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How to Mourn Your Pet

Losing a beloved pet is difficult.  Hopefully, these tips will help you move forward while you grieve.

I’ll be 36 a week from today.  In my lifetime, I have lost several childhood pets.  They each touched my heart in some way, but honestly, the pets I’ve had as an adult have been much harder losses than any other pet deaths I’ve suffered.

First, I lost Ontaria.  She was my first “adult” dog.

Losing a beloved pet is difficult.  Hopefully, these tips will help you move forward while you grieve.

Ontaria and me on the morning I took her to the vet to let her go. Her face was so grey!

I adopted her when I was 18, and was luckily enough to have her for 13 years.  She was there through boyfriends, a marriage, a divorce, infertility, and most of the monumental events in my young adult life.  I was heartbroken when I had to let her go.

Then came Sydney, Ontaria’s “sister”.

Losing a beloved pet is difficult.  Hopefully, these tips will help you move forward while you grieve.

She died on an operating table 4 months after Ontaria and on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  She was never the same after Ontaria died, so I think she was a little heartbroken as well.  They were companions for about 8 years.

I was heartsick.  My bedroom was silent at night.  No random jingling of dog tags, no snoring, no chewing sounds or groans as they shifted in their sleep.  The lack of having my companions in the room and the complete silence kept me awake at night and there were many times I cried myself to sleep.  I swore off dogs, I just didn’t think I could handle the grief again.

And then this little stinker was born and the moment I saw his face I claimed him.

Losing a beloved pet is difficult.  Hopefully, these tips will help you move forward while you grieve.

I KNEW he was destined to be mine.  We lost Sydney after he was born and my husband wanted to have a dog too- we also thought a pair would keep down the late night whining and crying sessions, so we added this guy to our home as well.

We named them Pip and Wyck.

Losing a beloved pet is difficult.  Hopefully, these tips will help you move forward while you grieve.

We had plans for them, the brothers who would grow up together.  The boys, or tinkies, as we called the pair loved to hop in the car together and go wherever we went.  Hiking, to the store, to pick up their Dad from work- anywhere we went they went too.

Losing a beloved pet is difficult.  Hopefully, these tips will help you move forward while you grieve.

I love how they both had dots on top of their heads.

Then it happened.  Wyck became sick. The vet ignored me and my warnings that something was seriously wrong.  He told me over and over that it was just an upset stomach, but I knew better.  Less than 24 hours later, while his Dad was holding him, crying and pleading with him to hang on just a few hours until the vet opened, Wyck raised his head, looked right at me, vomited blood everywhere and died.  His death has been very hard for me and my husband.  We STILL miss him, however, we’ve been moving forward by following some small steps.

Losing a beloved pet is difficult.  Hopefully, these tips will help you move forward while you grieve.

1.  Letting go of our guilt

Could we have spent more money, could I have yelled and screamed and stomped my foot until the vet paid attention to me?  Could I have taken him somewhere else?  Why did I take him to the same vet where Sydney died on the operating table?  Oh, yes, I blamed myself for a long time, but I have let most of it go.  None of it matters NOW, so I try not to dwell.

2.  Regularly looking at photos and reminiscing

While it may seem like a bad idea, we’ve moved forward enough in our grief to laugh about the silly things in the time we did have together, rather than dwelling on the last few hours of his life.

Losing a beloved pet is difficult.  Hopefully, these tips will help you move forward while you grieve.

3.  Remembering that Pets are a gift you borrow for their lifetime, not yours

With the exception of certain breeds of birds, the odds of your pet out living you are not good.  We had to remind ourselves that the moment we let them into our hearts, they were on borrowed time.  We always knew we would bury our “kids” and not the reverse.  It’s a price you pay for getting their lifetime of unconditional love.  It’s a reminder that nothing is forever, and to love as much, as deeply and  fiercely as you can.

4.  Telling yourself it’s okay to grieve

Many people do not understand pet loss.  Every time I have lost a pet as an adult, I stayed home from work and cried.  I cried until my nose was snotty, my eyes were red and swollen, and I was emotionally drained.  My pets ARE my kids.  They sleep with me, we play together, they are happy to see me everyday and vice versa.  It doesn’t matter if someone else understands, it doesn’t matter if someone else thinks you’re “being silly” because it’s just a “pet”.  You need to mourn, so take the time to do it.

5.  Learn to love again

Oh, that part is hard.  It’s hard to open your heart and let some furry, feathered or scaled critter back into your life, but it’s rewarding.  You never forget the others, but the new ones give you more memories, more laughter and more love.  All you have to do is open up and give it back.

 

Have you lost a pet?  Tell me how you made it through your grief!

 

 

 

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How to Trim Your Dog or Cats Toenails

Owning a pet certainly has wonderful benefits and joys like nothing else.  But pets also require a certain level of care in order to stay healthy and happy.  Grooming is a big part of this care and clipping toenails is an important and necessary part of the care! Even though this post uses dogs as an example, this tutorial also works for cats!

Are you too scared to trim your pets nails?  This easy tutorial shows you what supplies to use and how to do it!

Many pet owners are intimidated by clipping nails!  It’s a relatively easy process, but does require you to be careful and patient.  I am going to use my dog, Pip, for this example.

Jack Russell/Rat Terrier Mix, Pip.  You must have permission to use this photo.

He has some pink and white nails, so it’s easier to see what I am discussing.

If you have never clipped nails before I recommend the following:

Nail Clippers- Heavy duty clippers that look like this:

Are you too scared to trim your pets nails?  This easy tutorial shows you what supplies to use and how to do it!

They are available anywhere, but Petco has them for a good price.  I do NOT recommend the guillotine type clippers.  Trimming nails needs to be finished quickly and efficiently, and the guillotine require extreme care when lining them up.  Additionally, dogs who do not like having nail trims tend to yank their feet away, so it constantly pulls them out of the clippers.  You have less control this way, in my opinion!

Kwik Stop– This is a product you can use to stop bleeding if you cut the nail too short.  It works on dogs, cats, and birds, and yes, I have personally used it on all 3.

Dremmel type tool with a sander on it.  It doesn’t have to be specific to animal use.  This is especially nice if you have hardwood floors or if your pet gets really sharp edges on their nails.  It will sand nails smooth and keeps your floors and body from getting scratched up!  If your dog will allow it, you will also be able to get closer to the quick!

A dogs nail has a vein running through the nail called a quick.  It is similar to a cuticle on a human.  When you trim their nails, your goal should be to trim as close to the quick as possible without actually snipping the quick.  (Same with cats, but I am going to reference dogs through the post)

Are you too scared to trim your pets nails?  This easy tutorial shows you what supplies to use and how to do it!

Your goal when trimming is to snip as much as possible, as close to the quick as possible, as fast as possible along a line like this:

Are you too scared to trim your pets nails?  This easy tutorial shows you what supplies to use and how to do it!

You need to get your dog in to a comfortable position.  If someone can help you hold the pet that’s even better!

Next, you will need to firmly, grasp the paw and push on the bottom of the foot pad for the nail you want to trim.  This will make the nail extend.

Line up your clippers just in front of the quick and quickly press down on the clippers.  The nail should immediately snap off.

Are you too scared to trim your pets nails?  This easy tutorial shows you what supplies to use and how to do it!

Bigger dogs have thicker nails, so be prepared to really squeeze those clippers!  If your dogs are big pansies like my dog, Meg, she will holler and be a drama queen about it.  DO NOT GET SUCKERED BY THIS!  If there is no BLOOD, they are OK!!!

Make sure to also trim the dew claw if they have one.  It’s kind of like a doggie thumb! I have seen this nail grow into the pad of the foot when it’s missed too often in trims, so it’s important to watch for it!


 

Do you trim your pets nails?  Tell me how that works for you!  Do you have more questions?  Ask me below!

 

 


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How Your Animals Can Affect Your Homeowners Insurance

Let me open by saying I am PASSIONATELY AGAINST Breed Specific Legislation. I’m so passionate about it you would NEVER want to get me going on the topic unless you wanted to see a lot of eye rolling and my blood pressure go up.  When/If my city decides to try and pass these laws you can bet your hiney I will be right there fighting it all the way.

However, working in the Property and Casualty Insurance world forces me to go against that belief every day.  I have yet to see an insurance company who does not have a list of dog breeds they find unacceptable to be owned.  Most of the notable i.e popular companies you see advertised on television have a written guideline denying insurance if you own one of the following:

Pit Bulls

Rottweilers

German Shepherd

Huskies (Bet you wouldn’t have guessed that one)

Alaskan Malamutes

Doberman Pinschers (I haven’t even seen one of these in almost 20 years)

Chows

Great Danes (Seriously, I had one, don’t get me started!!!)

St. Bernard (Did someone watch Cujo too many times as a child?)

Akitas

Jindo

Presna Canario

Wolf or Wolf Hybrids

Any “Other” viscious breed or animal with a bite history.

A few companies out there have an Animal Liability Exclusion form you can sign that means your insurance company will not cover you if your animal bites someone.  Hmmm, let’s take a look at my own pets for a minute.

Pip being a jerk

Those are my two dogs.  Pip is on the left and Meg is on the right.  Pip MUST be vicious right?  He’s wearing a spiked collar and making what I call his “ugly face” so he must be a total punk of a dog right?  Pip was being a JERK at that exact moment.  I also IMMEDIATELY corrected him.  However, his big sis was biting his neck AGAIN (hence the spiked collar) and he was fed up!  If my insurance agent saw this photo my dog would be excluded from my policy.  Oh wait…I’M my Insurance Agent and since I know his history I say he’s fine.  🙂

Let’s take another look at Pip (please excuse the darkness, it was a cell phone):

Pip and Nox

Oh look!  Pip and our 7 week-ish old kitten, Nox,  are sharing the bed.  How vicious.  He plays with this kitten every day.  They obviously have chewed up paper under the computer desk as well.  /sigh.  Pip has not hurt him 1 time.

Personally, I feel it would be much wiser for insurance companies to simply ask if a dog has a bite history.  If not, let it go.


 

In addition to household pets causing liability issues, there are other rules and regulations for animals on your property.  You cannot own an animal classified as exotic.  Yes, those happen.  I know someone who was taking photos of a home and found a pen in the back with two MASSIVE reptiles in it.  They were over 5 ft long.  Most insurance companies are not going to accept that type of liability.

Do you have a small hobby farm?  Most companies have limits on the number of horses, cattle, goats, chickens etc. that you have on your property.  The larger animals are limited by policies because they have a tendency to break out of their enclosures and cause auto accidents.  I saw a cow in the median of the interstate last month!  Additionally, if you sell ANY products from those animals, your company will likely not cover you due to the chance of a lawsuit.  Do you raise Bees?  I found ONE company who was OK with a beekeeping hobby.  There ARE Hobby Farm Endorsements you can add to your policy, so if it’s a dream of yours to have one, please check with your agent first.  You should be able to put coverage in place, but with advice and correct coverage!

Please communicate with your agent about your animals.  It is so much more important to find out there is an issue in advance than if you have a claim.  A simple phone call can save a lot of time and hassle!

 

How do you feel about Breed Specific Legislation?  Do you think Insurance Companies should be able to deny coverage based on a breed?


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Nox

We had some NASTY storms here in Arkansas on Sunday night.  The kind of nasty that means my awesome hubby was outside in the cold rain trying to figure out why our sump pump wasn’t working and our bedroom was flooding…at MIDNIGHT.  I was in the car…uhhhh… directing the headlights!  Sure, that’s what I’ll call it!  Around 12:30 am he finally was able to get the damn thing working right and the water level went down!  Needless to say, it was a flash flood kind night for us.

I went to work the next day and almost as soon as I sat down as my desk I heard it.  A cat yowling.  I do mean YOWLING.  It sounded like it was coming from the back of our office, but a co-worker didn’t mention it when she came in through that door, so I just kind of ignored it. About 30 minutes later I heard it again.  Finally, I asked if I was crazy or if anyone else heard the cat?!  We went out back to look for it, and sure enough, there was a lonely kitten under our air conditioning unit.  He was soaked!  We’re guessing he was either washed away from his momma or she moved them due to the flooding and he got away from her.

My co-worker grabbed the broom and shoo’ed him out from under the AC unit, and he darted into our office.  I caught him, and good grief he was TINY.    I was absolutely shocked, but he let me pick him up and hold him.  If he actually sits still, he can sit on the palm of my hand.  We had to keep him in the bathroom because the little stinker could jump out of the box!  I sent my hubby a text to let him know we found the cat and if no one was going to take him, I was bringing him home and would give him away.  His answer:  NO, I want him! And DIBBS on naming him.

By lunchtime I figured the little guy was starving, and his bathroom wailing was annoying everyone, so I picked him up some milk replacement and a little bottle to feed him.  Poor guy was so hungry he chewed the nipple off of the bottle trying to get the milk out faster.  At the end of my lunch hour he was crawling on my shoulders, playing in my hair and happily purring away.  By the end of the day he was following me around the office on his own.

After a loud YOWLING drive home (someone doesn’t like being stuck in a box), we finally got him in the door and gave him some time to eat.  Poor little guy was insanely hungry.  We set up the old puppy pen, gave him an old blanket, set up a teeny tiny litter box and started getting him used to our home.  He’s old enough to use the litter box on his own, (and did it LIKE A CHAMP!!!)  so we know he is at least 3 weeks old, but we will have to work on weaning him.

He promptly hissed at our 60 lb dog and smacked her nose.  He’s probably all of 2 lbs and already trying to run this place.  He’s a little more tolerant of our smaller dog, but if he gets startled he smacks at him too.  Honestly, I find it freaking adorable!  We named him Nox.  My husband and I are both Harry Potter fans and it’s a spell in the book series that turns out lights.  Since he is grey in color, we both thought it was a great name.

There is something just so awesome and fulfilling about rescuing a stray and I’m glad we’re keeping this one.

Nox


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Sick of Pet Hair? I GUARANTEE THIS STOPS SHEDDING!

Before you read another word know this:

I am NOT getting paid to advertise this product and I do not make money from the sale if you click the link below.  I’m all about stopping the shedding madness.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

A little known fact about me is I used to be a dog groomer.  I HATED spring.  Every owner who didn’t know how to handle pet hair brought their dogs to us and said “Fix it”.  Well, we did.

Covered in Hair

This is what my husband looked like last night after a serious play session with our little dog, Pip.  If you think that’s bad, you should see the back of my car right now.  Our dogs LOVE going for rides in the car.  Unfortunately, it leaves THAT mess of hair behind and doggie nose art on the windows.

The Best Way to Stop Shedding!

Luckily, I still have the MOST AMAZING shed stopping tool in my grooming arsenal.  It’s made by Kong and it’s called a Zoom Groom.  I bought his beast of a tool when I had a Great Dane/Lab mix.  I’m sure you can imagine what 120 lbs. of shedding dog looked like at the time.  This brush left PILES of hair in the yard and kept me from having dog hair tumbleweeds blowing through the house.

Kong front

This is my very dirty and well used Zoom Groom.  I paid about $8.00 for it 15 years ago.  Yes, I said FIFTEEN years ago.  It also might have been left on the back porch once when it rained and developed a bit of a mildew problem, so no, they don’t look all icky when they’re new.

Kong back

This is the actual brush.  You can buy them in a harder or softer material.  I prefer the really stiff brushes because they get into the coat really well.  However, if you have a smaller, less sturdy dog you might want the softer bristle brush.  Also, DO NOT use the brush for dogs on a cat unless you rub VERY gently…or you might accidentally brush a bald spot on your cat that takes over a year to grow back.  Not that I’ve ever done that.  *cough*

This brush really works on short-haired dogs without an undercoat such as Labs, Great Danes, Rat Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers etc..  If you have a Husky, Chow, Malamute etc. type breed or any breed with really thick hair you will need an Undercoat Rake for their hair.  Please be gentle with Undercoat Rakes as they are SHARP and you can cause an irritation on their skin if you’re too rough.  I also prefer this type of brush for dogs with thick layers of hair, again be gentle on sensitive body parts.

Back Hair

The key to getting a Zoom Groom to work well is a vigorous brushing in the direction of the hair growth.  Make sure you get under the collar area, the front of their necks and down the front of their chests.  You will also pull a ton of hair from their thighs and don’t forget the tail!  The AWESOME part about brushing them like this is THEY LOVE IT.  It’s like getting a massage!  The worst part is if the wind is blowing you’ll end up covered in hair.  Do not do this inside.  EVER.  Trust me.

Full Brush

When the brush gets full simply flick your wrist and the hair falls right out.  In about 5 minutes of solid brushing on Pip (23 lbs Rat Terrier mix) tonight we had about a softball sized amount of hair.  We usually try to let it float off for birds and squirrels to use for nesting.  In order to keep the shedding to a minimum you need to brush the dogs at least twice a week for 5-10 minutes.  It’s an easy chore kids can do as well and keeps your house almost completely hair free!

I hope this helps and if you have any other grooming related questions, please feel free to ask!

Pssssst! Hey you there! I have a goal to reach 100 Facebook and Blog followers by the end of April! Would you help me out with that? Just look to your right and click the links to follow me by email or on Facebook! I would love to see you there and to meet this goal! Thank you for helping out!