter box and food. She barely acknowledged what was happening. We stared at each other right before I left.

I wasn’t prepared for a speech, so I said the cheesiest lines I could think of. “He’ll be fine. I’ll take good care of him. And, you’re free to come visit any time. I’m right across the way.”

She nodded and seemed to be on the edge of tears. We both said good night and I made my way back to my apartment.

“I’m back.”

Atticus stuck his head from around the bedroom door before disappearing. I placed the food and litter box in their respective places and called out to Atticus. There was no response and I headed into the bedroom. Atticus was nowhere to be found. Knowing cats as I do, I got down to the ground and found a pair of green eyes staring at me from under the bed.


It’s been seven months since I adopted Atticus and we’ve bonded better than expected. We both have a laid back attitude and we both love to take naps during the day. He has claimed my computer chair as his own and frequently demands I vacate it to allow him a chance to curl up and sleep.

He keeps me going throughout the day and I’m sure to post more about him in the future.

Thank you for reading.

Conclusion

I love this story. You can see what Atticus has been through; the uncertainty ad the instability. On the other side,  you can see from the perspective of James, that Atticus was not going to be “rehomed” again. His home environment provided the stability and safety that Atticus needed and desired. I love that James was open to bring an unknown cat into his home, no questions asked.  Atticus needed help, and James was there. There is stability and love…with no judgment.

Many times, these kinds of stories can end with a heartbreaking conclusion; however, Atticus found his human. He didn’t end up in a shelter or in someone else’s home where he would be neglected. He found someone who would love him; all of him, despite his history.

And as you can see…Atticus is quite content in his new furever home.

Tell me what you think. Did you enjoy reading Atticus’ story? Do you have a similar story you would like to share? Let me know in the comments below.

I Want to Know Your Story

I was looking back at the comments on some of the posts, and I can see the love you have for your pets. If you are like me, you can talk about your pets all day to whomever will listen! So…why not create a post or a page specifically for that idea?

I want to know your story. Tell me about your favorite pet! I will list different categories you can choose from, or you can send in a story for all categories. The more the better.

Current Pets

This category is for those furry friends we have in our lives right now. How did you meet? How did they get their name? What makes them fit in your family?

For example, I adopted Hunter, our cat, from Lost Our Homes pet shelter this past year. When I took my three boys (and 2 others…what was I thinking?!), we were looking for a cat who was confident, would get along with others, and who would be okay with a loud home environment. My middle son gravitated towards Hunter (known as Julio at the time) and due to his looks and playfulness, my son and his friend decided to name him Hunter. This cat rules the house and the two big dogs that live here as well. He fits in at home due to his laid back attitude, his patience with the kids, and his playfulness with everyone.

Pets That Have Passed Over the Rainbow Bridge

This category is for the pets who have passed over the Rainbow Bridge, but who have left a special paw print on our hearts. I would love to hear their story, and how you met. What made them special to you? Did they help you through rough times, or was there a special circumstance that brought them into your life?

My example would be my baby, Roc. We adopted him at Arizona Animal Welfare League when he was 6 years old, and he lived to be almost 17 years old. Within those 10 years, he helped me through so much of the ups and downs of life, be it from job changes, pregnancy and miscarriages, and even relationship troubles. Roc will always have a special place in my heart because he taught me so much about myself, but also how valuable pets are to a family.

Silly Pets

Do you have a silly pet? Let’s talk about their silliness here. What makes them stand out to you? Do they have a special quirk or habit that you can’t stop giggling at? Have they had this habit since you adopted them, or is it something they started doing recently?

I have to say Beckham is my silly boy. He is 100+ pounds of fluff with no regard to personal space. Anytime I sit down on the couch, he comes up, and literally sits on my lap like he is a small dog. Oh…but it doesn’t stop there. Once he has made himself comfortable, he will roll over to lay on his back (with his back end still over my lap), open his belly up, and demand belly scritches. If I don’t pet him, he turns into a pretzel to give me a look of “Hello??? Why are you not petting me?” I don’t think I have seen a dog that big and that flexible before, but Beckham can fold himself up!

Don’t Forget the Hero, Too!

Do you have, or have you had a service pet in your family? Maybe you have a pet who has been able to save lives (yours or others) that you want to share stories about. What was the situation, and how did your pet become a hero? Did you know when you adopted them that there was something much more inside of them?

I would love to hear stories about service or rescue animals, therapy pets, or those special stories where your pet’s intuition saved a life.

It’s Up to You

I look forward to seeing the stories come in, and I am excited to dedicate a page specifically to your pets. Let’s see how many stories we can get, and maybe we will make a series of it!

You can email me your story and attach a picture to share at kelly@berniersmith.com, or you can leave a comment below. I can’t wait to see and hear all about your fur babies (or not so furry babies)!

Grumpy Cat’s Death

We have all heard about Grumpy Cat’s death this week, and even as we are mourning the loss of a silly cat, I think it would be nice to look back on her life. Let’s get an idea as to who Grumpy Cat was, why she was a success in the meme world, and why this illness took her life so suddenly.

Who Was Grumpy Cat?

Tardar Sauce, aka Grumpy Cat was a domestic mixed breed cat who was born April 4, 2012, and passed over the Rainbow Bridge on May 13, 2019. She made her home in Morristown, AZ, which is a small town 50 miles north of Phoenix. Even though she was born to healthy parents, Grumpy Cat had a form of feline dwarfism and an underbite that made her look…well…grumpy.

Why Was Grumpy Cat A Success

Grumpy Cat became an internet phenomenon quite honestly. Her owner’s brother (does that make him her uncle?) posted a photo of her on Reddit, and her fame blew up. She then became a great icon for internet memes.

Now, we can understand why her photos are all the rage. First, how many of us get caught up in cat videos, pictures, posts, and even merchandise? With her cute underbite and her feline dwarfism, she exudes the look of dissatisfaction that we feel as humans. Second, the internet is an amazing marketing tool. Once something catches, it can go viral quickly. Grumpy Cat’s humans, or hoomans, were smart in how they marketed her good looks. Third, I believe Grumpy Cat portrayed what we think, but don’t want to say. Yes, it is cute and funny, but there is always truth in jest, right?

Once Grumpy Cat became the face for memes, her owner was able to build on her popularity. This gorgeous gal had a Facebook account with 8.3 million followers, an Instagram account with 2.4 million followers, 1.5 million followers on Twitter, AND her own website with merch. Not only did she make friends online, she also did ads for large corporations as well as made personal appearances on live TV. It sounds like she was a pretty chill cat when it came to travel, which is good, considering all the media exposure she received. According to Wikipedia, her brand made upwards an estimated $1million in revenue over her lifetime.

The Illness that Took Her Life

Unfortunately, Grumpy Cat was taken from us too soon. She passed over the Rainbow Bridge due to complications from a urinary tract infection, with her family by her side. There is a lot of buzz around her death and if it was preventable; if she didn’t receive care in time, or if because of her deformities, it was expected. So…let’s talk about UTIs.

According to VCA Hospitals, cats can contract urinary tract disorders; however, urinary tract infections are less common. Even if it is uncommon, it is good to know what it is.

A urinary tract infection is when bacteria travels up the urethra, makes it to the bladder, and then grows. Urine is generally sterile, but if bacteria grows in the bladder, bladder stones can grow, or your cat may have other medical issues arise.

Symptoms of a UTI will be:

  • Painful urination
  • frequent urinating small amounts
  • blood in the urine
  • straining to urinate
  • yowling / crying out when trying to urinate
  • lethargy
  • Urinating throughout the house
  • licking the genitals
  • A stronger urine odor

Personal Note: My cat, Abel, had a UTI, but I am pretty sure it led to kidney failure, and it came on quickly. Unfortunately, we had to humanely euthanize him as his kidneys were too far gone, but, depending on the situation, and if you are able to get your cat to the vet quickly, you may be able to make a difference between life and death.

There are also certain things that may contribute to recurrent UTIs. If a cat has diabetes, or bladder stones, may be predisposed, but any cat can contract an infection.

Was Grumpy Cat predisposed to UTIs? It’s hard to tell… we don’t have access to her medical files, and her accounts don’t give details on if she suffered from any illness through the years. I think this was more of a fluke, even for a seven-year-old cat. My Abel, passed away at five, so I understand the shock and sheer sadness from a relatively healthy pet.

Grief Felt Across the World

I love seeing the condolences and heart felt comments regarding Grumpy Cat’s death. Even though she was an internet sensation due to her scowling face, she brought so much to people throughout the world.

The grief felt by all those who loved her memes, merchandise, and overall good looks, is great. I honestly didn’t think a cat could make such a difference in everyone’s lives, but apparently, I was wrong.

There are a few things we can do to commemorate Grumpy Cat’s life:

1. Take our pets to the vet to ensure optimal health.
2. Donate money to our favorite pet shelter
3. Volunteer at our favorite pet shelter
4. Spay and Neuter!
5. Stop blaming Grumpy Cat’s parents for her death. (It could have happened to anyone)
6. Love on our pets, because we don’t know when they might travel across the Rainbow Bridge.
7. Be kind to others who have lost their pet to illness.
8. Did I mention spay and neuter?
9. Research breeds and pedigrees to better understand your fur baby
10. Upload your cutest fur baby picture on my site, on my Facebook/Instagram/Twitter pages!

So What Now?

I loved the idea of Grumpy Cat; her looks, her confidence….and I am sad that she has passed away. BUT! There is so much we can learn from her life and her death. We have ideas, symptoms, and markers to look for in our own cats, but we also can have compassion for those who go through this with their own fur babies. They may not be as famous as Grumpy Cat; however, they are the heart and soul of their own families.

Take a moment and upload your comments, stories, and photos of your favorite feline. Tell me their stories. I would love to hear about them!

 

Sources used: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/urinary-tract-infections-utis-in-cats

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grumpy_Cat

Why Do People Abandon Their Pets?

Okay, today I am going rogue…a bit away from how to cope with the loss of a pet. The reason why I am diverting from the norm, is because I have seen some really frustrating, maddening stories, and I need to vent. On Facebook, I have a number of groups that I am a part of regarding pets. There is Straydar (which is super helpful!), Alaskan Malamutes groups, I Love My Dog groups, community pages, local shelters, as well as friends who either work in shelters, animal behavior, or vets.

Outside of the pets who have been hit by cars or stolen, the most aggravating stories I see are people bringing their pets to the county shelters because they can’t or won’t care for them anymore. Why? Why do people abandon their pets to a shelter where they know the likely outcome is death?

Reason 1 – People Problems

Yes, this is a vague statement, but think about it. How many times have you heard excuses, I mean reasons, as to why a person can’t keep a pet. (It’s not you, it’s me….) There are both valid and ridiculous reasons to surrender your pet, and unfortunately, it is hard to differentiate between the two based on individual situations.

Here are some basic examples of valid versus invalid reasons.

Valid Reasons:

  • You have passed away
  • You are extremely ill to where you are unable to provide care for your pet
  • You are incarcerated
  • Your immediate family members are deathly allergic, and cannot be near your pet
  • Your financial ability to care for the pet has been compromised (although, there is a fine line on this one)

Invalid Reasons:

  • You moved out of state or to a home that doesn’t allow pets
  • Your significant other just doesn’t like your pet
  • You had a new baby
  • You don’t have time for your pet
  • The pet is too expensive
  • The list goes on.

As you can see there are valid reasons, and I do not fault the person who has done everything they can to provide for their pet. Unfortunately, there are times when the best decision is to rehome the pet(s).

On the flip side, too many people send pets to the county shelters or just drop them off in a different neighborhood for asinine reasons. I think there are a few reasons for this:

1. Education: So many people think a pet is cute, and to satisfy their want, they buy a pet without doing the research on the pet and how to care for them. For example, an Alaskan Malamute may not be the best pet for someone who hates to clean up fur, or who cannot learn that the breed requires leadership and training. How about a Jack Russel Terrier…they are high energy, high intellect dogs, who need to be working to keep themselves out of trouble.

2. The Cuteness Factor: We have paedomorphized pets in the media. (Aren’t cat videos the most watched videos on YouTube?) Movies and cartoons as well as some social media outlets show pets as big-eyed, lovable, squishy beings that only need food and love. Why not get one, right?

3. The Underdog: So this one may be a little more controversial. I think we have done a disservice in some ways for the pets that are seen as bully breeds. Animal welfare organizations and breed warriors have done so much to prove that these breeds are not as bad as people once saw them, that everyone wants one now. Take into consideration (especially in the SW), shelters are filled to capacity with these mostly Pitbulls. Why? Everyone wants to prove they have a good dog…and when they realize they don’t know how to train or care for them, they end up back behind bars.

Reason 2 – Animal Problems

Yep, this one is just as vague…and is the reason I am writing this post. There are various reasons why a pet may be rehomed or sent to a kill shelter because of who they are. Again, there are valid reasons as well as ridiculous reasons.

Valid Reasons:

  • They are aggressive towards people
  • They are aggressive towards other animals

Invalid Reason:

  • They are sick
  • They are old
  • They have allergies
  • They are injured
  • They have some behavior issues

As you can see, there are fewer valid reasons to rehome a pet based on their quirks. If a pet is legitimately aggressive, then, yes, I agree they are not suited for your home; however, my hope would be that you work with the pet as much as possible to see what the root cause of the aggression is and if there is a way to correct it.

If it is true aggression, where your pet would not be safe in any other home, you should have the pet humanely euthanized at your vet’s office; not taken to a shelter or dropped off in another neighborhood (or desert!). This allows your pet to understand that you are with them until the end, but it also doesn’t subject others to your pet’s behavior. In addition, your pet sees his family instead of strangers in a strange place prior to passing over the Rainbow Bridge.

The entire reason I started writing this post is because of the invalid reasons. We have to understand our pets don’t have control over getting old or sick or having allergies, nor do they understand why they got hit by a car or attacked by a hawk. Our pets rely on us to care for their needs, to speak up for them, and…not abandon them in their time of need.

Story Time

My mom adopted 2 of her puppies from an amazing rescue in the Phoenix area who specialize in wounded, sick, and old dogs that are brought into the county shelter. These dogs would be euthanized within days of arrival because the shelter did not have the resources to bring them back to health.

The owner of the non-profit has an incredible heart specifically for these dogs. Even if her shelter / sanctuary is at capacity, she does everything she can to pull the dog from the county shelter, have the medical needs cared for, and allow the pet to live out the rest of their days in a loving environment. Her and the volunteers want these dogs to know they are not alone in their journey. Not only do they bring these broken dogs in, they work to help others in the community who are struggling to care for their dogs medical needs.

Meet Teddy. He was adopted last year, but brought back to the shelter due to medical issues. A good Samaritan adopted him; however, needed help in obtaining funds to care for the multiple medical issues that Teddy was dealing with. Teddy’s leg was badly infected, has multiple tumors, and open wounds. He had ear infections in both ears, and they are waiting to hear back on if he has Valley Fever or Cancer.

Thank God for the donors and the owner of the non-profit who helped Teddy. If they had scrolled past the story from the county shelter, Teddy would have been euthanized.

The Reason for My Rant

Our pets need us. They rely on us to care for them, and to speak for them. Our pets don’t understand why we would send them away or abandon them. They expect to be a part of the family…like they were when they were young and/or healthy.

Why do people think it is a shelter’s responsibility to fix what they couldn’t or didn’t…? Is it because they don’t care, or is it lack of education? Is there something that society or the community can do to combat this human behavior? How can we spread the word that non-profit shelters need financial help and volunteers/fosters to fix the wrongs the person has done?

These pets are hurting, either physically, mentally, or both. And…we are not in an era where they can fend for themselves. They have become so reliant on our care that it is not fair to dump them in their hour of need.

So, what can we do?

1. Don’t get a pet unless you have researched the breed, pedigree, gender, size…everything… You need to understand what it is going to take to care for a pet, from basic needs to potentially poor health.

2. Don’t go with the “awww” factor. You need to add a family member that jives with your family. A Jack Russel may not mix with a quiet, sedentary lifestyle…

3. Do look into pet insurance. There are some plans out there that will be highly beneficial for the pet that you bring into the family. For example, if you have a puppy or kitten, a basic policy will help cover basic procedures, but also catastrophic events at a really good cost.

4. Do think about your lifestyle and how a pet will fit into it. Do you work crazy hours? Are you someone who likes to go on adventures? What type of home do you live in or where are you moving to?

5. Do understand your pet will get sick, injured, and old. Remember that they will be a part of the family to the end. If you feel that you are unable to care for them at those points, please do not get a pet.

6. Do donate to the shelters that care for these sick and aging pets. Without your help, they cannot give the pets the medical attention needed or the food to sustain them.

Final Thoughts

It’s not fair to our pets or the shelters to abandon them when our pet needs us the most. It’s selfish. Just because you think your heart may break because your pet is dying is a terrible reason for you to have someone else take care of the end process. Your pet needs you…and you need your pet.

If you are struggling to care for your pet’s medical needs, contact shelters in your community. Many of them offer free or low cost clinics to ensure your pets are healthy.

If you absolutely need to rehome a pet, go through the local organizations as well. They will be able to help you or tell you if your pet can be rehomed.

Overall, take responsibility. You adopted a pet, brought them into the family, and cared for them. That responsibility does not stop when they get sick, injured, or old.

Let me know your thoughts. I would love to hear what you have to say on this topic.

5 crystals for the 5 stages of grieving

Hi Everyone! I am so excited to introduce a guest blogger, Rebecca from Craft Love Craft Life. She has a really cool site that has products you can purchase, a blog you can read, as well as materials to help you through the grief process. Her goal is to help those through the grieving process by creating and preserving memories.

As we discussed in the stages of grief blog, there are five stages of grief we experience in the event of a loss (some people split it into seven, but the original is 5 stages!) To remind yourself, click here to re-read the stages of grief post. In this blog, she discusses certain crystals for the five stages of grief, and how each crystal will help you heal. Check it out! You can also check out her site for more information here.

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Crystals are therapeutic gemstones that can help you heal spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Each crystal has different properties that can help you in different areas of your life. Many stones provide you with a sense of peace and comfort as you work through bottled emotions and difficult experiences. Crystals can help you through grief and loss by providing you with positive energies while balancing your emotions. Some healing crystals will help you experience

your suppressed feelings and offer an opportunity for you to work through them. This is especially important when dealing with loss as we need to work through our feelings in order to heal. They say that time heals pain, but only if you work with that pain.

Denial – Rhodonite

Rhodonite is known as the emotional healing stone. During difficult times, Rhodonite is great for projecting a calming effect to help keep us centered. This stone helps to heal our emotional wounds while activating the heart for love again. Through grief and loss, Rhodonite helps to bring the grief to the surface. This is a difficult experience but important as it allows us to experience the guilt while providing us with the opportunity to learn ways to let go of it.

Guilt – Rose Quartz

Rose quartz is known as the love stone. Using a rose quartz will allow you to love yourself, which will help to dissolve the feelings of guilt. Through balancing emotions, rose quartz helps to bring peace and clear any negative emotions. Rose quartz encourages us to keep our heart and mind open while helping us move on when the time is right. Being open will allow to love yourself and others around you, healing you from the negative attributes in your life.

Anger – Amethyst

Amethyst is known for stress relief while promoting a sense of peace. This healing crystal helps us through grief with its calming properties to overcome painful experiences. This stone also deeply cleanses our body and mind, while enabling us to think more rationally, reducing our anger and negative emotions. Amethyst is a protection stone that will help guard us from future negativity.

Depression – Smoky Quartz

Smoky Quartz is one of the best stones for grounding you during overwhelming stress and depressive times. This quartz absorbs negativity providing us with the chance to live with more clarity and the positive energy we need. Smoky Quartz is a calming stone that removes fear and lifts our mood, bringing positivity back into your life.

Acceptance and hope – Chrysocolla

Chrysocolla is known for its calming effects, compassionate and forgiving properties. A peaceful stone that stimulates balance and wholeness through the release of our bottled emotions. Chrysocolla enables you to think more clearly and is known for relieving emotional strain. It’s positive energy is important for self-expression and encourages acceptance.

Conclusion

It is difficult enough to lose a pet, but it is even harder to grapple with every stage of grief you will experience after that loss. These crystals may help you in your healing process. They will help keep you centered and calm. They will help you release the guilt and the anger and help you begin to forgive yourself and your pet. Why not give them a try?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Have crystals helped you, and how? Leave me a message below, and I will get back with you.

How Soon is Too Soon to Adopt a New Pet?

The grieving process is different for everyone. Some people may go through it relatively quickly, and some may take years to get over the loss of their pet. Once we can see a glimmer of light, a question starts to surface. “Am I ready to open my heart to a new pet?” So, how soon is too soon to adopt a new pet; to open our hearts and homes? It seems like an easy question; however, it is also going to be different for everyone.

When my mom had to let her dog Grizzly pass over the Rainbow Bridge, she was so hurt that she did not want to bring in a new pet at all. The loss of Grizzly was so painful, she struggled with the knowledge that if she were to welcome another pet into the family, her heart would break again.

I understood that mentality; but I also felt that opening my heart to a new fur baby had benefits that outweighed the grief… like Alfred Lord Tennyson’s saying…’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Here are some questions to ask yourself when you are looking to add a new member to your family.

How Are you Coping with the Loss?

Take time to work through your grief. Don’t rush the process. You have just lost a loved one, so it is ok to feel sad, lonely, and depressed. It’s also ok to feel relieved, especially if your pet had suffered a long term illness. Check in with yourself to see how you are feeling. Can you see a glimmer of light or is everything still too dark? If you were to adopt a new pet, would it only cause you to look back at the pet you lost, or will you be able to look to the future?

Only you will know when you are ready.

Is Your Family Ready?

Just like you, your family is also going through the grieving process. Since there is no specific timeline on when you should be done grieving, it is important to consider your partner and children in the decision. Do they feel ready? Are they still struggling with losing their fur baby? Do they understand that the new pet is not going to be the same as the one they just lost?

Have conversations to check in with each other. Be honest with your family, and ask them to be honest with you. If someone is not quite ready to accept a new fur family member, respect their decision, and see if there is anything you can do to help them through the grieving process.

If you have other pets in the household, they may be grieving the loss as well. For example, if you have another dog in the household, he or she may be mourning the loss of their friend, but that does not mean that adding a new dog into the household will make them happy. Watch your pet’s body language, eating habits, and moods. When you see they have returned to their normal self, you may be able welcome another fur baby into the family.

What are My Expectations?

A new pet will not be anything like the pet that has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Do not expect a new fur baby to act like your other pet. They have their own personalities, quirks, behaviors, and their own way of showing love to you.

My dog, Roc, was an 85lb red Malamute who wooed and roooed for his dinner. He got so excited to go on walks, and loved hanging with his family. He did not mark anywhere in the house, was not destructive, but he did counter surf.

Now, I have two Mals who are completely different from Roc. Nuka, my 85lb female, is timid around other people, but is super goofy around her immediate family. Beckham, my 140lb male, loves people, hates car rides, and is the “fun police” when Nuka is goofy.

If I had expected Beckham and Nuka to be just like Roc, I would have been sorely disappointed. Honestly, I would have resented my decision to adopt them which could have made for a difficult living situation for a while.

When you begin to look for a new pet, please remember to wipe the slate clean. Go in with an open mind and an open-heart, and know you are not going to find a pet just like the one you lost. Each one is special in their own right, and you will love them for all of their little quirks.

Is this a Hasty Decision?

Rushing into a decision (any decision) can have a negative outcome. Don’t push yourself or let anyone else push you into adopting a new pet too soon. You need the time to process your grief, but you also need time to think about the future.

Making a hasty decision can result in the adoption of a pet that does not fit into your family, and the pet may have a higher likelihood of being returned to the shelter or the breeder. A hasty decision can also result in holding a grudge against the pet you just lost as well as the pet you just adopted.

Take your time to think about what you are looking for in a new fur baby. How is this pet going to fit in with your family? Will you have time to train them, to exercise them, and to spend time with them? You will find the perfect match, but it may take time… And that is ok!

Conclusion

I would love to give you a finite number of days, weeks, or months that it takes to go through the grieving process. Unfortunately, everyone processes grief differently which means it is hard to determine how soon is too soon to welcome a new fur baby to the family. I can only tell you that the grief will lessen, and you will move forward.

Once you start thinking about adopting a new pet, consider the questions above. If you can honestly answer them, and understand a new pet is a NEW family member, then it may be time to look at opening your heart to a new family member.

Now you just have to figure out who you want to bring home.

 

I would love to hear your stories and opinions. Leave a message below, and I will respond as soon as possible!

Bridget’s Favorite Pet Memories

I invited my friend and fellow Karate Mom to share some of what she does and why, as well as some of her favorite memories and advice on the loss of a pet. She comes with a lot of experience in the vet tech realm, so moving to a pet sitting career was an easy move. You can see her love for animals in the photos and videos she posts while taking care of her client’s fur babies. Here is her story!

Who is Bridget?

Meet Bridget! She is a loving wife, mom of an adorable son, and also the proud owner of 4 Paws Sitting in Phoenix, AZ. Her pet sitting business is booming, so it looks like she won’t get vacation days any time soon! Fortunately, she was gracious enough to take time and tell us about herself.

I have always loved animals, and grew up with guinea pigs and cats. I became a vet tech because I’ve always loved every type of pet.. minus snakes. ????lol! I worked at a prestigious animal hospital in Scottsdale, AZ for almost 9 years, and pet sat on the side while working at the animal hospital. After moving to Tukee (Ahwatukee) and taking time off to be a mom, neighbors started asking me to pet sit. It grew from there and I started 4pawsitting.com. LLC.

What Was Your Favorite Pet Memory as a Child?

We raised guinea pigs when I was a child and love to see them give birth. My parents traveled a lot so we had guinea pigs for pets. They were easy to take care of. We had several home environments for them all.


I was eight years old when the first litter was born. We just watched the birth, and when mom was done cleaning them up we would hold them. So cool to see, and the babies were sooooo cute!

What Was Your Favorite Recent Memory?

I have 2 dogs, one 7 year old chihuahua who is a rescue, and a 2-year old American Eskimo. He pretty much trained himself to stay by us. He’s a very smart pup. We went camping by a lake this past weekend, and my dog Sky loves to jump in the lake and catch sticks. He also always stays right by us…never wanders, comes when he is called. Such a good kid.

Do You Believe in the Rainbow Bridge? Why?

I like the message the rainbow bridge gives. It’s comforting in time of a lossed  family fur baby.

What Helps You When You Lose a Loved Pet?

My other fur family. We always seem to get another pet after a while.

Any Advice For Those Who are Going Through the Loss of a Pet, Now?

Just remember the good times and not dwell on the loss.

Kelly’s Conclusion

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Bridget! I honestly can not imagine having guinea pigs in the household with my dogs and cat (although, we almost took in some fancy rats and a tortoise!). As an eight-year old, it must have been an amazing opportunity to be present for the birth of the babies. Not only does it teach you how your pet takes care of its young, it also teaches some life lessons and reality.

Even though I have not been camping in a long while, I would love to have my dogs stay by my side and not wander… Unfortunately, Malamutes are stubborn and independent, and can’t necessarily be trusted off leash. They would probably take off and run with the coyotes, wolves, and whatever else is in the area!

I agree with you regarding the Rainbow Bridge’s message too. It does bring such a comfort to those who have lost a loved pet. It is a beautiful visualization of where our pets go when they die, and also gives us hope that they are all waiting patiently (with tails wagging…or for our kitties…showing indifference) for us to meet them again. The overall message helps us get past the hurt and move forward.

Another poignant statement was to “remember the good times and not dwell on the loss”. This can be so difficult, especially in a sudden loss or if a pet has been there through some tough times. We have an entire lifetime to dwell on, but the frustrating thing is our human brains tend to think more about the last moments of our pet’s lives. We need to reprogram our brains to remember all the good times, the silly moments, and the comfort we received from our pets.

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I hope you have enjoyed this mini-series of pet memories from some of my favorite people. Let me know if you would like to see more of these types of posts, and we can make it a regular occurrence!

We are now going to move on into some un-chartered territory… I found some really neat pet memorial gifts that I will review, but I also want to talk about the grieving process, and how soon is too soon to adopt a new pet. We will also be talking about how to keep your pets healthy to extend their lifespan and really keep their spirit alive.

Let me know if you have any questions, and if there is anything you would love to discuss. I would also love to start a page dedicated to the memory of YOUR loved pet. Write a story, and I will look to post it on the blog.

Peace and silliness!

Say Hello to Heidi

We are continuing the theme of favorite pet memories from some of my favorite people, and I would like to introduce you to Heidi! I have known Heidi for at least 10 years. We first met when I took my Malamute, Roc to be groomed. I was a little nervous about getting him groomed because I didn’t know how he was in that situation, plus he had some skin issues from when he was surrendered to the shelter. Heidi did an amazing job and both Roc and I fell in love with her. Any shop she transferred to…we followed! She was there the full ten years we had Roc, and she cried with me when we made the decision to let Roc go.

Heidi has been through life with me…she was there for Roc, for all three of my human babies…and than for Nuka and Beckham. She was the first to know when we adopted a new puppy or kitty, and she was always the first to talk to when I had questions regarding skin/fur issues. She has such a way with animals (and kids!) that I was soooo excited to hear she started her own mobile grooming business. (not that I would have her groom my kids…although they probably could use it. haha!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is Heidi’s story, favorite memories, and advice for those who are going through some tough times.

Who is Heidi?

My name is Heidi I am a mobile dog groomer. I am the owner of Jazzy on the Spot Mobile Grooming in the Phoenix, AZ area. I have been doing grooming for 13 years now. I went into grooming after I realized my dream of cosmetology was not the right path. I like animals way more than people. I am owned by three pugs, a shihtzu, a pomchi and 2 cats.

 

Favorite Pet Memory as a Child

My favorite pet memory as a child is when I was 5. I wanted nothing more then to have a dog. We had dogs before I was 5, but I didn’t have my own dog. I wrote Santa a letter asking for a puppy on Christmas Eve. I was wakened by a crying coming from the kitchen, and there was this black fuzzy puppy with brown paws trying to get over the barrier that separated the kitchen from the rest of the house. I was over that barrier so fast and hugging my new puppy. My mom woke up a little later and saw me snuggling my new puppy (we named him Shelby).

Favorite Recent Pet Memory

My favorite recent memory….that’s hard. I live with some amazing animals, and I groom some amazing puppies. But Rhoda is the one that comes to mind. Rhoda is a standard schnauzer. The first time I met Rhoda’s mom, I was told that the rescue she got Rhoda from told her Rhoda hates grooming and has to be under anesthesia. Mom asked if I didn’t mind trying to groom Rhoda. I said I’d be happy to try. First appointment didn’t go that
well. She went home clean and half groomed… I went home with band aids. Over the next 6 monthish I did a little more, had help, but got her done. For the last 2 and a half years, Rhoda realized I wasn’t so bad and she let me groom her all by myself. She even gets excited when the trailer pulls up to her house now.

Advice on Losing a Pet

I think what helps when losing a pet, is the love my other pets have for me. After Shelby, my first dog, passed away Megan, our Australian shepherd, made it known she was going to take care of me. She started following me everywhere, sleeping at the foot of my bed snuggling with me and being my go to.

My advice for someone going through a loss is: I know its hard, and hurts like hell, and a part of you is  missing…But memories are forever.

 

Conclusion

Thank you for sharing some of your favorite memories, Heidi! I know it can be hard to think back on some of those memories and the emotions they bring up. My hope is that by sharing these memories, people can see they are not alone in mourning the loss of a loved one, and that it is important to focus on the good memories.

As we continue in the series, I hope we can learn from these experiences, and know that it is ok to move forward in life when ready. We do not want to forget our loved fur babies, but we also do not want to keep from adding a new member to the family. Our pets love us unconditionally, and they would want us to be happy and to be able to open our homes and hearts again.

Lisa’s Favorite Pet Memories

Meet Lisa! Lisa is one of my favorite people. She and her husband, Mike are the most caring, loving couples I know, and I can tell you from experience, she will do anything to help her pet family.  Lisa and Mike are hobby breeders of Alaskan Malamutes (where I adopted Nuka and Beckham!). They run Summit Alaskan Malamutes in Pinetop, AZ (https://www.summitmalamutes.com/) Their business is not run like a true business; to make money…Their mission is to help others and breed Malamutes responsibly. Their pups are given the utmost care and love and are only adopted out to families that share the same love for the breed.

Here is Lisa’s story.

Lisa’s History

My first dog was a stray Basset Hound who God sent to us. When I was nine years old, my parents called my sister and I into the bedroom to announce we were going to have a little sister or brother. I burst into tears and
ran from the room. My dad came to me and asked me what was wrong. My reply was, “You said I could get a puppy. I don’t want a sister or brother!” 18 months later I got a Golden Retriever puppy for Christmas. I had Goldens all through high school, joined the Golden Retriever Club, etc, went to dog shows, training classes, and loved my dogs.

By the time I was in my early twenties, I did not have a dog and saw that malamute puppy in the pet store and fell in love. That was 1986, and I have had Malamutes ever since. I fell in love with this breed. They are NOT dogs, just really amazing people in fur coats. Each one is different, but each one truly thinks they are a member of the family; not a dog. I had them for years as pets. Once again in 2011 I had three malamutes who were 12, 11 and 9 I knew I would be looking at losing them in the near future. I started looking for a puppy and found one in Alaska. My husband then said we should get two, as the older dogs were not going to want to put up with a crazy puppy. So 6 months later we brought in a male to go with our girl. We had NO intentions of breeding.

During that time my mom got very ill suddenly. We lost her in May 2012. A month to the day that my mom
passed, I took the day of work to take my dad fishing, as I knew he was going to have a tough day. Our girl was in heat and we had the dogs in separate yards on opposite side of the house. I told my husband we should feed them extra in case we didn’t get back by dinnertime. Well, I guess I should have reminded him to lock the gate. We came home and the kids were together and I knew we were going to have puppies. So, our first litter was an accident, our stupid mistake. We decided to make the best of it. It was a blessing.

I had spent the entire previous year helping my dad take care of my mom, and now that she was gone, I was lost. The pups gave me smiles and purpose. Since then the main reason we have continued to breed on a small scale is to help people heal their hearts.

A majority of our puppy families are people who have had malamutes before. Most have recently lost their baby of 13-15 years. Some grew up with a malamute and now are married, raising their own family, and want their kids to have the same experience. It is a love of the breed. Many of them told me they have tried to adopt rescues, and because they had small children or many other reasons, they don’t meet the requirements. Many of our families have two of our babies in them. To see the joy these pups bring these families, to see how they complete these families is why we do it.

Every penny from puppies goes back into the dogs. It is not a money making adventure. It can be heartbreaking. It is exhausting. We both work full time jobs. When we have a litter of puppies, it is like having 3 full time jobs. You are never off. You are lucky to get to sleep 5 hours straight. You give up your life, miss birthday parties,
events at school, you are a prisoner to your babies. Your vet loves you as you just paid for the new wing on their hospital. He also hates you because you call at all hours, even on Sundays. Then comes puppy pick up day. You cry with every one that leaves. You miss them terribly. You pay off all your vet bills and food bills and realize
you only went in the hole a few hundred during the last 8 weeks, and ask yourself again why you do this.

And then………the reward. The pictures from the new families start coming. The videos. The sincere thank you for raising such an amazing baby. The love that pours out with each new message from the new families. It is emotionally rewarding, that’s it. It makes my heart smile to bring joy into others lives.

That’s why we breed.

Favorite Pet Memory as a Kid

I was dog crazy by the time I was 3. Our family had a set of encyclopedias (something we all had before the internet!) and I still remember volume 4 was the book with the dogs. I looked at that book every day, had circled all the dogs I wanted, which were all big, before I ever started school.

One night our parents took us to a local buffet for dinner. When we went to leave there was a basset hound sitting by the front door and I stopped to talk to her. She followed me to the car and jumped in. When my dad came out and saw what had happened he went back inside to find out who the dog belonged to. They told him they didn’t know she had been there several days and they had been feeding her. We took her home, named her Samantha and I had my first BFF, and as it turns out my only small dog.

She was the perfect dog, happy to do whatever I wanted. At that time, “Lost in Space” was a very popular show on TV. We lived next door to a pear orchard in northern California. One day the neighborhood buzz was there were “aliens” in the orchard. The police helicopters were circling above our house. Of course the only “aliens” I had ever heard of were from outer space as I was 4. The whole neighborhood went to a neighbors house to get up on a deck to watch. I stayed home with Sam scared to death. I hid under the bed with Sam by my side until my mom came home.

She was truly my protector, my BFF and the only one who understood me. I will never forget that day, 52 years later I still remember our conversations under that bed while hiding. With that my true love of dogs was born.

 Thoughts on the Rainbow Bridge

Pope John Paul said it and I believe it. He said “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.” God has worked in my life through animals since I was a child. In fact, if it was not for dogs I may have never truly known God. I have so many stories I could share about God’s love for me and how he has proved that though my animals I could write a book. Man’s best friend. Truly the most amazing example of unconditional love and commitment comes in the form of a dog. Every dog who has been a part of my life has left its mark on my heart and every one has been different. No two are ever the same. They may look the same, but they are not. Each one has a distinct personality, likes and dislikes. To look into the eyes of a canine companion and to think “they are just a dog” is impossible. There is something in there. A soul? I do not know, but I believe there is.

To me dogs are purely perfection, no evil just good. To me they are God’s most perfect creation. There are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners. Heaven is all things good, and since dogs are only good, they will be there. Many people I have met throughout my life will not make it no matter how much I loved them or how badly I want them there, but I believe every dog I have encountered will. I think God put dogs here to show people how to love unconditionally and I believe many of us fail. As Will Rogers once said ” If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went”.

Back in 2012 I lost my mom. I was sitting by her side, holding her hand, when she left her body. I FELT her soul leave. Her body became an empty house in the blink of an eye. The following year I lost my malamute Dylan. His
head was laying in my lap, I was petting him and sobbing begging God to take care of him. My hand was on his head when he left and I FELT him leave. Identical experience. So yes, I BELIEVE dogs go to Heaven and we will be reunited.

How Do you Deal with the Loss of a Loved Pet?

Often times I am upset at the short life span of our beloved pets, and other times I think God planned it that way for a reason. With every pet I have had I have learned something, God has taught me through them. Losing them is tough. Losing any member of your family is tough. My mom once told me that the “sooner I realized death was the end result of life”, the easier it would become. And though it is never EASY, I do understand all of our time here is limited and all things come to an end, at least in this world.

Over my 56 years on this earth I have lost many. Each one has left this earth with a piece of my heart that I will not get back until one day when we are reunited, and it hurts. It never stops hurting. But with each pet that comes into my life, a joy is placed in my heart, a new bond is formed and a new love is ignited. I will never forget my pets that have passed and no new pet will ever fill that hole that they left in my heart, but I will have pets in my life the day I leave this world I know. To me life without a dog is not a life. They complete me. I need them more than they need me. They keep me focused on the good in life, a daily reminder of love and happiness. I strive to be the person my dog thinks I am.

Parts of our home are a memorial to our past pets. Photos. Old collars, tags and toys hanging in displays. Urns. Each one is a reminder of the love and support they gave so freely. I often stand and look at these things with tears running down my face, remembering my friends. I also sometimes smile at the amazing memories they have given me. Loss is hard but inevitable if you are a pet owner. Hurts like hell, no way around it. I am just so thankful for the time I had with them and that God chose ME to have them spend their lives with and praying I made them as happy as they made me.

Advice for Those Who are Mourning the Loss of a Pet

In 1987, I fell in love with a malamute puppy at a pet store and bought him. I was living in Arizona, not a huge snow dog state for obvious reasons. A year later I found a female malamute at a pet store and bought her. Needless to say both dogs had health problems as I am sure they were from a puppy mill. No matter, I loved them dearly and dealt with the issues and gave them great lives.

In 1998, they were both getting older and I knew I would eventually lose them. By now the internet was starting up and I found a small breeder in Indiana who bred as a hobby and started communicating with her. I put a deposit down in May on a litter that was coming that August. Little did I know that by the time this litter was born I would have lost both of my dogs as their health issue finally got them.

I went four months without a dog and it was the worst four months of my life. I came home from work without a purpose. I stood in the backyard and tears came daily. I decided at that time that I was someone who needed that welcoming committee to come home to, and that I needed something to love and to see good in every day.

Some people who lose a pet do not get another for a while, and I don’t know if it is because they think their dog
would have wanted them to be without love, or  if it is not right to get another with the wound so fresh. I believe that my dogs would have wanted me to have something to love, that they would not have wanted me to mourn for so long. I have had several people tell me they wanted to wait to get another pet, they didn’t want to go
through the pain of losing one again or thought there should be some appropriate time spent grieving to pay respect to the pet they lost.

Everyone is different, but I don’t think your dog would want you sad. Since that miserable four months I spent I have never been without at least one dog to soak up my tears and make me smile. I truly believe my dogs who have left would not want me alone. The pain of losing a family member is devastating, I know. But to have a friend to give you a hug and soak up your tears is healing. And though I still mourn, I can sometimes smile as healing comes through the pets I still have.

One word of advice is to be there when your babies leave. Let your face be the last one they see, your touch the last one they feel. They will be looking for you at the bridge.

Kelly’s Response

I am so proud to have become friends/family with Lisa and Mike, and reading Lisa’s story was an amazing reminder of what our pets give to us. They are all different, and they bring different things to the relationship, but their love for us is the same….unconditional.

Thank you Lisa for sharing your story.

P.S…one of my favorite Mals!