What it feels like to lose a pet

This is a letter we received from a memorial owner at ILovedMyPet.com. We thought it might be helpful to some people if we were to share it.

Polly’s Song

By Apara Mahal Sylvester

January 2000

I had moved to Germany from China and I had Zhangy, my cat from China.  I wanted a companion for him so I went to the animal shelter to find one.  It was there that I first saw her. She had one eye and when I questioned the shelter worker about her missing eye she told me that something had been wrong with it so it had been removed.  I couldn’t bear the thought of her being overlooked because of her one eye so I decided that she was the cat I was going to take.  She was about 6 months old.

Her name was Polly.

Photo by Manja Vitolic on Unsplash

I brought Polly home in a carrier, and placed her on the floor in the kitchen.  Zhangy came to sniff her, and she hissed at him.  He seemed interested in her for a few minutes, then he retreated to the bedroom. 

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How to Care for Your Pet After Surgery

Pets aren’t just there to keep you company after work, they are truly a part of the family. Just like any other family member, when your pets get sick or sick or hurt, you take them to the vet to be checked out. It’s inevitable that at some point your pet will likely need to go in for some kind of surgery, whether it’s a routine spay/neuter or something more complicated. No matter the procedure, you will want to do everything you can to help your pet feel comfortable and cared for after the procedure because quality care leads to quality healing.

If your pet is about to undergo surgery of any type, here are a few tips to help you care for them as best as you can.

Credit: Unsplash

1. Help Them Use The Bathroom More Often

If your pet was hooked up to an IV and received fluid, they’ll likely need to go to the bathroom more often the day of and the day after surgery. If you have a dog, make sure you take it outside more frequently than normal to ensure its bladder isn’t too full. Likewise, if you have a cat, you may want to clean the litter box a little more often to create a welcoming environment (and avoid accidents in the house).

2. Pet-Proof Your House and Make it Comfortable

If you haven’t already done so leading up to surgery, be sure to pet-proof your house before your pet’s return. You’ll want to be extra cautious to any potential hazards around the home because your pet will be groggy and may hurt itself more easily after a surgery. Additionally, you can create a separate “healing space” (think: recovery room) for your pet when they get home. Make it cozy and keep all essentials closeby for them so they don’t have to travel across the house.

3. Encourage Lots of Rest and Sleep

Just like humans, pets require lots of rest and sleep in order to fully heal and recover from surgery or injuries. For older pets, this isn’t a hard task, but if you have a new puppy it may want to play or jump around which isn’t great for healing. You can promote rest and sleep by creating a cozy bed for them in a room where they won’t be disturbed. Keep the lights dim and consider putting a sound machine nearby to drown out the noise of kids running around or the doorbell ringing. The less stimulation there is, the more your pet will be able to rest.

4. Go Easy On The Food and Focus on Water Intake

After being put under anesthesia, your pet may feel a little nauseous and resist eating. This is okay, and to be expected. Don’t try to push food on your pet if they don’t seem interested in it in the first few days following surgery. Instead, focus on water intake to ensure hydration. Pets can quickly become dehydrated if they aren’t taking in enough fluids which can lead to vomiting and other potential complications.

It may be tempting to just give your pet treats so they have something in their tummy, but the reward is not worth the risk. If you’re truly concerned about your pet’s eating habits after a few days, consult your vet.

5. Follow Your Vet’s Directions With Medications

Chances are good that your vet will prescribe some sort of medication for your pet after the surgery. Whether it’s an antibiotic or pain medication, be sure to read the directions carefully so you are well versed in how much and how often you should be giving the medication to your animal. If it’s a pain medication you don’t want to over-do it; be on the lookout for if your pet is in pain while the drug is active in its system. If your pet was given an antibiotic, it’s important to administer the right amount of medicine for the full duration your vet instructed you, regardless of how well your pet may seem to be doing.

6. Keep an Eye Out for Infections

There’s a good reason your pet got sent home with a cone around its neck—it’s so your animal is not tempted to try to “clean” its wound/incision by licking it. Any time a pet has a wound, particularly one that requires stitches, it’s essential to ensure it remains clean and taken care of to avoid infection. Monitor any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, pus/discharge, or hardness. Additionally, if your pet seems to be generally unwell, that could indicate an infection, so it’s important to call your vet as soon as possible if you suspect there’s a chance of infection.

The bottom line is that your pet will need a little TLC in the days after surgery. As long as you’re attentive to your pet and help it get lots of rest, there’s no reason to expect anything but a full recovery. Your furry friend will be itself again in no time!

Summer Safety Tips for Your Pet

Summer is a great time to explore and enjoy the outdoors with your dog or other pet, especially after a long winter. You can take them out for longer walks, hiking, and picnicking, but remember that pets have limits when it comes to heat exposure that are different than our limits.

Dogs have less of an ability to cool themselves off than humans do because they sweat less. Mostly all they can do is pant and continue to drink water. That’s why it is our responsibility as pet owners to protect our pet’s health and set healthy boundaries for outdoor time, especially in the hot summer months.

Understanding pets are different from you will help you protect them when you venture outdoors with them in the summer. See the following tips to keep your pet happy and safe all summer long.

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A Friend and Companion: Coping with the Loss of a Pet

When it comes to personal loss, there’s no such thing as “insignificant” grief – the pain of losing a pet can be just as intense as losing a friend or family member. After all, our pets become part of the family, and that’s what makes them so endearing. When a pet dies, you don’t just lose an animal. You lose a friend and the comforting presence of a loving companion.  Here are a few tips that can make it just a little easier to cope with the loss of a pet:

Allow yourself time to grieve

Some people may believe that a pet’s death doesn’t warrant the full range of emotions one normally feels after the death of someone close. But it’s important to remember that the pain you’re feeling is an expression of the love you have for your pet, and the oppressive realization that death has created a void in your life. Slow things down, and give yourself time to work through the grief. Take time off from work, if necessary, and reach out to someone who understands how much you cared for your pet.

Address your physical needs

Don’t be surprised if you experience a loss of appetite, have trouble sleeping, or feel unmotivated. Those are natural reactions to the grieving process. Make sure you get the nutrients you need to stay healthy, and don’t underestimate the importance of sleep. If you’re tossing and turning, try getting to bed at the same time each night, and stick with that routine so your body is re-accustomed to a healthy sleep pattern. If it helps, do some light reading or meditate before going to bed – it can help you achieve a sense of peace and inner stillness. Take part in activities you enjoy; give your mind and body a break from the pain you’re feeling.

Closure – honor your pet

Consider holding a family internment ceremony at home during which everyone verbalizes their feelings. If you have children, encourage them to tell your pet how much he meant to them. It can be a cathartic experience, a healthy way to engage in emotional sharing, and an outlet for someone who has trouble expressing deeply-felt emotions. If you or a family member is having a difficult time coping with the grief, look into an online bereavement program that can help you heal or other excellent online bereavement resources. Remember, the sorrow that you are feeling is perfectly valid and needs to be expressed. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Practice a calming activity

If there’s an activity or daily routine you find reassuring, don’t neglect it. Anything that brings peace and spiritual reassurance at a time of profound loss should be embraced. It could be anything, from reading a favorite passage from the Bible to watching a TV program or movie you find emotionally uplifting. Exercise also has therapeutic value when you’re hurting. It activates endorphins, chemicals in the brain that produce a natural euphoric feeling. Finding a source of inner strength can help contextualize your loss, which is an important part of the healing process. 

Getting a new pet

Think twice if your response to a pet’s death is to get a new one right away. That may not be advisable, because bringing a new pet home before you’ve worked through the grieving process can make the transition difficult. Consider waiting until you have the energy and motivation to become a pet parent once again.  Grief is one of the strongest of all emotions and it needs an outlet, so don’t dismiss the need to grieve when a much-loved pet dies. Pets often have a powerfully-emotional hold on us, so don’t feel odd or uncomfortable about grieving over your loss or about asking for help with your grief.

How to Prepare Yourself for Your Pet’s Death

How to Prepare Yourself for Your Pet’s Death

Your pet is an important part of your life but you have to acknowledge that he/she will not live forever. For this reason, you must do your best to ensure the best possible comfort, as well as spend as much time as you can together. As your dog will get older, you have to prepare yourself for the unavoidable. Here are a few measures that you can take, so that you are better prepared for when the moment arrives.

Forming memories will help you remember your beloved pet

Like humans, dogs age and become sick. As his/her owner, the most important thing is that you spend time together and form memories that you are going to cherish when he/she will no longer be around. You can take a walk every day, play catch or just spend some together in the back yard. Your dog thrives from your physical presence, so try to be there for him/her.

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