Losing a pet is one of the most difficult times we may go through. Healing after pet loss is difficult. It is a long and tough process. One thing which can help tremendously, is having a way to have a long and lasting remembrance of your pet. A great way to do this is to have a hand etched photo of your beloved pet in stone. This stone can be placed anywhere, indoors or out, to be a standing solid tribute and remembrance of your fur-baby.
At Tricord Venture LLC we sand carve pet memorials. Using a sandblasting cabinet, we take a variety of rock including river rock, flagstone and pavers which we can etch a picture of your beloved pet onto that stone from a photo that you send to us by email or text. We also can add any sentiment to that etched photo so you achieve that special memorial that you desire. Some people add special quotes they used to call their fur-baby or just expressions of their hearts to further personalize and deepen the message.
What better way to honor our pets that have meant so much to us and filled our lives with unconditional love. Life is about memories. Let us create a memory for you on stone so each time you look at it the stone brings a smile to your face as well as your
heart. The etched stone is sealed so it may be placed outside in the garden with no worry about fading or sun damage. However, a lot of people place the memorial stones inside so it is seen daily. Either way, the stones last forever and give you that continued connection to your beloved pet for forever as well.
Our mission is to help create lasting, loving tributes to honor the best love out there!
We etch love into every one!
Check out what our clients are saying:
“Tricord Venture made memorial rocks for 3 pets we have lost. Each rock is wonderfully crafted with an image of each face that brought us so much joy and love. These rocks a fitting remembrance of our furry kids that we have loved and continue to fondly remember each time we gaze on their beautiful rocks. Thank you for the attention to detail and the love you put into making these remembrances for us. We feel love every time we look at them.”
Let us make that special, tribute memory for you to honor and remember your beloved pet that will last a lifetime and give you that continued connection because we never forget them. They always hold a special place in our hearts. Please check out our gallery at tricordventure.com to see more of our work.
Article submitted by Gayle Siggs at Tricord Venture for the Angel Pets Expo 2020 blog. Contact Tricord Venture with questions.
Ever worry about your dog’s leash becoming undone? Has it ever happened to you? It happened to us. It’s a dangerous and scary situation. Here is our story and why we created the safest latch out there!
We never knew that traditional dog leashes could open on their own. We always thought our dogs were safe on a leash. Not always so… while out on a walk one day, in an instant, our dog became unhooked and he was loose. It was a scary and trying time.
We didn’t want this to ever happen again. We searched and tried so many different leashes, all without secure results. We began to learn more and more what a problem this was for many, many others.
We knew there had to be a better way. So, we looked into why this was happening and set out to improve it.
You see, the old design of latches allows for the D-ring (clasp) to open, if positioned at just the right angle. The bolt on the clasp is often only loosely and just touching the other end and not securely fastened. So, we set out to dramatically improve the security of latches and decrease accidentally unleashed pets. Our mission: to keep pets safe, decrease stress and save lives! It wouldn’t be an easy task to design and engineer a new innovative leash for improved pet safety, but it would be certainly well worth it, if the outcome could save pet’s lives. We knew we had to try.
After years of hard work and persistence, we did it! And now, there is a safer, more secure option for dogs with our trustworthy SafeLatch clip that makes a dramatically more secure latch. Here is how it works.
Nifti’s the only leash that has a patented SafeLatch. Uniquely, with SafeLatch, the bolt goes all the way up into a fitted hole and is secured within the hook. With the old designs, the bolt snap just touch the tip of the hook and can wiggle loose or even break and in just the right position can open or break. Not with Nifti SafeLatch! The bolt is in a holder, nice and snug. We didn’t stop there, though…we even improved on this by adding a magnet.
Nifti’s the only leash with a high-powered magnet built-in the hook that keeps the steel D-ring inside the latch for safety. The magnet will also lift and instantly connect to the steel D-ring on your dog’s collar or harness, it makes hooking up easier and safer. And, you’ll know your dog is securely hooked because you’ll hear a click when you connect the leash.
Not only is Nifti SafeLatch easy to use, it’s the safest leash out there! Check us out! We love our pets! We love our mission in helping keep them safe. Nifti SafeLatch may just save your pet’s life and you’ll feel more at ease knowing your dog is safer. Makes a great gift, too! We’d love to hear your story. Connect with us on facebook! https://www.facebook.com/NiftiSafeLatch/
Nifti SafeLatch Dog Leash is available in five colors at www.NiftiSafeLatch.com and Amazon.com in Medium/Large size.
Article submitted by Connie De Bien of Nifti SafeLatch for the Angel Pets Expo 2020 blog posts. AngelPetsExpo.com
There are many different options for feeding your dog ranging from kibble to home cooked meals. In most prepared foods, the first 5 or 6 ingredients are the most important.
Proteins should be recognizable such as beef, poultry, lamb, fish, etc.
TIP: Avoid anything that mentions by-products and doesn’t identify the name of the animal the protein comes from, for example, just listing “meat” instead of “beef.” Healthy dogs require a good amount of protein in their diet so animal/fish proteins should be listed first, meaning they comprise the most weight in the food.
Carbohydrates also need to be high quality – grains, vegetables, and fruits. Avoid foods that contain any form of corn or soybeans in the first five ingredients.
Here is a brief description of the different types of food you can feed your dog.
If kibble is going to be the main source of your dog’s diet, pay attention to the brand and where it’s being sold.
Bargain basement brands are usually found in grocery stores or places like Walmart. They generally tend to have low quality fillers and inferior quality ingredients. The protein source will likely be questionable – there’s speculation that some manufacturers use slaughterhouse wastes, diseased animals, or spoiled meats from supermarkets as their protein source. You will also likely see some type of corn, wheat or soybean among the first set of ingredients and many of the other ingredients will be synthetic vitamins and minerals with names you can’t pronounce.
Big box pet stores will have a variety of brands to choose from. Some of low quality which are cheaper and some of adequate quality. It’s important to read the label closely on each bag when comparing brands.
Brands available at high end pet stores/boutiques generally cater to the well informed consumer. The brands offered here are generally of high quality and pricier but because they are of high quality you end up feeding less than cheaper brands to get the same recommended daily nutrients, so your overall cost is about the same as a lower quality brand. High quality brands will name the protein sources. There may be more than one protein source. The remaining ingredients listed are recognizable fruits, vegetables and perhaps grains, and are of high quality. There will be very few fillers, if any, used in these brands sold at these stores.
As with kibble, there are different qualities of cooked foods for dogs. The ingredient list is essentially the same. Lower end cooked foods will have by-products, fillers, and the protein source may not be specified – just called meat or fish. The quality of the meat may be questionable. Higher end products will provide the ingredient name and it will be of higher quality.
Raw Products and freeze dried foods
Since dogs are essentially carnivores and their ancestors are wolves, it makes sense that they should eat the same way. To some this sounds gross, but wolves consumed the whole animal; meat, bones, and organs. Rather than just calling this a raw diet, it can also be called an ancestral diet. In this type of diet, the protein source is the primary ingredient, followed by fats then carbohydrates. Most kibble on the other hand has a higher amount of carbohydrates, because it’s cheaper than protein.
TIP: The benefits of feeding a raw diet include better digestion, healthier skin and coat, less allergies, and better weight management.
NOTE: There is always a downside to everything and this is no exception. The possibility of bacterial contamination by handling raw food is the biggest concern for most people, but that risk is low as long as you follow good cleaning and safety practices. For dogs the risk is very low because their digestive track is shorter and their stomachs are more acidic. If you want to feed a raw diet but are concerned about bacteria, look instead at a high quality cooked food.
Freeze dried food is made from fresh food with the moisture removed and packaged in air tight containers until ready to use. The food can be served as is or re-hydrated prior to feeding. As long as quality fresh ingredients are used, this is as good as frozen raw. For people without extra freezer space, this is an excellent option.
Home Cooked Meals
When cooking for your dog, you have control over their diet especially if they have food intolerance’s or are picky eaters. You also avoid the possibility of food recalls since you are in control.
NOTE: The challenge is to ensure that you feed a complete and balanced diet and the food contains the necessary vitamins, minerals and enzymes required to maintain health.
TIP: Complete and balanced doesn’t mean feeding the same meal every day but rotating and including a variety of foods at different meals. Meat and other animal products should make up at least half the diet. This could include any type of meat, chicken, and/or fish, and should include organs (no more than 5%). You can also add a variety of fruits and vegetables, starchy vegetables and grains, leafy greens, dairy such as yogurt and kefir, and eggs.
With a home cooked diet, it’s also wise to give your dog a high quality supplement because the diet may not contain everything your dog needs. Find for one that is made of natural ingredients, instead of synthetic vitamins, minerals, etc.
The bottom line is to look at your budget and lifestyle, then do your research on the best options for you and your beloved furry friend. We all want our pets to live a high quality life for as long as possible, and feeding a healthy nutritious diet is a great start!
Submitted for Angel Pets Expo 2020 Blog by Sherri Cappabianca
One of the most common reasons clients contact an animal communicator is when their pet is aging or struggling with a health issue.
Communication with your animal when they are recovering from surgery, are ill can help with the difficult and often agonizing decisions that may need to be made. It can bring peace and comfort to both you and your animal friend. Animals are often very clear about what their wishes and needs are. They can let you know if certain treatments or medications seem to be helping and how they feel about their condition. They can let you know what you may do to help and support them.
I once worked with a dog who was recovering from surgery. The owner was concerned because she couldn’t get him to rest so he could heal properly. Their vet had given them pain meds and anti-anxiety medication to help him be relaxed and rest, but he still seemed very agitated and uncomfortable. He was having trouble sleeping as well. When I connected with him he let me know that something he was given made him feel extremely anxious and restless.
When I connect with an animal, I receive the information through pictures and sensations. I often feel what they feel. I felt his restless energy. It reminded me of it how it feels when I have too much caffeine! My body felt very restless, anxious and uncomfortable. My client then contacted her vet and discovered that, although uncommon, the anti-anxiety med can sometimes have the opposite effect. Once they discontinued that medication, he was much more calm and restful and able to heal.
Rose Proud is a professional and Certified Animal Communicator. She has had a deep connection with animals since she was a child. For the past 19 years, she has been working with animals and their people to help facilitate a deeper bond. Rose helps to open the line of communication between you and your animal companion with love, mutual respect and understanding. She can communicate with any animals and animals in spirit.
Rose Proud will be a vendor at the Angel Pets Expo 2020 May 2nd at the AG Center.
Offering in person mini-sessions (20 min) for $25 from 1-4 during the Angel Pets Vendor Expo
Contact or email Rose to pre-schedule a 20 minute consult day of expo. Sign up sheet will also be available day of Angel Pets Expo.
Angel Pets Conference 2019 – Asheville, Saturday, June 8th at the Renaissance Hotel, 8-5p.m
This pioneering, unique, and much-needed conference covered many topics on senior pet care needs, end-of-life care, caregiver support and grief healing.
The conference highlights important medical topics for senior animal needs and resources, assessing animal quality-of-life, explaining animal hospice and palliative care, and covering the medical, practical, emotional considerations for pets at the end-of-life transition. Special focus on grief healing from pet loss for ourselves and family, which is often complex and under-addressed in our society. Some presentations offer professional RACE CE credit.
“We all want to loving care for our pets during this time, but don’t always know how.” Understanding more about these areas will help us become better equipped to handle this critical time for our pets and ourselves. Being aware of the resources available can be tremendously helpful and healing.
“I took lots of notes. I can’t wait to share what I have learned!”
“Amazing. Amazing. Excellent!”
“It was WONDERFUL!”
“I was not expecting to be blown away. I am. It all ROCKED.”
The goal is to help us become more knowledgeable and comfortable in caring for our pets (and ourselves) during this difficult, but inevitable time in our pets’ lives.
Speakers include expert local area veterinarians:
Coleen Ellis, CT, CPLP , internationally recognized pet loss specialist (TwoHeartsPetLossCenter)
Dr. Kasandra Garner, DVM (Animal Hospital of North Asheville)
Hi. I wanted to share the opening of the Angel Pets Conference. It gives some background of the depth and perspective of these events. It applies to all who love pets.
Hi and welcome. Isn’t this lovely? Isn’t this wonderful? I am so proud of this conference and everyone being here and coming together to discuss something so difficult as death, end-of-life and grief.
I know we are doing so to help make this more comfortable for our pets, understand resources…and to take better take care of ourselves during this time. What a beautiful thing.
I am L. Leigh Love, the organizer of the Angel Pets Conference and Angel Pets Expo. I will be your hostess throughout. I have a studio in Hendersonville called Bright Star Studio & the Funky Buddha. I call it ‘A place of Art and Spirit’.
My theme is: ‘Live the live you love. Love the life you live’.
The first Monday of every month I hold a Healing and Receiving love meditation and other themed guided meditations throughout.
The Second Sunday of every month, I hold a Pet Honoring Memorial Service where people from all over send in names of pets to be remembered and honored. It’s free to attend in person or remotely (by calling in and listening).
I also offer private or group Pet Memorial Services for individual pets or groups like Humane Societies, Animal Rescues or Vet offices. it is very healing. I do this because I love it so much and truly believe this has important value. And I want to offer this venue in the world.
Likewise, I’m holding these Angel Pets events because I want to give space for attending to our better caring for our fur-kids and ourselves during their life and after.
I was chatting with someone who attended the first Angel Pets Conference. She had called me to let me know how excited she was that there was another one and she was telling all of her friends about it. She then whispered to me…”Well, you know everyone rolls their eyes at the name “Angel Pets”, don’t you? I said…..well…..’yeah’…even though I did not know that, nor had it ever occurred to me. But, I laughed and thought ‘Ok’.
Which led me to think maybe I needed to explain why the name, Angel Pets. This is simply because I do believe they are angels. Our pets are angels. They are loving and kind and caring and give us so much. The help us learn lessons, share life and watch over our souls. And sometimes, their love is the only love we feel. There is no better description than ‘Angel.’
Then I thought, it’s ok if they roll their eyes. They just don’t get it…and that’s ok. They don’t have to. And I’m even more ok with it because I know something they don’t. I know what a wonderful, deep, loving, enriching relationship it is.
And it wouldn’t be the first time someone didn’t get my love for my pets. Which leads me to the next story…A friend’s college son agreed to help with some pet care when I needed to be out of town for work and couldn’t find anyone else.
He came over and I went through the routine, showed him the house, the layout, the food I made for Mattie in the fridge, where the treats were, that she had the run of the house, etc, etc.
I didn’t think anything of it until afterwards, my friend said ‘Clint mentioned to me that ‘Leigh really loves her dog.” My friend said ‘Yes”.
Then he emphatically said…. “I MEAN she REALLY LOVES her dog.” This was followed by “I’ve never seen anything like it!”
I laughed and said “Yes”.
And it reminded me of one of the best quotes I’ve ever read in a book, ‘Pack of Two’ by Caroline Knapp. She was writing about her dog and somewhere in there stated
“I unapologetically love my dog.”
This sentence caused me to pause. And that word ‘unapologetically’ stuck with me. It gave me a certain freedom. And I adopted it. I adopted that inner, wonderful feeling even deeper than I had before.
I get there are those out there who think I’m crazy or roll their eyes at me at my love for my pets…and I simply don’t care.
Mattie comes everywhere with me, even on the tennis courts. She hangs out, even switching sides with me when I change for serve. I have had strangers yell across the courts to me “How does it feel to be so loved?” And even once, I overheard a junior player say to her friend “I want a dog like that when I grow up.” And what she means is that loving, special relationship and bond with an animal that is like no other.
I Tell Mattie all the time that we are making a difference, just by being in the world.
This conference is making a difference and you are making a difference by being here and giving importance to the care of our animal companions, our pets, our furkids, our family. Every loving pet parent out there is making a difference.
Every single loving pet parent out there is making a difference.
Before we get started, there is one last story I’d like to share. It’s a repeat a story I told at the first Angel Pets Conference and thought it was worth sharing again. A friend went to a very large yoga class and something the instructor said affected my deeply.
First, I’d like to point out that I did not attend this class. I say that just as a reminder that we have effects and impacts on others we may never meet or encounter.
My friend attended this very large yoga class of a famous instructor. Probably hundreds of people there, and she was there in her own space doing her yoga, and the instructor paused to point out that
‘You are all here individually practicing yoga, BUT keep in mind, WE are ALL here together practicing yoga.”
And it was a very profound perspective.
It touched her as she shared the story. And It touched me hearing it. It expanded my feeling of involvement and participation, and honestly comfort in the world.
Little things, even like walking my dog, Mattie, in the past I would have thought of as ‘I am walking my dog. I am walking Mattie.” And that shifted. Now it became “WE are walking. We are walking together.” WE are going to the store, etc. And I started doing this with everything. And as small as that sounds, it made a huge impact on how I feel I relate in this the world. In not only providing a larger perspective…. but greater comfort. There is the individual experience, but there is also always the ‘We’.
So, I invite you individually to be here, and I hope you get out of this Conference and Expo what you came here for as an individual.
But, I also invite you to have the expanded perspective and comfort that ‘WE’ are all here and have come together to help our pets, help ourselves and help each other.
This goes for all who are here in person, as well as all who share in our pet-loving activities. ‘We’ love our pets.
So, I thank you. And I thank you for having the courage and the depth to be here and explore this deeper part of life.
I’d like to also take a moment to thank our Sponsors. I also invite you to thank them to show them how much their support of these events means to you.
PetGazette has been amazing in their coverage and promotion of these events. I have been speaking with Carol Marks regularly she has offered council and support and I’m very grateful. Animal Hospital North Asheville is another Gold Sponsor. Dr. Garner from AHNA –is a Conference presenter. AHNA has a large table at the EXPO. In addition, they have been tremendously supportive in promoting these events and truly getting and supporting the overall goal of Angel Pets Conference and Angel Pets Expo. They exemplify excellence in animal care. Natural Awakenings Charlotte and Upstate SC also helped promote the events as Bronze Media Sponsors! Please take time to reach out and thank them!
Hundreds of people from all over the region attended to see and network with over 40 Vendors.
Forty pet vendors related to supportive pet care products and services, nutritional pet supplements, canine rehab specialists, pet trainers, senior pet needs, end-of-life care, caregiver support, artists, memorabilia, pet supplies, artists, veterinarians, healers, acupuncturists, animal chiropractors, pet photographers, energy healers, Pet CBD oil, animal communicators and more!
Angel Pets Vendors, Supporters and all pet lovers welcome!
This is a pet-lovers social and follow up from the magical Angel Pets Expo and Angel Pets Conference. Expo vendors, Expo attendees, conference attendees, Angel Pets Supporters and all pet lovers welcome to join for socializing, talking and networking about all things pets! The goal of the Angel Pets Expo was to bring people together with resources and services which help the care and honoring of our pets, and ourselves as pet parents. The pioneering, Angel Pets conference covered many topics on senior pet care needs, end-of-life care, caregiver support and grief healing. This meetup is to continue the pet-loving community building and support, to learn, chat and to have fun! Visit AngelPetsExpo.com for more info on these events. Please contact me with any questions
Angel Pet Expo Blog 2019 – Submitted by Animal Hospital North Asheville
We need your help to beat cancer! Early detection, diagnosis and treatment are critical to obtaining a positive result. Over 60% of cancers are curable. We want to get that percentage even higher. Every lump and bump is suspect until proven that it is not cancer. The time to diagnose cancer is before it has taken over and spread or before it has progressed from curable to non-curable. We must all be proactive to defeat cancer.
THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO:
Check your pet for lumps and bumps at least monthly. Look with your eyes and your fingers. Please bring even small bumps to our attention. We would like to examine nodules when they are the size of a pea or smaller. Areas that deserve special attention are lymph nodes that are under and behind the lower jaw, in front of the shoulders, the “armpits” of the front legs, the groin and under the tail. It is a good idea to look for swellings or unusual paleness of the gums. Try to feel every square inch of skin. Cats with white ears are especially prone to cancer on the ear tips and nose.
Gently flip the lips and check in your pet’s mouth. There are several common oral cancers that can occur. Signs include bad breath odor, lumps or swelling on the gums, pain in the mouth, increased salivation, or blood in the mouth or saliva.
Make sure that your pet has annual physical examination every year for pets up to age 7. After age seven, consider a physical examination every 6 months. We look for many disease indicators during those physicals, but we also palpate the abdominal organs for changes and specifically palpate lymph nodes.
Have pets examined if they display symptoms of lethargy, vomiting, increasing thirst, weight loss, decreased appetite, any abnormal discharges, or any abnormalities in urination or defecation.
Elect to run “wellness” blood tests during routine physical examinations. Talk to your veterinarian about performing an ultrasound of your pet’s abdomen and an X-ray of your pet’s chest to detect cancer early. Pets can’t tell us that something seems wrong like people can, so doing screening test to look for early signs is important.
Don’t smoke! Recent studies show pets that live with smokers have higher levels of asthma, and have three times higher levels of lymphosarcoma and six times higher level of oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Brush your pet’s teeth regularly and make sure that your pet has a professional dental cleaning under anesthesia yearly. Oral cancer can occur because some cells become cancerous just from exposure to a chronic irritant such as tartar, which also causes gingivitis and periodontal disease.
BENIGN GROWTHS vs CANCER:
Our goal is to be as low stress and as non-invasive as possible in obtaining a diagnosis. Regardless of the location or the size of any swelling or lump, you need to know if it is malignant (cancer) or benign.
Even benign growths may need to be removed early because if they grow to a large size before you take action, the surgery may be much more difficult and in certain locations may cause serious problems (benign growths around the eye, for example). It is important to remove benign growths before they require extensive surgery or otherwise become bothersome to your pet.
Some growths are very easily diagnosed by fine needle aspiration. No sedation is usually needed because it is no more traumatic than a simple injection. We may evaluate the cells here or choose to submit them to a pathologist for a report within a few days, depending on the nature of the growth.
Some growths require surgery to obtain a satisfactory sample (biopsy) for a pathologist. We utilize high tech anesthesia and our post-operative pain control is thorough.
“Hidden” growths deep in the abdomen or the chest or within organs may be hard to find early, but they can often be identified with blood tests, palpation, ultrasound, or x-ray. In some cases, a biopsy can be obtained with light sedation to prevent any discomfort. Our ultrasound capabilities and training are extensive, and we offer abdominal biopsies by laparoscope and noninvasive gastrointestinal biopsies with endoscopy.
Once a diagnosis is made, we can tell you if the growth is benign or malignant, the scientific name of the tumor, what treatments are available and side effects (if any), the schedule of treatments, the success rates and costs of treatments. You can then decide what is best for your pet and your family. Our goal is for families to be able to make fully informed decisions concerning health care as well as end of life issues. We respect the individual decisions that families make.
There are a wide variety of cancers that are seen in dogs and cats. While some cancers are aggressive and cannot be treated, there are treatments available for a large number of the cancers we see commonly. Early detection and treatment can improve the success rate of treatment for many cancers. Available treatments include:
Surgical removal – There are many common cancerous skin tumors which can be cured or controlled with complete surgical removal. When a growth is removed, it is sent to a pathology lab to determine what kind of growth it is, how aggressive it is, and whether it was removed completely. If the fine needle aspiration shows the potential for a malignant skin growth, wide margins of normal tissue are removed along with the growth to make sure no cancer cells are left behind. If the growth cannot be removed completely, your veterinarian will discuss whether surgery would still be beneficial for comfort or as a companion to other treatments like chemotherapy or radiation.
Chemotherapy – Some cancers, most notably lymphosarcoma, can be treated with chemotherapy. In veterinary medicine, the goal of chemotherapy is to provide remission while maintaining good quality of life. Unlike human medicine, our chemotherapy dosages are tailored so that chemo doesn’t make pets sick, immune suppressed, or unable to enjoy their day-to-day life. The doctors and technician staff at Animal Hospital of North Asheville are trained to administer chemotherapy safely and without stress to your pet.
Oncology referral – Some cancers are complex or require treatments such as radiation that we are not able to do within our hospital. We work closely with several referral hospitals who have board-certified oncology (cancer) specialists on staff, and are happy to provide a referral for consultation, special imaging procedures like CT and MRI scans, and advanced therapies such as radiation. Our doctors frequently consult with veterinary oncologists to determine the best treatment options, costs, and prognosis.
Palliative and hospice care – For patients with incurable cancers, our goal is always to keep pets as comfortable as possible and allow them to be at home with their families. We work together with pet parents to find a pain control strategy that will give the best quality of life with the fewest side effects. When the time comes, we will help you make kind and compassionate decisions.
Angel Pets Blog article submitted by Patty Summers
Gandalf, the African Grey, keeps calling her name every morning. At first, hearing him calling her stung my heart and brought hot tears from my eyes.
He loved the mackerel tabby as much as we did. I’d often pick up our lovely Jaylah and hold her up near Gandalf’s cage and he’d lean over and whisper something unintelligible to her (at least to my ear), but the intent of affection was quite clear.
Our animals are never old enough when they leave behind their physical bodies, but our Jaylah was only three years old when a terrible disease shut her body down. The shock, the anger at myself for anything I could have done to catch it sooner or even prevent it ran rampant through my head. “She was only three!” I kept shouting angrily to the Universe. Finally, I heard in mind, “Her body was only three years old, but the soul is so much older.” It still hurts not having her here in physical, but somehow remembering that she is an old soul gave me some solace.
Like all of my animals she gave me so much, but perhaps the greatest of gifts right now is she left behind a deeper understanding of no need for forgiveness or what if’s. So many times, when I do a consult with someone with the intent on helping them to make peace with their animal’s passing back into spirit, I am asked if their animal will forgive them. Every single time I hear, “There is no need for forgiveness. There is absolutely nothing to forgive.” Every time I hear that it takes my breath away, yet somehow, I forgot it for a brief time when Jaylah was so sick and I was pulling out the stops to try to save her body.
The treatment plan was rather extensive, but she handled it with her graceful power that she walked throughout her short lifetime. Still I questioned if I should be putting her through it, yet logically my mind kept saying, “She is only three years old. She can beat this.”
The day before she passed I could feel she had chosen to heal in the form of letting her worn out body go, but I didn’t want to acknowledge it. I kept pushing that feeling away. That feeling was her communicating what her decision was. I wouldn’t listen. Me the animal communicator wouldn’t listen and I kept trying to treat her body for the disease.
When she took her last breath, I was crushed and angry. Mostly angry at myself.
Somewhere in my grief she found a way to wedge her message in. I awoke one morning saying out loud, I forgive myself for following my heart and trying a medical treatment that was pretty heroic even though that is normally not my way. I forgive myself for those last two days that I heard you, but wouldn’t accept what you were telling me. My actions then give me better understanding for others who have done the same. I now marvel in my appreciation of your understanding my pain and holding no judgement. You simply continued to do what you needed to do for your wholeness.
Lastly, I thank you for reminding me that l let you live a life rich and full, one where I allowed you to experience all the things you treasured.
I can slowly move forward meeting her where she is in her wholeness, brilliance, her glory as she shines on in my heart. In this place, I can still feel her hopping up on my lap to join me for my morning coffee. When I get out the treat jar, I can see her out of the corner of my eye, arriving before any of the other cats as she did in body.
I can almost feel her soft underbelly that she would always present to me in her wonderful greetings. I’ll always remember her beautiful rich eyes.
“Jayyyylahhhh, Jayyyylahhh.” he calls softly. Yes I can feel her too bird.
One of the most difficult parts of our journeys with us and our beloved animals, is when they make their physical transition back into spirit.
I wanted to create a means of support for other animal lovers to help them through this process. For me, the wind is a carrier of energies and messages and songs a beautiful sacred story that touches the soul.
Thus, Windsongs of the Soul Animal Flags, came to be.
Pet Memorial Flags – Beautiful handmade flags to honor your animal and the love between you that never dies. The flags hold special spiritual symbols with the main flag, personalized with your beloved animal’s name, birth date and passing, being flanked by a paw and feather charm and the back of this flag offering a pocket for ashes, fur or some other special symbol.
Come by my booth at the Angel Pets Expo 2019 in Asheville, NC June 8th, 2019 to see these beautiful handmade flags in person that honor your animal and the love between you that never dies.
Author of Talking With the Animals, Patty Summers, is an internationally known animal communicator and currently provides communication workshops as well as consultations for animals and their human companions to resolve conflicts or to aid in communication.
You can also visit www.PSanimal.com for more on the Windsong flags and other books, DVDs and CDs.
This article was submitted by Patty Summers for the Angel Pets Expo Blog. Visit AngelPetsExpo.com for more information.
submitted by Kathy Link, LCSW, LCAS
Social Worker Four Seasons, a Hospice Center and Pet Loss Resource
We don’t have to look very far to see the deep connections that we have with our pets here in Western North Carolina. There are dog-friendly restaurants, cat spas, and even pets wearing fancy clothes everywhere we look. There are door-to-door services offering home-based grooming care, mobile veterinary care, and organic, free-range, gourmet pet food. As a community hospice social worker and grief counselor, I’ve even pet and held a baby goat wrapped in a sweater at a nursing home that somebody brought in for a visit.
Consider these statistics:
Data from the American Veterinary Medical Association gathered in 2012 indicates that there are approximately 70 million pet dogs in the United States, and 74.1 million pet cats, and that six-out-of-ten pet owners consider their pets to be family members.
The American Pet Products Association estimates that as of 2017, 60.2 million American households homed dogs, 47.1 million households homed cats, 12.5 million households homed freshwater fish, 7.9 million households homed birds, 6.7 million households homed small animals such as gerbils, hamsters, and rabbits, 4.7 million households homed reptiles, 2.6 million households homed horses, and 2.5 million households homed saltwater fish.
One recent poll created by The Harris Poll estimates that three out of five American households have pets, and 95% of those households consider their pets to be a member of their family.
We love our pets, and our pets love us. Given the natural order of things, we have a good chance of outliving our pets, and lifetime pet stewards will experience multiple losses from losing pets. Unless we’re talking about parrots and turtles. (Parrots and turtles live a really long time). Generally speaking, however, our collective love for our pets gives us a tremendous opportunity to dip our toes into a concept that many of us would rather avoid. We all have an expiration date. We’re all going to die, and it is probable that we will be devastated by the grief of losing a loved one more than once as we go through life. For many of us, the list of loved ones includes our four-legged, winged, finned, or cold-blooded companions
According to the American Psychological Association, grief due to a loss of a loved one may be the most difficult challenge a person can face. There are all sorts of other losses in life to deal with as well, including houses, friendships, other relationships, lifestyles, jobs, general worldview, etc. When we’re simply talking about the loss of a loved one, as a culture, we don’t do bereavement, grief, and death and dying particularly well. We don’t even want to talk about it. What happens, when we lose our beloved pet? Do you call in to work because “my pet snake died”. Likely not, but for many people, the loss of a pet may trigger a myriad of intense emotions and reactions. So what to do about it?
Give yourself permission to grieve. The sadness and loss that you are feeling is real and normal. The fact that you are grieving a living being who is not a human being does not discount your feelings in any way. The pet who has given you his or her entire life is gone, and that is a huge adjustment. Give yourself permission to express your feelings in a safe way. Give your feelings permission to be whatever they are – whether it’s relief that you are feeling, because your pet is no longer suffering, or guilt you are feeling, because you had to make the difficult choice to euthanize your pet, or anger you are feeling, because the loss was unexpected and was caused by an event that you may not have been expecting. Whatever it is that you are feeling, it’s okay. Some common emotions and reactions associated with pet loss are shock, guilt, anger, disbelief, sadness, confusion, and sometimes even joy for the time you’ve shared together. Or all of the above at any given moment. Whatever you are feeling, it’s okay, and it’s yours. It’s normal. It’s not wrong. You are not over-reacting. You are not being silly.
Take the time you need. It’s possible that you may need some time alone to process your emotions, or you may need more time with other people to process your emotions. You may decide to get a pet right away as a way to heal yourself and your pain, or you may decide to wait two years to get another pet, or you may decide never to get another pet again. Whatever you decide, take the time you need. You can always adjust your timeline as you go along. In the early days of your grief, you may find that your emotions are overwhelming. Consider blocking a period of time each day to simply sit in your emotions – whether that block of time is three minutes, or 15 minutes, or half an hour. You will know what’s right for you. And you will know when to make adjustments.
Stay out of the blame game. Following the initial processing of your feelings, you may be very well tempted to beat yourself up – or beat up other people – for things that could have happened, or might have happened, or didn’t happened.
“If I would have euthanized him earlier, he wouldn’t have suffered like that…”
“I euthanized her too soon…”
“If the veterinarian had given me this needed piece of information, she would still be with us…”
“If I only had not left the door open…”
“We should have read the signs…”
The truth is, no amount of blaming is going to bring your beloved pet back. If you find yourself stepping into blame, consider what it may take for you to move to a place of acceptance and release.
Readjust. It may be helpful to readjust your daily schedule or your daily routine for a period of time. If you went for a run with your dog every morning, you may want to get a stationary bicycle or a gym membership and work out at the gym instead for a time. If you found yourself returning home at exactly 5 pm each evening because your cat demanded dinner at exactly that time, perhaps consider taking a slower, alternative route home, or grocery shopping after work instead. If you had the bird cage in a specific place in the living room for many years, consider rearranging the furniture a bit. If you need to avoid the route of your daily dog walk for a time, then by all means, do it.
Practice self-care. The Center for Grief Recovery and Therapeutic Services: Institute for Creativity & Development has a very helpful article on their webpage entitled “Comfort Quickies: Self Care While Grieving”. Ideas range from eating a favorite meal, to taking a warm bath, to playing mood music, to spending time in nature. Make your own list. What is nurturing to you? What is healthy to your mind, body, and spirit, and will make you feel better? If feeling better is not an option, what will help you process your emotions? What will serve you? What can you incorporate into your daily life that will unlock the floodgates of your grief, help you process your emotions, and eventually work through your grief? Your options are wide and open. Make a list.
Surround yourself with people who understand. Share your grief with friends and family who will understand. Allow your loved ones to help you carry the burden in a way that will be helpful to you. If there is a pet loss grief support group in your area, attend one of the sessions, and see if it’s helpful. If you and your best friend always connected by sharing pictures of your pet iguanas, ask your friend if you could do something else for a time. Perhaps a weekly movie is in order, or a trip to the local zoo. Or perhaps it is important for you to share your pictures with your friend in a way that will memorialize your pet and provide an avenue for you to express your grief and loss. Let people be there for you the way you would want to be there for them if they were going through this. If you have people in your life who don’t and won’t understand what you’re going through, just stick with the people who will understand as much as you can, for as long as you can.
Incorporate ritual. What types of rituals do you participate in when a human loved one dies? Would it make sense to you to modify it in some way to help you through your grief? Could you light a candle next to your pet’s photo every evening? Do you have the type of social network to be able to hold a funeral of sorts? Could you and your children create a ceremony that would be meaningful and age-appropriate? Would leaving the empty food dish out for a while, symbolizing your loss be helpful to you? Your options end only with your imagination, and with what you find to be meaningful.
The most important things to remember are that you are not alone, you are not crazy, and there is no right or wrong way to navigate the loss of a pet. If you find yourself moving into self-destructive behaviors, then it’s time to reach out and seek professional advice. But only you will know if you are doing that, and you will know if you need help. The grief that flows from the love that was shared with an animal is natural and healthy. Honor it. It matters.
Losing a pet friend and companion can be heartbreaking. Whether it is a sudden or planned goodbye, it is an emotional time. We understand the strength and specialness of the animal-human bond. On the first Tuesday of each month, Four Seasons Compassion for Life will be hosting a Pet Loss Grief Support Group from 5:30-6:30 pm. The monthly meeting will be held at a new location: 373 Biltmore Ave, near Mission Hospital. This group is for anyone who is grieving the loss of an animal companion and needs further support. This is a free monthly meeting. Everyone welcome but out of respect to other participants, please leave pets at home.
Toll Free: 866-466-9734