I have written about loss before, specifically about how hard it is to go through and what you can do to get through the sadness and the reality of the new normal. Recently, I have experienced grief once again, with the loss of my beloved cat, Big, and my little lizard, Norman. I feel compelled to address the subject of grief again for those who have lost a loved one, be it animal or human.
When we experience the loss of someone, or even something to which we have attached emotions, we experience physical pain. The Old English word for grief is heartsarnes which translates, “soreness of the heart”. It is important to know that grief can cause physical pain or illness. Along with the sadness, we can experience physical symptoms, ranging from high blood pressure, to muscle aches and pains, to loss of appetite and fatigue. Headaches are another malady, which is often created by dehydration due to crying.
Self-care is so difficult to think about when you are suffering the loss of a loved one. Sometimes we feel guilt for finding pleasure in even the essential things that sustain us, such as food and sleep. A definite need is to drink lots of water, even if you do not particularly care for it. Water is a powerful element in healing. You should also get sleep at every opportunity you are given and do it without feeling guilty, as sleep is how our bodies repair themselves. It is also important to move: take a walk, clean the house or garage, organize a closet or a cabinet. When you experience a loss, you feel a lack of control over your circumstances. Many people, including myself, find focusing on things they do have control over helps to navigate this part of grieving. Additionally, reaching out to others or volunteering is a great way to get outside of yourself. It has amazing therapeutic benefits for you and endless benefits to those you are helping.
Above all, allow yourself to feel how you feel. Grief is an emotion we must fully feel, as hard as it is to go through. It will resurface again if it is not addressed. There is no timeline on how long you should grieve, as everyone is different. If you find yourself still unable to get back to the things you love after approximately a month’s time, you may want to talk to a professional. Sharing how you are feeling helps get what you are holding inside, outside, which gives your body a better opportunity to heal.
In closing, I am so grateful to those who reached out to help me in my grief. It can be a lonely place to be without friends and family who understand these guys were part of our lives daily. Some of us see our pets more often than we see our own families! If you find yourself in a position where you do not know what to say or do to help someone who is grieving, it is ok to just say you are sorry, as that acknowledges they are experiencing pain. You can also send a flower or card if you are uncomfortable with speaking in times like this. I will always honor the memories of Big and Norman, and they can never be replaced.
When the leaves start changing color and summer fun is coming to a close, we must remember there are still a lot of warm days remaining. In fact, late summer months can be some of the hottest months in the South. With temperatures still soaring, here are some precautionary reminders to keep our furry babies safe and cool for the duration of the season.
Water: Keep plenty of clean water available to your pets and keep it out of the sun. It is easy to get busy this time of year, however keeping your pet’s bowl full of water is essential.
Shelter: If your Shelter: If your dog is going to be spending time in the backyard, you need to think about shelter from the hot sun. Trees can be a good source of shelter, as long as they are sufficient in size to protect your pet for the amount of time they are out. It is important to remember that dog houses are NOT shelter from the heat. If you need a good source for a quality dog house, check out this website: http://www.newagepet.com/product-category/dog/dog-houses/.
Exercise: Exercise is essential for our pets, but we must keep it to a minimum during the hottest hours of the day. When walking your pet, be aware of the pavement temperature
Try these ideas to stay safe and cool:
Protect your pals’ paws with booties, socks or paw protection wax.
Kiddie pools and water sprinklers provide a great way for your furry friend to cool down.
Cooling mats are always an option, and they are available on Amazon. I take one to the beach with me every year.
There is also an “All for Paws Chill Out Ice Bandana” that can be found on Amazon. They also make this in a vest.
Check out the crate/dog house fans. There are models that utilize ice rings, which are like a personal air conditioner for your dog.
Give your pal a frosty treat. I have included a recipe for one of my dog’s favorites below and you can find more at: www.doggydessertchef.com.
By: Leslie Reid, Pet Pilgrimage Crematory and Memorials
COPYRIGHT 2022 PET PILGRIMAGE CREMATORY AND MEMORIALS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Sadie worked with the Mooresville Police Department from February, 2018 until November, 2019.
She was trained in Narcotics detection and was assigned to Mooresville High School, where she was the absolute favorite employee. She enjoyed taking a long nap as soon as she got home from work. She also loved the water more than life itself and had an incredible long jump! When she would run to jump in the water, she looked like she was flying through the air before she touched the water.
Pegi specialized in Explosives Detection and Deputy Protection
Pegi started her career with the Iredell Sheriff’s office on October 20, 2006. Pegi was trained as a dual-purpose dog, specializing in Explosives Detection and Deputy Protection. Pegi was certified through the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. She was a member of the North Carolina Explosives Detection Canine Task Force. She was a hard working patrol dog who played a large part in building and security protocol. Canine Pegi passed away on August 10, 2019.
Baks worked with the Mooresville Police Department for 6 years on patrol. He was 9 years old when he passed away. His specialties were narcotics, building searches, area searches, personal protection, obedience and tracking.
Baks was meant to be a work canine. He thoroughly enjoyed being a police canine and utilizing his personalized skill set whenever he could. He was always energetic and loved getting rubbed by everyone he met. Baks was best known for never leaving the house without a toy in his mouth.