Thursday, April 24, 2014

4/24/2014

Thank you so much for your generous gifts to the cats from our Amazon wish list! We are so grateful to you for your kindness and generosity!!

http://amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/14VUTQST8F5XH


Thank you Terry Carter for the food and cleaner!

Thank you Ann Mary Quarandillo for the freshsteps!

Thank you Francisco Vera for the broom!
Thank you Robert Sult for the swiffers!
Thank you Scot Kaeff for the freshstep!





Thank you Sam for the food!
Thank you Scott Allan  for the food!
Thank you Sally Howard for the brooms!
Thank you Rosemary Newman for the food and cleaner!
Thank you Judith Ingles for the freshstep!
Thank you Wendy Fellows for the foods and play cube!




Thank you Sally Howard for the broom!
Thank you Traci Quinones for the food, tower of tracks and toys!
Thank you Cassandra Chandler for the toy!
Thank you Crystal Sylvester for the broom!
Thank you John Resch for the freshstep!
Thank you Marianne Neville Kanfer for the freshstep!




Thank you John Resch for the freshstep!
Thank you Thomas Gradisek for the freshstep!
Thank you Stephanie Zuchowski for the freshstep!
Thank you Lynn Molitor for the freshstep!
Thank you Mary Clare Cahill for the freshstep!
Thank you Wendy Weintraub for the foods and gain!


Thank you John Huckabay for the Gains!
Thank you Patricia Wilson for the food!
Thank you Crystal Pierson for the foods!
Thank you James Schwendinger for all the foods!
Thank you Denise Maehara for the food and cleaner!
Thank you Heather Adrion for the Gain, food and dryer sheets!
Thank you unnamed for the food,  dryer sheets and toys, toilet paper, freshstep and the brooms!





PLEASE ASSIGN YOUR JUMP TICKETS! If you bought tickets and are not jumping, We can't jump them if you don't assign them.. Go to http://dareme4charity.com/ sign in, click on your account, click on your tickets, click on assign and put in alana@blindcatrescue.com Thank you for helping!! Please share


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

4/22/2014

Thank you so much for all the gifts from our Amazon wish list!


Thank you Sandy Masciarelli for the Walmart Gift Card!
Thank you Alison Belknap for the Amazon Gift Card!
Thank you Donna Bailey for the Amazon Gift Card!
Thank you Femke Roders for the Amazon Gift card!
Thank you Dr. Jane & Tripod for the Amazon Gift Card!
Thank you Cyndi Mallow & Itty Bit Jr for the Amazon Gift Card!
Thank you Louise Butler for the Amazon Gift Card!
Thank you Bobbie for the Amazon Gift Card!



Thank you Karin Burns for the car bed!
Thank you Hand Made by My Monkey for the vaccines!
Thank you Diana Frankel for the dry food and cat litter!
Thank you unnamed for the cat foods, trashbags, catnip, blanket, toys, paper towels, tunnels, towels, batteries,  and cat cubes!




Thank you Rica Cruz for the treats, toys, and food!
Thank you Kari C for the paper towels, toilet paper, batteries, Color cleanup,  Clorox, towels, crinkle tube, printer inks, gift card, turbo scratch and lots of freshstep!
Thank you Natasha Rios for the cat litter and cleaner!
Thank you Melissa Cavuto for the food!




Thank you Lisa Wilkingson for the foods, toys and litter!
Thank you Audrey Graff for the foods and food!
Thank you Tricia Rosario for the food and toys!
Thank you Candace Lawrence for the food!
Thank you Shannon Meadows for the scratch and rest!



Thank you Kris Billingsley for the food!
Thank you Cassandra Chandler for the toy and freshstep!
Thank you Elaine Borskey for the cleaner!
Thank you Veronica Belsuzarri for the play cube!
Thank you Melina Lacovone for the freshstep!
Thank you Krista Shull for the freshstep!



Thank you Ann Mary Quarandillo for the freshstep!
Thank you Susamma Seeley for the freshstep!
Thank you Judith Ingles for the freshsteps!
Thank you Francois Du Perron for the food!
Thank you Stephanie Kutz for the food!
Thank you Ana Cash for the toys!



Thank you Brunswick Pet ER for the foods, toys and scratch and rests!
Thank you Renee Harp for the toys and litter!
Thank you James Vasquez for the carrier and scratch and rest!
Thank you Charlie Hill for the food!
Thank you Sam in memory of Baron for the foods and dryer sheets!
Thank you Meredith Campbell for all the food and kickeroo's!


!
Thank you Missie Crossen for the food and fish bed!
Thank you Elizabeth Ross for the fish bed and toys!
Thank you Veronica Johnson for the food!
Thank you Kristy Blackburn for the food and freshstep!




How I Cope With My Personal Loss
by Fiona




There is no such thing as right or wrong in the grieving process. There is no time limit!
A good friend is one who listens well, and doesn't try to “convince” you of anything.
A simple card and “I’m sorry” from a friend makes a difference.

You may find yourself impatient, frustrated or angry with well-meaning friends and family. Remember, your feelings are valid. Your reactions are valid. If you can, try just walking away to let overwhelming feelings dissipate. It’s normal to get very angry and “explode” at somebody. Your good friends will understand.

The night my Dad died, Mom and I were tending to him – and something I did made my Mom really angry and she said something really mean. I was so angry at her I was shaking and sobbing. I decided to walk out to the yard until I cooled off. Mom came out after me to continue the tirade. I was so hurt, and I didn't want to hurt back. The only thing I could think to do was drive home (3 miles away) until I calmed down, and go back again. That’s what I did. We reconciled, pulled together again, and Dad died a few hours later.

When my Mom was diagnosed with lung cancer, I didn't have the option of denial – I knew EXACTLY what was coming, and that everything was going to be down to me. That’s a hard position to be in. I don’t recall being angry, except at times I wish I’d had more professional help. I knew I had to be strong for Mom’s sake



When some people lose their pet, they choose to bury their pet – if you do, dig as deep as you can and place stones over the grave so wildlife won’t detect and dig up your beloved pet. You can plant a good sized bush to help protect the site and make your own Memorial Garden.
My own choice was to cremate Paddy, partly because I really wasn't sure what my future held and I didn’t want to bury him and then have to “leave him behind.” Seven months later, I still have his ashes. Now that I own my house and am very sure I won’t be moving, I feel a lot more comfortable scattering or burying his ashes with a memorial planting. I had also bought him a nice little wooden urn. Once I've put his ashes to rest, I will use this beautiful box as a keepsake box with a picture, a toy, anything that will remind me of him. I think there’s a reassuring aspect to choosing cremation- he’s still with me and always will be.
With pets, we have only our friends and loved ones to turn to when we’re in this boat. When our pets are sick, there’s no Hospice service for pets. I wish there were, because they are angels on earth!

It doesn’t get any easier no matter how many times you go through it. But the second time around with Mom, and third time around with Paddy, I did already have my own coping mechanisms in place, ones I had learned that work for me. Not necessarily anyone else – just me.



Hope these thoughts are helpful. 


I want to thank our friend and BCR supporter, Fiona, for sharing her personal experiences with loss. Fiona’s experiences with the loss of her parents and pet recreated the same feelings of loss each time. She found what helped her cope with her personal losses. When she needed coping skills, she knew what worked for her – Fiona had developed her own path back from the sadness of great personal loss to enjoying  and living life so she can give back to others.


Monday, April 21, 2014

4/21/201

Thank you for the gifts from our Amazon wish list!!

Amazon often does not give us your name,  they
never give us your contact information.
Please know how grateful we are to you for
your gifts!!



Thank you Amanda Crane for the toys!
Thank you Melanie White for the goods!
Thank you Monica for all the foods!
Thank you Judith Robinson for over food, scratch and rest, and batteries!



Thank you Gayle Blackham for the food and tunnel chute!
Thank you Rick Holscher for the food!
Thank you James Grimsley for the toys!
Thank you Tina for the foods!
Thank you Jessie Hieatt for the food and toys!



Thank you Roger Lee Dowdy for the food!
Thank you Suzanne Coholic for the catnip!
Thank you unnamed for the food, blankets, towels,  toys and lysol cleaner!






Pet Loss
Helping Your Pet with the Loss of Their Companion Animal

You’re grieving the loss of your beloved pet. Cognitively and emotionally, you understand the loss. But have you thought about your other pets? They have lost their companion animals too.
If a pet’s grief can be described as the sense of loss and the anxiety of trying to come to terms with the loss, then yes, pets do grieve. You may not have thought about your pet experiencing grief when they lose their companion pet. If you have ever been a pet parent of more than one pet, you may have witnessed pet grief. They do not need to be siblings or inseparable to grieve the loss of another pet in the home – they did share a bond and it may have been stronger than you realize. Their loss is no less traumatic for them as it is for you.

You may see signs of grieving in your pet that will be similar to your own. Just like there are actions you can take to ease your grief, there are specific actions you can take to help your pet ease their grief. It may help you ease some your pain to focus on supporting your other pets through their loss. You and your pet share a common bond and loss. You can support each other. Don’t we owe our pets support and love when they need it, just as they have done for us?
We cannot ask our cats what they think or feel, but we can infer certain emotional states by observing their behaviors. We know when our pets are happy, but do we know when they are sad or feeling lonely?

What are the signs that your pet may be grieving the loss of their companion animal?
Lack of energy, withdrawing and spending more time alone, sadness or depression
Changes in appetite, lack of interest in food or over-eating
Restlessness at home, pacing as if looking for the deceased pet
Increased vocalizations that may sound like cries or attempts to call to their deceased friend
Increased need to be with you, increased clinginess
Unusual behaviors which may include sitting at the window for extensive periods waiting for the other pet’s return – separation anxiety

What can we do to help our pets through their time of grieving?
Many of the same activities that help ease your sense of loss and help you stay focused on the present will be similar to the activities that will help your pet.
Pets sense our moods. Do not hide your grieving process, it is healing. Continue to talk to your pet, be as cheerful as possible for you and them. The simple act of hearing your voice can be comforting to your pet.
When you engage in a quiet activity, such as reading, find your cat and grab a blanket. Curl up together and read to your pet. They will not understand what you are reading, but a calm, pleasant voice will be welcoming to them. This may be very important if they were very interactive or vocal with their companion pet. As they relax, you feel their muscle tension relax and they may begin to purr softly. This may have been comforting to you in the past. Cats also purr to self soothe.
Do not alter the overall daily routine. If you had regular playtime with your pet, engage in additional playtime with your cat. Bring home new toys to enjoy together.
Do not forget the activities your cat enjoyed before the loss. Spend time grooming and brushing their fur. Give extra affection through gentle massage or petting.
If your cat went for walks on a harness outdoors with you, continue to take walks together. You may not feel like taking walks, but just like going to the gym, you must schedule them. It’s too easy to say “I’ll do it later when I feel like it…” but you must remember, it’s not just for you! It’s for the well-being of your pet.
If you notice your cat is restless or crying, or displaying any unusual behaviors in looking for the deceased pet, give them attention and love. It will reassure them that you will not abandon them. Do not use treats to quiet them.
Do not adjust feeding patterns or amounts to prevent over-eating and weight gain. If your pet has lost their appetite, give them their favorite foods and the occasional treat. Do not use treats to replace love and affection from you.
Your pet may have the occasional accident outside the litter box. This can be from anxiety or stress related to their pet loss. It is not spiteful behavior toward you. Do not punish, yell or hit your pet, no matter how upset or saddened you may feel. You comprehend the loss, they do not. They do not understand anxiety or stress and how to constructively relieve them.

If your cat begins to show signs of UTI (Urinary Tract Infections), prolonged depression or anxiety, lack of appetite for more than two days, or signs of stress, i.e. excessive grooming, schedule a veterinarian appointment ASAP. Do not delay getting emergent treatment and fluids if the cat has not eaten in two days. Be sure to tell your vet about the recent companion pet loss.

What about letting your cat see the deceased companion cat’s body? Does it help them understand their friend will not be coming home?
Your vet may not allow you to take your cat home after euthanasia. Some studies suggest for cats, letting them see, sniff and nuzzle their deceased friend allows their grieving process begin. The cat instinctively knows their friend will not be returning home. It may be too difficult for you to do this.
Others believe that letting your cat sniff at some of their deceased friend’s fur can accomplish the same recognition that their friend will not be coming home.

What about getting another pet? When is the “right time”?
First, the “right time” is when you and your cat have adjusted to the pet loss. Remember: while you are still grieving, it is not a good time make major decisions. Adopting another cat will not ease your grief and will never be a replacement cat. It is not the best choice for your pet either, as they need to grieve their loss too. You may find your cat will be happy being the only cat for a while.
If you decide to adopt another pet, choose one that will be a good fit for you, your pet and your lifestyle. The new pet should be a joyous addition; not because they reminded you of your other cat or your friends and family make you feel pressured to “get over it.”
Adopting another pet should be a lifetime commitment to the new pet. If you do adopt, be sure to spend equal quality time with both pets. Help your pet interact positively with the newly adopted pet.
It would not be fair for the new pet to be treated as the replacement pet or for your pet to feel competition for your affections.

Give you and your pet time…time to heal and enjoy life together. Caring for each other in your mutual times of grief will strengthen your love and relationship with your cat.   





                                              

Sunday, April 20, 2014

4/20/2014

Thank you so much for the gifts 
for the cats from our Amazon wish list!





Thank you Bobbie for the Amazon Gift Card!
Thank you Melissa for the Amazon Gift Card!
Thank you Hope Ash for the Amazon Gift Card!
Thank you Olivia for the Amazon Gift Card!





Thank you Rachel Golden for the toys and rainbow toy!
Thank you Kimberly Hurley for the toys and food!
Thank you Denise Stratton for the food and freshstep!
thank you Heidi Mead for the trashbags, toys, laundry soap and sponges!
Thank you Griselle Corbo for the toys and food!



Thank you for the toys, and foods!
Thank you Carrie Phebus for the food, toys and litter!
Thank you Elizabeth Miller for the food and Swifters!
Thank you Paul Weston for the food!
Thank you Mara Whitney for the food!

Casper was swallowed by a fish :)


Thank you Wesley Wilder for the food!
Thank you Wendy Mullen for the food!
Thank you Faith Hershiser for the camera!
Thank you Francis Pough for the camera!
Thank you Vicky Ellis for the car bed!



Thank you Elise Balcom for the food!
Thank you Heidi Castellanos for the foods and trashbags!
Thank you Linda Carden for the water filters!
Thank you Randy Price for the food, toys and cleaner!

Thank you Lisa Wilkinson for the food and play cubes!

The cats checking out the goodies in the boxes

Thank you Dana Radell for the food and scratch and rest!
Thank you Jennifer Darby for the sponges, trashbags and toys!
Thank you Chrissy for the foods, tower of tracks, undrcover mouse and tunnels!
Thank you Letitia and Tish for the crocheted cat mats!

Paul Love the catnip rainbows

Thank you to the kind unnamed people that sent the fish bed, freshstep, foods, toys, blanket, and sardine toys.
Sadly they also never give us anyone's contact information so we can not personally thank you.   Please know how grateful we are to you for your kindness!



If you have bought a Jump ticket and are
not going to jump,  Please assign your ticket to us!
Go to  http://dareme4charity.com/ 
sign in, 
click on your account, 
click on your tickets, 
click on assign and put in alana@blindcatrescue.com 
Thank you for helping!! Please share



Grieving the Loss of Your Pet – Coping
By Jill Anne Sparapany

You’ve just experienced the loss of your pet or learned of the impending loss. It’s so difficult to know your pet’s days are numbered and you don’t know that number! You experience grief when you learned about your pet’s terminal illness. You will feel it again when they cross the Rainbow Bridge!
The Pain feels Unbearable. Crushing. You are Angry. Depressed. You ask Why do I feel Guilty? Why does it Hurt so much? When will the Pain Stop? How will I Survive? If I survive, will I Forget the Love I shared with my pet?

Why do we feel the loss of our pet more than other losses in our life? Because they are our furry family members and they give us Unconditional Love. There is a special bond with our pets that is felt in our hearts and souls. Yes, our souls – because deep down, we believe we will see our beloved pets again. “The Rainbow Bridge” is about that reunion, when our pets are anxiously waiting to see us as much as we are to see them.

What is grief? There are many definitions, but this is the best one I found:
Grief is a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which an intimate bond was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, spiritual, and philosophical dimensions. While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement refers to the state of loss, and grief is the reaction to loss. Grief is a natural response to loss – any loss.

How can you cope with your grief?
There are two important things to remember:
You are not alone. You will feel many things in grieving the loss of your pet.
You will survive. Repeat, you will survive! There are days when you may doubt this, but remember, tomorrow the sun will rise again and you will get out of bed and go about your day.

There are many ways to find your way through this painful and confusing time. Everyone who has experienced loss in the past still goes through the same grieving process. Yes, process – the path to finding yourself back in your life. Every life experience reminds us we are still alive and provides life lessons.

Some choose constructive ways to cope with their grief. Others do not. Some people have found these activities helpful. This is not a complete list but should help you on the path.
Take Care of Yourself. It is so important to take care of yourself. You may not feel like eating, sleeping, exercising or engaging in activities you did before your pet loss. But you must continue to eat, sleep and do some exercise! When you are in good physical condition, you are better able to cope emotionally. Poor physical condition can precipitate conditions that will make you vulnerable to illnesses. If you are not sleeping well at night, allow yourself an afternoon nap. If you don’t feel like eating full meals, try smaller, more frequent meals.
It’s okay if you do not feel like engaging in your usual social activities right away. But do not avoid going out – there are a lot of things you can do by yourself to keep you going outside! If you are able, go to your local park area and walk. Being outside, breathing in the fresh air, clearing your mind and focusing on what’s around you helps. Look at the trees, the clouds, watch for wildlife and birds, feel the breeze on your face and feel the warmth of the sun. All of these will remind you that you are alive!
Avoid making major decisions. During the grieving period, you may not be able to think clearly or may feel depressed. Longing for a return to normalcy, you may rush into decisions that you may regret later. Avoid major decisions, such as moving to a new home or city, changing jobs or beginning a new relationship. Be patient with yourself!
Some friends and family will hope you will ‘get over’ the grief of pet loss! Be patient with them too. They may suggest you get another kitten or cat. This is also a serious commitment for the lifetime care of another pet. Do not rush into this decision. There is not another cat that can replace your lost companion or soothe your heartbreak.
Talk with a close friend or family member. Expressing your feelings can be very helpful. Talk about your happy memories with your pet. What they meant to you and what you miss.
Write a journal. Some are comforted by writing their thoughts and feelings while grieving. It does not necessarily need to be about the lost pet (or person). Express your emotions about the loss in your journal too. When you remember a happy moment with your pet, write it down.
Save your favorite picture of your pet. I find putting together a favorite picture of your pet in a beautiful frame, along with a small clipping of their fur (taken at the vet’s office) between the glass and the photo, to be comforting. Find a special place for their picture – not hidden but not ‘in your face’ either.
When you are home, do not vegetate in front of the television. Reading is helpful for many people. Don’t think you need to read self-help books on loss and grieving, finding the ‘meaning of life, or religious and spiritual books. Try to read books that are not related to your loss – read the latest Best Seller Fiction book, as a temporary escape into feeling normal. If you enjoy history or art, read books in your areas of interest.
Be gentle and be flexible. If you felt you needed to clean the house twice a week before your pet loss, give yourself a break. Instead of cleaning that second time, engage in a fun activity. If your calendar was jam-packed, give yourself time to relax and reduce the social demands while you are grieving. If you need, use the time to talk with your closest confidant, pray or seek out a support group. Above all, give yourself time to work through your grief process. Everyone goes through grieving at their own pace; do not rush your process.

Plan for the anniversary of your pet loss. Sometimes, even when you have finished the grieving process, the anniversaries of your pet loss or their birthday may stir up sad feelings. Some people use anniversaries to celebrate the life and happiness they shared with their pet. Others take the day off work to remember their pet or read their journal and discover how far they have come. You will not know what feelings you will have on the anniversaries, so, again, be gentle on yourself. Have patience. It may not seem like it now, but time does heal the pain and softens the heartache. You will smile again. You will see your beloved pet’s face through smiling eyes, not tears.






Memorialize your pet. You may not have felt like doing this at the time of your pet loss. Some plan for a special activity, such as planting a Memorial Garden, on the anniversary. Make a donation to an animal rescue in honor of your pet. Explore your feelings and let them guide you to your place of comfort and peace.
Some cities have ordinances against burying a pet within city limits. Your city may have a special cemetery for pet burial and some places may have small ceremonies available with burial. Some people scatter some or all of the ashes along a special trail or find their own beautiful resting place for the ashes.


Future articles will focus on what are “normal” feelings, when will I stop feeling sad, euthanasia decisions, memorializing your pet, and are thoughts of adopting another pet being disloyal. There are many ways of coping with your grief and everyone develops their own strategy for integrating these into their life.

Please Note: If you experience severe depression, feelings of hopelessness or have suicidal thoughts, seek out professional help immediately! Avoid self-medicating your depression and hopelessness with alcohol and substance abuse – seek professional help immediately!



Saturday, April 19, 2014

4/19/2014

It is crazy kitty day Live today on ustream

Tours at noon,  3 pm, & 10 pm EST
Chat at 6 pm and boxes at 6:30 pm EST




Thank you so much for all the wonderful gifts from our Amazon wish list!!
http://amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/14VUTQST8F5XH


Thank you Alison Belknap for the Amazon Gift Card!
Thank you Donna Bailey for the Amazon Gift Card
Thank you Hand Made by My Monkey for the vaccines!
Thank you Diana Frankel for the dry cat food and freshstep!



Thank you unnamed for the toys, foods, giant egg, water filters, play cubes!
Sadly they did not tell us your name and they NEVER give us your contact information!
Thank you Angelica for the foods and tunnels!
Thank you Emille Keizer for the catnip toys!



                                              Thank you Melissa Franklin for the toy!
Thank you Emily ONeill for the foods!
Thank you Helen Halliday for the toys and food!
Thank you kathryn Colemen for the toys!
Thank you Alicia Richmond for the scratch and rest!




Thank you Anne Hyatt for the foods!
Thank you Michelle Smith for the food and toys!
Thank you Corey McAninch for the food and trash bags!
Thank you Ericka Villanueva for the toys and food!





Thank you Susannah Held for the foods!
Thank you Christina Scanlon for the foods, basket, bird feeder and goodies!
Thank you Renee Backstrom for the food!
Thank you Marilyn Rumschlag for the cleaner and magic erasers!
Thank you Diane Moser for the beds and autographed book!
Thank you Mariana Cajaiba for the litter and toys!
Thank you Dora Pingel for the foods and catnip!





Pet Loss and Grieving
By Jill Anne Sparapany

Many of us have experienced the loss of a beloved pet. The loss may have been a natural death (i.e. pet passes away in its sleep), from traumatic injuries and/or euthanasia. If you are a current pet owner and have not lived through pet loss, that day will come for you too. Why does it hurt so much? Because these furry family members give us unconditional love! Unlike those family holiday get-togethers that we look forward to with anxiety and knotted stomachs, our pets don’t critique our cooking, our housekeeping skills or how we raise our children. They are so happy to see us when we come home, brush their fur, pet and talk to them. There is nothing as comforting as having our cats curled up on our lap, gently purring.

Our pets enrich our lives in ways no one else can and our bond with them is felt in our hearts and souls. I say the bond is within our souls because deep down, we believe we will see our beloved pets again. “The Rainbow Bridge” is about that reunion, when our pets are anxiously waiting to see us as much as we are to see them.

There are two important things to remember:
1.     You are not alone. You will feel many things in grieving the loss of your pet.
2.     You will survive. Repeat, you will survive! There are days when you may doubt this, but remember, tomorrow the sun will rise again and you will get out of bed and go about your day.

Does this mean you have forgotten your beloved pet? Certainly Not! You will never forget your beloved pet. But as each day passes, gradually, your grief softens and will be replaced with fond memories. Your heartbreak will not hurt as much and you will remember the love you shared with your pet.
You are surviving and going through the grieving process. It is a process every one of us experiences with loss – loss of health, loss of our spouse, child or parent, loss of our job and income, loss of our pets.

I will be writing a series of articles about pet loss and the process of grieving and what you can do to get through those difficult times until you remember the unconditional love and smile. Many people may believe in a Supreme Being or not, but there seems to be an “Order to our Universe” and, therefore, our lives. In that Order of the Universe, we come in contact with many people, through family relationships or by chance, and pets that we choose or pets that choose us. Every experience in life reminds us we are alive and provides life lessons.







What is grief? There are many definitions, but this is the best one I found:
Grief is a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which an intimate bond was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, spiritual, and philosophical dimensions. While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement refers to the state of loss, and grief is the reaction to loss. Grief is a natural response to loss – any loss

Everyone responds to loss and grieves in unique ways – there are common behavioral, emotional and physical signs and symptoms that grieving people experience.

Behavioral/Mental experiences may be:
Confusion – memory, concentration, judgment, comprehension difficulties.
Intrusion – of unwanted thoughts, arousal and nightmares.
Dissociation – feelings of detachment, disorientation, unreality, denial.

Emotional experiences include:
Shock
Fear, anxiety or apprehension
Anger, irritability or agitation
Guilt
Helplessness, hopelessness
Numbness, depression

Physical experiences that may be observed or felt:
Fatigue and exhaustion – may be alternating with times of high energy and alertness
Difficulty sleeping
Disturbances in appetite – more or less than normal
Nausea with or without dizziness
Stomach and/or intestinal problems
Muscle tremors
Chills and/or sweating
Difficulty breathing, rapid respiratory rate (hyperventilation)
Increased blood pressure or heart rate
Temporary hearing loss or vision impairment – may be associated with dissociation


There are the five stages of grief – outlining our passage from initially learning about the loss to final integration of that loss into our present and moving forward in the planning our lives. First described by Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, these stages were listed in order of our movement through them. Some people may not experience all of these stages and may not go through them in this particular order.
1.     Denial. Being unable or unwilling to accept that the loss has occurred or is about to occur. Feelings of being in a bad dream and unable to escape or ‘wake up’. Feeling life is unreal, expectations of things being normal.
2.     Anger. After accepting the loss has occurred or about to occur, feeling angry at the loss and the unfairness of it. Anger may be directed at the person who has been lost or dying. Abandonment feelings occur with the anger stage.
3.     Bargaining and begging with their “Order of the Universe” Supreme Being in an attempt to reverse the loss. Typical thoughts are, “I’ll change…I’ll do (promising)…if you bring (my pet) back to me.”
4.     Depression. When anger and bargaining fail, depression is common at this time. Realization that the loss is real and nothing will change the inevitability of the loss. Physical manifestations are withdrawing from activities and relationships during mental processing of the loss; alterations in sleeping and/or eating habits and crying. Mentally, blaming themselves for causing or contributing to the loss, justified or not.
5.     Acceptance. The grief emotions – anxiety, helplessness, hopelessness, fear, anger, guilt, depression – have been resolved; acknowledgment the loss is real and cannot be reversed. Focus is now on living daily life again, finding meaningful paths toward their future.

When we lose our beloved pets, we feel our pain will crush us. It feels unbearable and we can’t imagine how we will ever survive this loss. In the beginning, you are filled with pain and deep sorrow. Your pet is not with you physically and your only thought is: I want him back!
Give yourself time and be patient with yourself. You may feel you have moved through one stage of grief, then go back through it. That’s normal!

Future articles will focus on how to cope with your own grief, what’s “normal”, euthanasia decisions, memorializing your pet, and are thoughts of adopting another pet being disloyal. There are many ways of coping with your grief and everyone can develop their own strategy for integrating these into their life.

Please Note: If you experience severe depression, feelings of hopelessness or have suicidal thoughts, seek out professional help immediately! Avoid self-medicating your depression and hopelessness with alcohol and substance abuse – seek professional help immediately!