When a furry family member crosses over the bridge, it’s hard on everyone, including surviving pets. Dealing with your own grief, and the grief of your human children, is difficult enough without also worrying about a remaining pet that may have stopped eating or is showing other signs of depression.
When two fur children are closely bonded and one of them dies, the surviving pet may have what experts refer to as a “distress reaction” that is similar in many ways to human grief. Some of the signs include:
Its not quite back to school yet…
This article has ideas for you to implement now, while you are on holiday.
As kids go back to school , pets may feel left behind.
When preparing for the day that kids go back to school remember to put your furkids on your prep list.
When your human kids go off to school, your pets have to begin a new routine, after having their family home and available twenty four, seven.
This is a time when they can become bored and could start chewing things that they shouldn’t. To prevent behaviours that you would rather not deal with, prep ahead….
To help ease the transition, try incorporating some of these ideas into your new school routine:
- Prep for School
The best time to start is about 2 weeks before school opens.
Plan some activities away from home, and increase the time you spend away every day.
There is no need to spend too much money, a long walk, or hike is a great example.
What is awesome about this idea is that it not only helps your pets adjust, it helps you bust your children’s “end of holiday” boredom.
- The Same Old Routine
Pets just like children, thrive on routine, a sudden change can be stressful and disorienting.
Think about the parts of your pet’s current routine – meals, walks, and training – that can stay the same, and try to stick to the established schedule.
Once again, incorporate your children into this routine, especially the littlies, and they will find it easier to adjust to being back at school too.
- New and Improved
For any routines that must be altered, replace them with new ones. For example, if you can no longer walk the dog in the morning because you’re driving your child to school…why not just take your pup along for the ride?
- Boredom Busters
Imagine being all alone without anything to do all day long.
You can’t even get yourself a snack even though the fridge is right there!
After a few days or weeks of this, you might come up with some…ahem…creative ways to entertain yourself.
Head boredom off at the pass by leaving your pet with interactive toys that engage his mind and body.
Get your children to make toys during the holiday and introduce the toys as you prepare for back to school day. This will increase their bond with your furry family members, bust their boredom, and your pets will have some new and exciting toys.
- After School Special
Talk to your children about how much your pets miss them when they’re at school. Encourage them to spend some quality one-on-one time with their special buddy when they get home. This might mean playing together in the back yard, talking to them about what they learned, or curling up on the couch and doing homework or reading out loud with the pet by their side.
Pets like to hear your voice so encourage your kids to read to them. Once again this little tip benefits both pets and kids!
- New Year, New Responsibilities
Including kids in pet-related chores is a great way to teach compassion and commitment. So with each new school year, give your child a little more responsibility when it comes to your pet. Make sure tasks are age-appropriate so that both kid and critter are set up for success!
- Weight Watchers
With school in session, chances are he’s not as active as he was during the holiday. Even just one or two extra pounds can have a detrimental effect on your pet’s health. So take a second look at his diet and adjust meals and treats as necessary.
Take this tip into consideration when deciding on boredom busters…
- Class Act
Yes, you can teach an old (or young) dog new tricks!
And why should kids have all the back-to-school fun, anyway?
New Year is the perfect time to sign your pooch up for a new training class.
Depending on where you live, you might find options that range from obedience to agility to canine choreography!
Involve your kids to keep the holiday bond going, or make use of this idea to have a supportive and encouraging buddy at your side for those New Year’s resolutions.
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*Try it – it’s as good as having your dog bring your newspaper to you in the mornings*
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One of the most troubling times of the year for pet owners is fireworks season.
The best way to approach something that your pets react negatively to is to be prepared.
If your pet reacts fearfully to loud noises, fireworks and the loud bangs that come along with it are going to be an issue.
Effective communication between animals and their human companions is the hallmark of a good relationship and choosing a good strong name is important when considering this.
Read the rest of this entry
I have been working with a few guardians recently and decided to compose a few posts on crossing over.
I hope that though posting these more people are helped through their process of grieving the loss of their pets.
How do you know its time to say goodbye? Time to cross the bridge…
As a mother of fur children, I know too well that making the decision to humanely euthanise your beloved family member is no easy feat.
I won’t beat around the bush here, you have to be very hard on yourself because in all honesty, emotionally you will be wanting to do everything possible to keep your fur child with you as long as possible.
Although you will need some softly guided assistance, love and kindness; you will have to get down to the nitty gritty of it and in the end you will have to make a difficult decision. Read the rest of this entry
Why do I blog?
This feels a little like a school essay. *laughs*
Why do I blog? 27 February 2013
OK, let’s get serious.
I blog because its a form of healing for me. There are just some things that you need to get off your chest. I tend to bottle everything up otherwise and well, just like what happens to a bottle of coke when you add a mint to it… It explodes.
I blog about what’s important to me; my kids; animals; I blog about life. If you’re a regular here you’ll know I’m a little squishy, part sentimental, passionate about animals and I LOVE to laugh.
If I blog about a subject or something really really personal, its because I feel that someone out there will gain something from it.
My main objective, my ultimate goal is to show a connection between animal abuse and domestic abuse. Statistics in SA about animals are slim and many people don’t realise the connection.
So to kick start my goal, I’ll be running my own survey. If you want to take part, and I mean be committed to taking part comment ꜜ down there ꜜ in the comments section, or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org with your info.
What I’d like to know is:
1. If you grew up living with domestic violence or if you were a partner / wife / husband / family of an abuser;
*a) Did the abuser – also abuse your / his / her pets?
*b) Did the abuser – start out by abusing your / his / her animals before progressing to you / your children / your family?
*c) Did the abuser – abuse the animals when you / your children / family weren’t around?
Then… If you’re really brave; could you tell a bit of your story? Please tell me your real name (for statistics purposes) but I am very happy to use a pseudonym to protect your privacy, if I use your story in a blog.
Tell it all or just a bit, writing is an amazing healing tool…
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Best wishes to all who are celebrating.
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS AT THE RAINBOW BRIDGE –
T’was the night before Christmas, at Rainbow Bridge too.
We Bridge kids were thinking as always of you.
We’d seen how the holidays weren’t bright this year,
Heard you whisper so often, “I wish you were here!
“We know how you wish you could just stay in bed
And sleep through the holiday lying ahead,
When all celebrate with their loved ones so near…
Unless they have loved ones on this side this year.
But we’re no less alive here, on the other side.
If you could just see us, you would’ve laughed and not cried.
The dogs all in harness, pulling the sleigh.
The cats all in Santa hats pointing the way.
The pet birds all flying back over the rainbow,
Bound homeward in spite of Earth’s darkness and snow.
All the pets that you’ve lost, pets for whom you’ve cried,
Flying home on this Christmas to be by your side.
If you feel warm fur brush you when no pet’s around,
Hear a soft bark or purr, just a ghost of a sound,
We’re trying to tell you we’re visiting this way,
And our visits, even rainbows, can be on any day.
But for Christmas we have something special to do,
A sleigh full of happy dream visits for you.
On doggy, on kitty, on winged friend and ferret!T
he love that you lavished, we mean now to share it!
We’re fetching that love home, the way we once played,
With the closeness we shared and the memories we made.
Our Earth lives with you were too short for us, too,
And on this Christmas Eve we have so much to do.
So all through this night as you sleep in your beds,
Sweet visions of fur babies dance in your heads.
This one special night we can bring you Home for a while,
Your true home in Heaven, where again you will smile.
Over the rainbow you’ll fly, for a short while this night,
Hours that you’ll be happy, hours that will feel right,
Hours to cuddle and hug us, to run and to play,
Before the return to Earth in our magic way.
And when you awaken and face Christmas Day,We pray you’ll remember your trip on our sleigh,
But in case you forget, just remember our love.
Remember us watching you, your angels above.
Sending love wrapped in rainbows, shining and bright,
Love that will guide you through the darkest night,
Love found in each memory unwrapped through the year,
Replacing dark sorrows with Christmas cheer.
Leave the toys to St. Nick, we Bridge kids bring dreams,
Sweet visits to remind you all is not as it seems
When you look all around you with tired Earthly eyes.
If you saw as we do, there’d be joy and surprise.
There are fur angels waiting by those Christmas trees,
Always there for you and hearing your pleas.
We’re never more than a thought away from your home,
You’re never forgotten, you’re never alone.
Nor are we alone here, with our Rainbow Bridge friends.
We know only joy here, the celebrating never ends,
And after our reunions with you Christmas Eve,
We Bridge kids will party like you’d never believe.
But we’ll slip away often to be by your side.
Sitting there watching you, eyes open wide,
Praying you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of us, too.
But whether or not you see us – Merry Christmas to you!-
Cindy Morgan (2007)
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Having many pregnant friends, all due around the same time “preggy” subjects tend to come up. 😉
So have my friends thought about seeing that their pets will cope well with a new family member?
If they haven’t I hope that they will be reading this article.
Yes my preggie dears, there is one more thing you have to add to the list… nursery colour, crib, clothing, baby products, how is your pet going to react and how do you prepare them for your new arrival.
When is the best time to be preparing your pet for a new baby?
The answer is simple …
Leaving it until you’re 9 months pregnant or ready to bring baby home is not going to help the situation, nor will it be forgiving on your stress levels. It is important to prepare gradually and in advance. The following tips will help you in preparing.
If you are anything like me while I was pregnant you are reading up on important subjects. You may have already read that your baby will thrive with a routine. Well, try to keep calm – dogs, like young children, thrive on routine, security and calm environments too. So be consistent and be kind and praise your dog for good behaviour. *winks* this is good practice for your parenting skills. 😉
AND as I said in my article about Toxoplasmosis Cats do NOT suck the air out of babies’ lungs. It is purely a myth.
One of the first steps you should take to prepare a dog for a new baby is to start working on obedience training. A well-mannered dog who knows basic obedience commands is easier to manage than one who is out of control. Mastering basic skills now, such as sit, down, and walking on a leash, will make life much easier when you are trying to care for the needs of your newborn. You can work these in to your daily routine so you can easily adapt and continue training when baby arrives.
Work on Behaviour Issues
There are several dog behaviour problems that can be annoying, or even dangerous, when you are caring for a newborn baby. Things such as barking and destructive behaviour can be a nuisance, creating more work for you or startling the baby out of sleep. Jumping up or aggressive behaviour can pose a real danger to you and the baby. Since these are not problems that go away overnight, start working on eliminating these problem behaviours now. You may want to consider calling in a dog trainer or animal behaviourist to help deal with any of these issues. Changes in the home may even trigger behaviour issues. Ask your vet for recommendations or even your local SPCA or shelter. Remember different behaviourists use different methods for training so I would advise you enquire about these beforehand.
Socialise your dog to babies
Many dogs are never around babies until their family brings one home. When you consider everything that comes along with a baby – new sounds and smells, changes to the daily routine, sharing attention – it’s easy to see that it can be a confusing and frightening experience for a dog. Prepare your dog for all these things by introducing him to babies before you bring your newborn home. You can invite over friends and family members with babies to socialise or even play a recording of baby sounds. By the time you bring your baby home, your dog should be well prepared for all the new sights, sounds, and smells! Remember to never leave a child or baby unattended in the company of your dog. Your aim here is to make your dog comfortable with children, possibly teaching new behaviours or noticing behaviours you would like to mention to your behaviourist.
Put baby powder on a baby doll to help prepare the dog for new smells. Carry the doll around as you do things around the house. Engage in baby-care activities in front of the dog such as changing a nappy. Teach the dog to sit-stay while you’re holding the doll. Let the dog sniff near the doll only if and when the dog is calm and under control. Also, introduce your dog to the baby’s room. Pet your dog or cat so that they form a positive association with the baby doll (and eventually, the real baby).
Practice walking your dog around your garden with dolly in a pram or stroller to teach your dog how to behave on future walks with you and the baby.
Set up the nursery and rearrange furniture as needed in any other room’s months ahead of time. You need to realize that pets are very sensitive to change. You do not want your pet associating a bunch of sudden household changes with the arrival of the new baby, so redecorate and rearrange far in advance – so that the only big change after the birth will be the baby’s homecoming. This of course is a huge change in itself.
You may want to set up a barrier so that pets cannot enter baby’s room.
It is also important to have special pet areas with blankets or pillows, hiding places for kitties, for your pets to retreat to. These are an added insurance to a peaceful and stress free environment.
Your Pets Health
Take your pet for a vet check prior to birth. Having their inoculations up-to-date is not only important for their and your growing family’s health, you may find it difficult to transport both pet and baby to the vets immediately after birth. Make sure that tick and flea treatments are up to date.
I’ll love and leave you to let this sink in, but do look out for the next article on what to do when baby arrives home.
Please do me a huge favour and comment on this post with your stories or tips you would like to add.
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