Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quote for the Day

... success is better measured in smiles received, giggles heard and hands held than in dollars earned, deadlines met, and [pounds] shed. 

~ adapted from a quote by M. Dooley

Monday, March 28, 2011

Is Your Animal in Pain?

     As a loving animal caretaker, the thing you likely fear most when thinking about caring for your elderly, special needs or terminally ill animal is PAIN.  Will he or she be in pain?  How much and how often?  How will you know?  What can you do about it?

     While your companion animal may not be able to speak to you in human terms, there is no doubt that he or she is constantly communicating with you - and you are constantly interpreting and usually understanding that communication.  How do you know your animal is hungry?  Angry?  Lonely?  Needs to urinate or defecate?  Wants more attention?  Desires more play or exercise?  Each of these things is clearly communicated to you by your animal.  It may take a little time to learn the animal's communication system, it may take trial and error, it may take a certain amount of guess work, but given time, trust, and desire, you do learn to communication with your animal and interest his or her actions.

The same is true for pain.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Quote for the Day

The best and the most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched. They must be felt within the heart.
~ Helen Keller

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

First Aid Items You Didn't Know You Needed

     First Aid kits are essential for all animal owners.  Keep your collection of items together in a box, tote bag or drawer so they are handy when you need them.  You don't want to be searching for that one item you need in a time of crisis.  Here are things you should have in your kit, that might not occur to you:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quote for the Day

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. 

~ Maya Angelou

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Quote for the Day

To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours is wisdom. 

~  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Winding Country Road of Dying

     The first time I witnessed a being die naturally, it was a shock to me.  I expected a gradual and steady decline.  I was completely unprepared for the ups and downs of the dying process and my own emotions.

     If you haven't experienced the natural death of a being, do you imagine it is a straight line of decline?  One thing, one system, one piece of your loved one slowing down, shutting down, dying over whatever time he or she has left?

     I did.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Quote for the Day

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, 
love leaves a memory no one can steal.  

~From a headstone in Ireland

Friday, March 11, 2011

Everyone Needs Rain

     It's raining where I am today and while some would be disappointed, I am not.  I love the rain.  I love the hypnotic sound, the promise of nourishment and growth, the feel of it against your skin.

     If you are grieving, rain can be a wonderful catalyst for mourning and processing your grief.  Whether you like rain or not, see it as tears from above, a cleansing wash, or just an annoyance, rain changes what we do.

     Let it stop you

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Quote for the Day

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. 

~Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, March 6, 2011

5 Things No One Ever Told You about Dying

     I have never met anyone who works closely with the dying who fears death and yet the general public has an intense fear. This fear is brought about by the unknowing - not knowing what it is like to die or see someone die and not knowing what happens after death. We generally do not know how we ourselves will die and many of us feel uncertain about what (and even if anything) happens after death. Our perceptions and beliefs about dying come largely from external sources whether that be the overly dramatic, sensationalized and inaccurate portrayals of death in the media or religious teaching. Very few of us witness natural death up close and even fewer still witness enough of death and dying to see patterns.

Photo courtesy of M. Kessler
     At New England Pet Hospice, we believe that knowledge is power.  Knowing what comes next helps us prepare and not be as fearful in the moment.  My goal in sharing these concepts with you is to let you know that what you may be seeing is a normal, natural part of dying. It is not a crisis. It is not a sign that your animal is suffering or that you are doing anything wrong. If we are lucky enough to have a long life and die naturally, it will all happen to us also.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Quote for the Day

"...animals show us every day what is truly important, and what we often forget: that we shouldn't get caught up in the trivial.  That to love is to share yourself deeply and unconditionally.  That life should be joyful even when it is ending.  And I believe with all my heart that creatures like Lucky leave this world when they've completed their work with us.  They are the greatest teachers we will ever know..."

- Susan Marino

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Don't Be Sad It's Over...

     One of the expressions that bothers me is:

Don't be sad it's over, be glad it happened

and the many variations of it. It is one of those trite expressions that looks good on paper and seems comforting, but is really nonsensical.

     First, we feel what we feel. Sadness is every bit as legitimate as gladness. It's an important emotion that should not be shunned or hidden. Sadness is a healthy part of mourning. Anyone supporting a grieving person should not only accept their sadness but encourage it. We must move through our emotions, not around or over them.