Traveling Dog Lady: August 2015

Sunday, August 30, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life, Week 35: Sleepy

As I was typing the title of this post, I accidentally started to type "Napshots" instead of "Snapshots".  The theme this week is:  SLEEPY

So, without further ado, here is this week's NAP-shot!

Dog and cat on un-made bed

Of all 35 weeks for this challenge so far, I have only used "old" photos a few times.  This picture was actually taken earlier this week!  Right on target!

Yes, we have "paw-themed" human bedding.

52 Snapshots of Life is a weekly themed photo challenge, hosted by our friends at The Lazy Pit Bull.  There's still not quite half a year to join in on the fun.  Just use the hashtag #52Snapshots and #PBSG on your blog or social media platform.  You don't have to be a pet blogger OR a photographer to join in!

Friday, August 28, 2015

August 28 Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day

Today is four years since Hector died.  I of course posted a picture of him on Facebook today, and I still cannot get my mind around the huge hole in my life left by him.  I loved him so very much.

On my news feed, another blogger shared that today is The First Annual Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, hosted by our pals over at Zee and Zoey's Cat Chronicles.  I have always said, there are no coincidences.  What was to be a quick photo on Facebook of Hector, now becomes a blog post.  (Maybe this will get me past my writer's block since the other two huge losses I'm still reeling from, from earlier this year -- I have basically been unable to write since I lost my beloved Gil and Hobie.)

If I ever DO get past the writer's block, I will finish my book, which includes Hector's Story.  Until then, if you have the patience to read an unedited version in which the photos don't display (!!) then you may do so here.  Or, you can just go up to the menu on this blog and click on the "Hector" tab.

As most of you already know, my beloved Hector died on August 28, 2011 just one week before his 10th birthday, due to a brain aneurysm.  He had tripped on the stairs a few months earlier, and evidently hit his head, sustaining a head injury, and began having seizures which were frequent and frightening, throughout that whole summer.  We had a wonderful summer that year, and I am grateful to myself that I had the aforethought to spend so much time at the lake and the ocean with my two dogs, Hector and Hobie.  Hobie, being the elder of the two, I never imagined in my wildest dreams that he would out-live Hector.

Hector and Hobie, carrying on during a snowstorm "back in the day" (before we had a fence!)

If you've ever seen anyone having a seizure, it is extremely frightening and disconcerting.  With a dog, it can be dangerous during the post-ichtal phase (after a seizure) because they can bite and snap, knock you over, etc.  This is because they sometimes have a short time of disorientation afterwards, and Hector actually had temporary blindness after a seizure.  After he regained his sight, he would then try to crawl into small spaces:  under a desk, into a closet, into the fireplace!  He did not realize what a car was, or how to get into the car, the first time he seized.  He would also run around the house, or the back yard, for up to 30 minutes after a seizure, and would drink tons of water and urinate repeatedly.  But the worst part was the biting and running at you at full-speed, knocking you to the ground post-seizure.  All of these memories are very hard to extinguish all these years later.  And, I can't believe that "all these years" is a phrase I just wrote.  It seems like he left us just yesterday.  I still feel him in my heart, and now he has the company of Gil and Hobie.

Enough about that.  I was going to wait to announce this, but I have learned that there is no time like the present.  So, here it comes:  My long-term goal, which I have been planning since Mr. Kitty and Timba died, is to become a pet grief and loss counselor.  I am hoping to finish the educational/certification part of that within the next year, and begin helping others (if they'll have me) live with the pain and grief of losing a beloved pet.

In the meantime, I devote this website to my beloved pets who I miss every day, and of course those who are still with me:  Charlie Brown, Cooper, Cali, Tux and Newman.

But for today, this is Hector's day, and I just want to say, "Mommy misses you, buddy, every single day.  I love you to the moon and beyond."

September 4, 2001 - August 28, 2011

Sunday, August 23, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life; Week 34: School

School, school, school.  I sat here all day trying to think of what photo to take for this week's 52 Snapshots photo challenge.  The topic?  School.  

Well, DUH!!  School, (more specifically, teachers, parents and students) is responsible for my amazing career in educational travel that I don't write about very much on this blog.   That's because this blog is normally reserved for my avocation:  my writing, photography and love of my dogs and cats.  But my real job and career, for the past 30 years, has been in the American outbound educational group travel industry.  My main function at work, as the company's CFO, is left-brained: accounting, bookkeeping, HR, payroll, legalities, insurance, database management and always one foot in sales (though lately, it's been more like a toe!!).  

What is student travel?  I simplify it this way:  "The French class goes to Paris with their teacher for a week."

What is it NOT?  The exchange student who stayed with your family for a year when you were a kid; the semester abroad your cousin took part in during junior year.  

As schools open across the U.S. every August, we publish and send out our new annual brochure to high school teachers around the country.  The archivist and collector in me means I have at least one copy of ALL of the brochures we've ever printed.  So, today, I put a selection of the most recent several years' worth of brochures on the desk, and took a picture.   


Have you, or your kids, ever gone on an educational group tour?  Tell me about it in the comments.

Back to #school !!

52 Snapshots of Life, a weekly themed photo challenge, is hosted by our pals at The Lazy Pit Bull 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Grieving the loss of a pet -- The Pet Lover's Code, 10 rights of a grieving pet parent

Written and created by Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD.

Though you should reach out to others as you journey through grief, you should not feel obligated to accept the unhelpful responses you may receive from some people. You are the one who is grieving, and as such, you have certain “rights” no one should try to take away from you. The following list is intended both to empower you to heal and to decide how others can and cannot help. This is not to discourage you from reaching out to others for help, but rather to assist you in distinguishing useful responses from hurtful ones. 

1. You have the right to grieve the death of a pet. You loved your pet. Your pet loved you. You had a strong and profound relationship. You have every right to grieve this death. You need to grieve this death. You also need to mourn this death (express your grief outside yourself). 

2. You have the right to talk about your grief. Talking about your grief will help you heal. Seek out others who will allow you to talk about your grief. Other pet lovers who have experienced the death of a pet often make good listeners at this time. If at times you don’t feel like talking, you also have the right to be silent. 

3. You have the right to feel a variety of emotions. Confusion, anger, guilt, and relief are just a few of the emotions you might feel as part of your grief journey after the death of a pet. Feelings aren’t right or wrong; they just are. 

4. You have the right to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits. After the death of a pet, your feelings of loss and sadness will probably leave you feeling fatigued. Respect what your body and mind are telling you. Get daily rest. Eat balanced meals. And don’t allow others to push you into doing things you don’t feel like doing. 

5. You have the right to experience “griefbursts.” Sometimes, out of nowhere, a powerful surge of grief may overcome you. This can be frightening, but it is normal and natural. 

6. You have the right to make use of ritual. After a pet dies, you can harness the power of ritual to help you heal. Plan a ceremony that includes everyone who loved your pet. 

7. You have the right to embrace your spirituality. At times of loss, it is natural to turn to your faith or spirituality. Engaging your spirituality by attending church or other place of worship, praying, or spending time alone in nature may help you better understand and reconcile your loss. 

8. You have the right to search for meaning. You may find yourself asking, “Why did my pet die? Why this way? Why now?” Some of your questions may have answers, but some may not. Ask them anyway. 

9. You have the right to treasure your memories. Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after the death of a special companion animal. Instead of ignoring your memories, find ways to capture them and treasure them always. 

10. You have the right to move toward your grief and heal. Reconciling your grief after the death of a pet may not happen quickly. Remember, grief is best experienced in “doses.” Be patient and tolerant with yourself and avoid people who are impatient and intolerant with you. Neither you nor those around you must forget that the death of a beloved pet changes your life forever. 

Note from k2k9:  I would only add that these same "rights" apply to the loss of a human, as well. There is no such thing as "getting over it".  Grief has no timeline.  There is nothing wrong with you if you grieve for a long time, or a short time.  There is no right or wrong way to grieve.  Take as much, or as little, time as you want.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life, Week 33: Black

k2k9 presents:  What color is this loveseat?  This is like that stupid thing that went around social media last year:  what color is the dress? Blue? or silver? -- remember that?

Without a flash, it's brown.
(Leave me alone, I'm tryin' to sleep.)

With flash photography, it's black.
(You're using a flash, when I'm tryin' to sleep.  Seriously?!)

The real answer?  Brown.  Charlie Brown.
( Mom!! I SAID... I'm tryin' to sleep!)

52 Snapshots of life is hosted by our pals over at The Lazy Pit Bull.  Read their post from Week 33- Black here -- bringing awareness to the plight of black cats in shelters (who are often overlooked and take longer to adopt out than cats of other hues).

Saturday, August 8, 2015

52 Snapshots of Life; Week 32: Favorite

My favorite photo this week is the one I took of my glass animal figurines display.

I've been collecting these glass animals since I was a very small child.  The large tabby cat is the oldest one.  I believe I got it when I was just four or five years old.  The family of chihuahuas in the top corner were from my grandmother, who actually had an entire pack of LIVE chihuahuas when I was a kid.

There are other "families" such as the English Setter with puppies, the family of three little pigs, the seals, the horses, and the frogs.

The wooden shoes on the top of the shelf were given to my mom by my dad during WWII -- he got them in the Netherlands when he was a soldier overseas with the U.S. Army.  You can read more about that in my books "More Than Anything in the World" (volumes 1 and 2) available on Amazon.

I still buy glass animals (mostly dogs) when I'm traveling, as souvenirs, or just if I see one I like while out shopping or whatnot.   Makes a great gift!  lol

What, if anything, do you collect?  Tell me in the comments!

52 Snapshots of Life is hosted by our friends over at The Lazy Pit Bull