Losing a Pet is Like Losing a Child

Losing a Pet is Like Losing a Child

Good Monday to you!

This one is for pet owners.

It’s also for anyone who can’t understand why people grieve the loss of their pets.

We lost our family pet during the first week of January. He was the sweetest, funniest (yes, pets can make you laugh hysterically), “little ham” ever – and a big part of our lives. When you’ve had a pet for 14 years they tend to grow on you and their loss can really “sting”.

Whoever said, “Pets are like Family” obviously owned, cared for and loved one themselves, because they sure knew what they were talking about. We found our little guy , a chihuahua mix, at a local pet store — but he was a shelter dog. One that if not for our youngest child, ( our son who passed away), asking us repeatedly to get a dog, we would not have had. Which would’ve meant that we would have missed out on some very special moments.

Just as with the family members and friends that we have lost, we have memories in the form of photos; but there also the stories. Oh, how I love the stories.

They remind us of the reason why “he” had to be the one to come home with us and become a part of our family.

It hurt having to say goodbye to him forever, not just because we loved him, but because having him around after losing our son allowed us to still have a little bit of our son around.

If you think about it… our pets lives are very much like that of the life that we have with our children, or anyone else that we may be taking care of on a daily basis. Their lives become intertwined with ours as we wake each day, on time, to ensure that they are fed.

We play with them, talk to them (yes, I said “talk” to them), we socialize them with other pets at pet establishments or dog parks; and sometimes we even set up play dates for them. We take them to the veterinarian to keep them healthy, or when they become ill.

Many pet owners, like myself, watch what our pets eat to ensure that they are eating foods that will benefit their health needs and keep their bodies strong.

We make sure that they exercise – usually with a nice walk, and it’s not unusual to hear a “pet-parent” talk about how their pet is often their source of motivation to get off the couch and to get a little exercise.

It’s no wonder that pet owners are considered healthier than non-pet owners, (even though recent research concludes that there is not enough evidence to support that belief). Yet, as a life-long pet owner I believe in the benefits and positive effects of pet ownership; and I challenge you to become a pet owner and judge for yourself!

Our pets keep us going and moving through life, while also adding positively to our livelihood. But, it’s their unconditional love that we probably benefit from the most. As that part of pet ownership has been shown to support emotional health and well-being.

I am sure that every pet owner will agree that there is nothing like the warm welcome and excitement that your pet shows when you walk through the door after being gone for a while.

Here is the thing… A loss is a loss. It doesn’t matter if it is a family member, friend or pet. It’s about how those we lost had an affect on our lives, and how much we will forever miss them.

So remember this the next time that someone thinks you are being dramatic because your pet died and you are grieving their loss; and keep grieving until you feel better. It’s not your fault that they don’t understand. Nor is it your responsibility to make them understand. But, feel free to send them a link to this post in hopes that they may one day learn to understand that pet loss is just as realistic and significant as human loss.

Thank you for reading!

Until the next post…

With love.

Take care,

xo

Affirmations

Affirmations

Have you ever tried using affirmations as a means of self-help or self-improvement?

An affirmation is a positive statement that is repeated or written until it is believed to have manifested. They are quite helpful in decreasing negative thoughts, and every time that an affirmation is recited it helps to strengthen positive thinking.

My first experience with affirmations was less than favorable to say the least. In fact, the first time that I tried them I was instantly unimpressed and convinced that they were ineffective.

It seems I somehow formed the conclusion that they were just some type of “woo-woo” new age thing that didn’t offer any real inspiration or serve a viable purpose, (not that there is anything wrong with new age concepts…) I am not judging here. At that time it just felt wrong.

I remember I didn’t like the way that saying them made me feel when I recited them. They always left me feeling as though I was sad, incomplete and somewhat pitiful. Which was quite the opposite of how they were supposed to make me feel. Affirmations are supposed to leave you with a sense of empowerment. Why wasn’t I feeling empowered?

I later learned that affirmations, just like anything else that is created for the purpose of self-development and personal growth, work best “if” the person is ready, willing and open to receiving what the self-help task being performed is attempting to help you accomplish. I think sometimes when it comes to self-help activities we often expect them to work in an instant – like magic – at least that was the belief that I had at that time in my life. That is often not the case though. It took me a long time to realize that. Now I say say affirmations daily and I appreciate the gift of mental and spiritual inspiration that they give me each day.

What I like the most about affirmations, is that they work very similarly to gratitude in that they are personal, and they remind you of the positive life affirming aspects of your life. Every affirmation, once spoken, wraps you in your own personal strength and power; and prepares you for a day in which you will be prepared to take on any obstacle. To me, they are like daily “mental rainbows’ that provide you with little shots of extra resilience while also filling your heart with self-compassion and joy.

An affirmation as simple as “I am feeling stronger today” can help provide you with that little bit of encouragement needed to perhaps… get out of bed and face the day ahead when you are in a bereaved state; or experiencing some other type of loss.

In addition, reciting an affirmation such as ” I am feeling stronger today” is considered to be a better affirmation to use than something very simplistic like: “I am strong” because it is more reality based, a little more in-depth and considered to be easier to accept – and therefore apply. This works well for me, but feel free to try this for yourself to see if it works for you.

Other examples would include the following:

  • Using the affirmation statement “I will be kind to myself today and apply patience through all things that I encounter, ” instead of using a statement such as “I have an abundance of patience.”
  • “It is okay for me to laugh sometimes because laugher is a soul’s expression of joy. Appropriate laughter helps me breathe positive energy into the universe”, Instead of ” I will remember to laugh to foster a sense of joy.”
  • “I am present in my life and open to receiving love and support and good energy from others”, instead of ” I am open to socializing, and trying new things.”
  • “I trust that my ability to create a new story, (or add to the one I already have), is strong when things go wrong in my life, and I repel all doubt of my ability to do so”, instead of ” I can and will beat any adversity.”

A few ways that affirmations are useful include the following:

  • They help you draw on your ability to be open and receive positive energy from source or the universe.
  • They allow you to focus on applying courage because instead of denouncing your fears, they help you climb over them.
  • They help you apply patience, because they help you remain honest about your abilities and intentions.
  • They help with resilience because they make it easier to keep showing up during tough times.
  • They help you maintain your sense of humor and your ability to smile, laugh, not take life too seriously.

If you haven’t already done so, try creating your own daily affirmations, or if you’ve tried and had a bad first experience like I did, why not give it another try and see if it adds value to your life this time around. You’ve got nothing to lose, only something to (hopefully) gain. I wish you luck. Love and light to you.

Thank you for reading!

Until the next post…

Take care + be well.