Healthy Grieving for Pets by Maria Dorfner

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I have always known that pets have souls.  Artist, Boris Jairala knows it too.  If you listen with your heart, you can actually hear what pets are trying to say to you.  Think about how you would communicate if you could not speak.  Your eyes or body language would need to reflect all your emotions: happiness, sadness, love, anger.

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I believe when you are close to a pet they can intuit how you feel and they respond in kind.

It’s reassuring to be comforted this way. And they love unconditionally.

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Numerous health studies validate the healthy therapeutic affects of living with pets.
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Pets do not care what you look like and treat you the same if you’re wearing sweat pants or a ball gown.  They do not criticize you.  They do not cheat, lie or steal (well, maybe a few socks that mysteriously vanish) or care about your weight, height or job title.  They ask no questions.  They merely accept you and love you for being alive.  Refreshing.
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It’s no wonder people with pets live longer. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), pet ownership not only decreases blood pressure, but your cholesterol levels, and
triglyceride levels.  The American Veterinary Medical Association, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and The Delta Society agree.
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According to WebMD, there are 27 more health benefits, including lifting depression, being a natural mood enhancer, helping those with ADHD release excess energy, lowering the risk of dying from cardiac disease, increasing survival rates after a heart attack or stroke while boosting your immune system, plus more.
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Some dogs can even alert diabetic owners of a drop in their blood glucose. There are also super sensitive dogs, like empaths.  They sense when you’re not feeling well.  Their calming presence helps create emotional balance in owners.  One look or touch can tell you they know how you feel, and will stand by you.
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It’s a rare kind of unconditional love in a world that creates laws for things that should come naturally –kindness, respect and not judging others based on skin color, race or anything else, so long it’s not harming another individual.  Kids learn responsibility from having to walk and feed the pet, and you are guaranteed your thirty minutes of walking each day, which helps keep them or you fit, and lower risks for all sorts of diseases.
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So, what happens when a pet dies and you lose all that?  How do you deal with the grief that comes from the death of such a loving pet?

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I recall reading Elsabeth Kubler-Ross’s book, “On Death and Dying.” It was published in 1969.  A friend gave it to me after my grandmother passed away.  Prior to that, no one I knew personally had ever died.  It was something that happened to other people.  The book helped me process my feelings at the time. It wasn’t only my own feelings.  I was also absorbing the grief from my parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, neighbors and everyone around me.  Overwhelming.  “On Death and Dying” outlines the 5 stages of grief.

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People go through the 5 different stages for a person or pet at their own pace.  It can also happen when someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness or from divorce or a breakup. The stages don’t happen the same way for each person. Each individual needs to take as much time as they need to process it.  When death is sudden and unexpected and you can’t get beyond anger is when it’s best to seek out professional help.
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NATURAL STAGES OF GRIEF AFTER LOSS:

1. Denial and Isolation

The first reaction that buffers the immediate shock.  You feel no pain.
2. Anger
Reality kicks in.  Emotions are in overdrive.  This is when you snap at things and then feel guilty or more angry for doing so.
3. Bargaining
You try to regain control by telling yourself, “If only I had…” because you feel vulnerable and helpless.
You feel overwhelming sadness, regret and worry.
5. Acceptance
 After you allow yourself to grieve naturally, you will heal.
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These 5 stages are the same for the loss of people or pets.
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Boris Jairala learned this when his father died, then his dog.
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No one wants to forget a pet or person they love. Painting helped Boris cope with loss. Gretchen Rubin, author of “Happier at Home” wrote, “Capturing a moment in time isn’t just about securing a memory –it can help you appreciate your life every day.”  She adds, “Photos are a way to record life’s little moments that are precious but easily forgotten.”
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The unique frames hold ashes in the front, and memorable keepsake items in the back.
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Painting a memorial of his father inspired him to do the same for his dog.
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When friends saw it, they loved it and asked Boris if he could create one for them.
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Each frame can be customized to match the interior design of a home.  Boris adds, “If you already have an audio recording of your pet that can also be added. For people you love, I can add a special recording of their voice or a special song.   A woman who lost a child that was premature asked me to create a special frame, and it was very touching.  I’m deeply moved by the joy it brings.”
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They say two things are certain in life, death and taxes.  This won’t help with taxes, but it’s a unique way to help with the first. Rubin says positive memories and photographs play an important role in a happy life.
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Boris is from Brooklyn, NY and works out of a studio there.  His dream is to open a workshop.  His Kickstarter campaign launches soon.

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He says, “My dream with HERE AFTER FRAMES and the upcoming Kickstarter campaign is to raise enough to make this available to everyone in the world.”
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He has a patent and is the only person in the world creating such an item.
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UPDATE:
 Boris met his Kickstarter campaign goal (thank you to anyone who contributed), but you can still view or order the keepsakes as a gift or for yourself and have them customized here:  http://www.HereAfterFrames.com
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MORE ARTICLES TO HELP YOU THROUGH THE GRIEVING PROCESS HERE:

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Maria Dorfner is the founder of Healthy Within Network. This is her blog.

Stay healthy!