How To Explain Pet’s Death To A Child

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At all ages, honesty is the best policy, says Marty Tously, a bereavement counselor.

“That means using the words death and dying, and explaining the permanence of death. You do it gently but without confusing what dying actually means.”

Tously is a counselor with the Pet Grief Support Service. She says that a child’s ability to understand what death means depends on his/her emotional and cognitive development, but outlined the generally understood guideline of how children perceive death and dying:

Under 2: A child can feel and respond to a pet’s death, based on the reaction of those around him or her. A child picks up the stress felt by family members, no matter what the cause.

2 to 5: The child will miss the animal as a playmate, but not necessarily as a love object. They will see death as a temporary state – something like the way leaves fall off a tree in fall but grow back in the spring. As they perceive the trauma around them, however, they may regress in their behavior (e.g., thumb sucking).

5 to 9: Children begin to perceive death as permanent, but they may indulge in “magical thinking,” believing that death can be defied or bargained with. This is also the period when children recognize a correlation between what they think and what happens. For instance, a child may resent taking care of the pet and wish – however briefly – that the pet would die. If the pet then dies, the child is often consumed with guilt. Parents need to reassure children that they did not cause the pet’s death.

10 and up: Children generally understand that all living things will eventually die, and that death is total. Understanding and accepting are two different things, however. They may go through the normal stages of grief that grownups do: denial, bargaining, anger, guilt, depression and acceptance. (To learn about the stages of grief, see the story Coping with Pet Loss.)

Or they may react in other ways:

For More Please Visit:  http://www.petplace.com/article/dogs/behavior-training/loss-mourning-a-dog/explaining-pet-loss-to-children-six-dos-and-donts

IN LOVING MEMORY OF BLAKE PALLANTE – REST IN PEACE 2000-2016

 

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TODAY: Support This Healthy Kickstarter Campaign!!!

kickstarterMedCrunch believes HereAfter Frames is a hot, healthy NEW product for people during a difficult time.

Losing a pet can be one of the most difficult experiences in life.  When something can ease that pain, and help a person transition through the natural  5 stages of grief to one of acceptance, it’s a healthy thing.

The response by people who have a HereAfter Frame created is heartfelt.  The process from finding a special photo to immortalize to seeing the final creation to finding a special place for it in a home is uplifting.

Tears are replaced by a smile.

That’s why we love HereAfter Frames, which displays a custom painting or photo, along with keepsakes and an urn.

It helps people fondly capture the essence of their loved one.  And yes, it can be created for people too. The frame can be made to match the interior of your home. The creator can also add audio to them, such as any recording you have of your pet or a special song.

To this day, my parents play a cassette recording (the old kind) of my Grandfather Giuseppe.  When I get in their car, I love hearing his voice singing in Italian. His laughter, which is contagious is on it too. It makes me smile to recall his wonderful, lively spirit.

So when the creator told me about this, it resonated as something people would love.

It’s a healthy way to maintain a positive connection with a loved pet or person after they’re gone, which is why I encourage you to support this artist with 3 easy steps:

LINK: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2033271920/1081740743?token=17db0ca6

(1) CLICK link to watch brief video
(2) GIVE as much as you can to help
(3) SHARE link with friends and family

In return for your support, you will receive a special gift created just for you by the artist.

Thank you,
Maria Dorfner
In Loving Memory

“Healthy children will not fear life if their elders have integrity enough not to fear death.” -Erik Erikson

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!

10 Ways to Avoid Springtime Pet Allergies

We all love our pets.  But Spring cleaning may stir up more irritants than usual.  

Here’s how to avoid pet allergies.

1.  KEEP PETS OUT OF YOUR BED.   As cozy at it might be to snuggle up with Moses, your best bet is to keep your pup out of the bedroom, day & night.

2.  USE THROW RUGS INSTEAD OF CARPETS, which trap pet dander. If you can’t remove the dander-trapping carpets, steam clean frequently.

3.  WEAR A DUST MASK WHEN YOU VACUUM. Use one with a HEPA filter.  You can find the masks at hardware stores.



4.  HAVE SOMEONE ELSE CHANGE LITTER BOXES, CLEAN CAGES & BRUSH PETS.  Have them all done outside your home.  I don’t know who.  But, I wish I had known that stay allergen-free rule when I was doing that all myself.  

"I don't always poop. But when I do, I make sure it's right after you clean the litter box."


5.  BATHE YOUR PET WEEKLY which will reduce levels of allergens. I guess the same person who brushed your pet can rub-a-dub bathe them too.

6.  WASH BEDDING AT TEMPS HIGHER THAN 130 degrees F  TO KILL ALLERGENS.  Again, that same person can’t forget laundry!  🙂

I asked Pet Expert, Wendy Diamond for her specialized tips.  She added the following. She reinforces the bathing & No Pet Zone in bedrooms:

7.  Mutt Makeover Time! Tame allergens by bathing pets, removing the allergens that accumulate in fur.  Be careful not to bathe too often as frequent bathing can dry out your pet’s coat and ask your vet or groomer for the safest product(s) for your specific pet.

8.  Who Knew? Dogs often get “atopy”, where they inhale allergens that cause excessively itchy skin, known as pruritis.  Medications and immunotherapy (de-sensitizing shots) can let you and your pet live with less scratching, dander, and obviously allergy reactions!

9.  Don’t Smell The … Although your garden may be gorgeous to look at and fun for your dog or cat to sniff, certain flowers and plants such as oleander, azales, and lilies of the valley, if ingested by pets can be toxic.  Research before planting.

10.  No Pet Zone. If you do have pet allergies, keep pets out of at least one room, preferably the bedroom (easier said than done, training and treats will help here).  Use hypoallergenic fabrics (materials), allergen removing central air  in your “no pet zone”.

For the Best that Pet Lifestyle and animal welfare has to offer follow Wendy and Lucky Diamond on FacebookTwitterand at AnimalFair.com!

Related articles

http://www.animalfair.com/home/seasonal-allergy-relief-pets-humans/

I’m loving MedCrunch. Very helpful and informative. And even eerily insightful, as if you are writing it just for me sometimes.

Springtime Allergies OR Cold?

If your eyes are suddenly itchy and you’re rubbing them a lot, you may have Springtime allergies.

Check pollen count in your area at http://www.aaaai.org/global/nab-pollen-counts.aspx

Below is a Symptom Checklist so you can tell if you or your kids have either one.

SYMPTOM CHECKLIST:

ALLERGY SYMPTOMS:   

Itchy Eyes

Itchy Nose

Itchy Throat

Headache Behind Eyes

Clear Mucus if Nose is Runny

Onset Immediate

Sometimes Fatigue

No Fever

Cough

Doesn’t Go Away

vs.

COLD SYMPTOMS:

Sneezing

Sore Throat

Headache

Sometimes Fever

No Itchy Eyes

Lack of Appetite

Fatigue

Achy Body

Comes on Slowly

Cough

Yellow or Green Mucus if Nose is Runny

Last 5-10 Days (more than that could be a sinus infection, see doctor)

THINGS TO HELP:

ALLERGIES:

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology says avoiding allergy triggers is the best way to reduce symptoms. Here’s how:

  1. Limit outdoor activities during days with high pollen counts.
  2. Keep windows closed (at home or in the car) to keep pollens out.
  3. Take a shower after coming indoors. Otherwise, pollen in your hair may bother you all night.

Also, wear sunglasses to keep pollen from getting in your eyes, keep pets away from plants and trees (good luck with THAT).

 

…and there’s always over-the-counter help.

COLDS: Drink lots of fluids, get lots of rest, lozengers if your throat is sore, chicken soup, TLC and wait it out, over-the-counter help if it’s bad.  See a physician if it lasts more than 10-days.   A sinus infection will require antibiotics.

Remember…you can manage the symptoms…and enjoy a Happy Spring! 🙂