Posts

Coping with the Loss of a Pet

[Coping with the Loss of a Pet]

 

image3

Written by Ioana Busuioc, February 2019

Losing a pet is never easy, particularly around the holidays. Pets become members of our family, and their support and comfort can brighten the darkest of days. There’s something inherently different about losing a pet, perhaps because much like children, they are completely innocent beings. To this day I have yet to come across a bad animal, the same way I have never come across a bad child. In a loving home, a pet can flourish and offer a special kind of support that cannot be obtained from friends or family. In protecting your pet and giving them a good quality of life, there is an unspoken agreement through which they commit to giving you the same type love you give them, but tenfold.

The loss of a pet can leave an irreparable rift in not only your home, but your soul. When my family lost our beloved Mitmit two weeks before Christmas, I thought my world was ending. It came so suddenly, and the feeling of hopelessness we all felt over not being able to cure her of her sickness put a stop to a lot of day to day activities. Mitmit was my soulmate, and beyond being a family pet, she was essentially a lifeboat for the turbulent seas of mental health I had learned to navigate throughout my teens and young adult life. She was my best friend, and despite the constant changes in life I went through, she was a constant and consistent source of laughter, care, and support. It’s hard to put into words just how special a pet can end up being, but ultimately they become the glue that holds a family together. Pets are there for us throughout hardships and sadness, but they are also there with us to celebrate the happy moments. Every pet has their own unique quirks, and the realization that you will have to face a home devoid of those quirks that had become part of your routine can be beyond disheartening. Whenever anyone came home, Mitmit always ran up to the door, like a dog, to offer a friendly meow and to immediately ask for pets. The first day without her, I realized I wouldn’t have her greeting me anymore, and I wouldn’t be able to call out to her and have her jump on my lap for a cuddle. I felt like our house was simply no longer a home without her presence, and all the things that once brought me joy felt dull and unnecessary without my dear companion by my side. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I didn’t want to eat, or even move from my bed. As a matter of fact, I took a whole week off of work because I physically was unable to function, and I was in tears permanently, to the point where my eyes swelled so much that I couldn’t keep them open. The only periods of respite were when I was asleep, but even then, my dreams were plagued by vivid nightmares and upon waking, I had to again face the reality that my best friend was gone. As the days passed, I felt like there were so many moments I had taken for granted; I wish I had known that Christmas 2017 would be her last Christmas, or that my birthday that year would be the last one celebrated with her, or that I’d never see her roll around in the grass as she did in the summertime. The lesson she taught me is that we really do not know what life holds in store for our loved ones, ultimately we have to be thankful for the time we’ve had with them, and to be able to continue honoring their memories.

As I mentioned, it was quite hard for me to ground myself into reality after Mitmit’s passing. Life felt so surreal, and it felt like time was passing me by in slow-mo, without me being able to move on with my day, or even care for myself. I secluded myself from my loved ones and wanted to skip to the part where I would feel okay. I think deep down I knew that day would never come, not in the way I would want it to. I knew I would mourn for my furry friend endlessly, but I so badly wanted the pain in my heart to stop. I feel very fortunate to have had the support group I had, understanding coworkers, and to have had my family exercise patience and care between the three of us so that we could start to heal. I may not have had the best coping, but I know I did my best, and ultimately taking a week off to mope and sulk ended up helping me, though this may not be the case for everybody. We all cope differently, and it’s important to listen to yourself and take the appropriate measures to begin the healing process after losing a pet. What worked for me, might not work for everybody, but I’ve compiled a list of things to do to at least try to ease the suffering after the death of a pet.Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

1. It’s absolutely necessary to just sit and have a good cry. I personally am a big crier, whether it’s from actually being sad, or from watching cute animal videos on YouTube, I wholeheartedly have embraced that I am a crier. Crying is uncomfortable but I really do believe when something seriously devastating happens to a person, they can benefit from the unleashing of emotions that is crying. If that means just one good cry, that’s okay, if it means a week of crying uninterrupted, that’s okay too. Nobody can tell anyone how they should or should not cope! Also, it will take way more than a week to heal after such a devastating loss. I’m not ashamed to admit this week, a month and a half after Mitmit’s passing, I cried and held on to her ashes late one night. There is no expiry date on grieving.

2. One of the hardest things to do was take care of myself; like I mentioned, I couldn’t bother drinking water, feeding myself, showering, leaving my bed, etc. There is nothing glamorous about suffering and grieving, and it certainly can take time to regain a routine, but it’s important to recognize that it will get better. My boss called me to remind me to drink water and go for a walk, my mom made me get out of the house to eat some soup, my coworker and friend came to drop off a care package for me, and I had numerous offers from close friends wanting to keep me company. Though I was reluctant to accept help, knowing that I had people there for me pushed me to try to take better care of myself, one day at a time. It started off really slowly, with me only managing to drink water and juice and eat some fruit, but gradually I got out of bed for longer periods of time and started making myself soups and teas, cleaning, doing face masks, and so on. I got back into my normal routine about a week later, but I am very glad I took my time so that it wouldn’t have led to me crashing and burning too early on. Naturally not everyone has the ability to take time off of work or school or their other responsibilities, and in those cases I think it’s very important to at least drink water frequently. Dehydration can lead to migraines and overall grogginess, and that’s the last thing anybody needs when they already feel like they’ve hit rock bottom.

3. Looking at pictures of Mitmit was initially really hard, but after a few days I started compiling photos and videos of her and would look at them whenever I’d get sad again. Mementos are great for keeping a pet’s memory alive, but also to turn to for comfort. We got two paw print prints to frame, a ceramic paw print with her name, her ashes in a beautiful box, and a pillow in her shape with her picture on it. It’s important to take the necessary steps to do whatever it is that will bring you the slightest bit of relief, and for me personally, it was surrounding myself with reminders of her bright spirit and kind soul.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

4. Take time for your loved ones, especially family members if they had also experienced the loss of the pet. My mom and I had spent a lot of time together, and still do, and we feel that her memory is preserved in us getting along and spending time with each other. As much as I didn’t want to socialize, I made myself go out for dinners and short activities with my friends and loved ones as much as I could. I knew Mitmit would not want me sulking in the darkness of my room all day, so I made a conscious effort to surround myself with positive people who I knew would be patient with me.

5. Doing some soul-searching was something that I knew I would benefit from when a few weeks had passed. I really felt like a part of my identity was now gone; I was always a “crazy cat lady” among my friends, and now I felt like being cat-less made me less of the person I knew I was. A lot of doubt can cloud your judgment when a pet passes away, but it is important to remember your pet would not be treating you like this or talking to you so negatively, so you shouldn’t do it to yourself. When some time has passed, it would be beneficial to remember the special bond with a pet and know that it could never duplicated. I initially thought I could never own another cat again, and we definitely are not ready yet, but ultimately having rescued Mitmit from a shelter, I know the best way to honour her legacy would be to continue giving other shelter pets a chance to thrive in a loving home.

I would also like to say that while it was incredibly hard to see her last moments, she died in the comfort of her home, on my dad’s lap, with my mom and I petting her. We had called Vets to Go since Mitmit was never very good with car rides and we did not want to stress her out further. The vet that came was beyond patient, her professionalism was evident from the start, and she never made us feel rushed. Thanks to her, we were able to have our beloved Mitmit pass over the rainbow bridge as peacefully as possible, and she herself had stated that there truly would not have been an easier or better way for her to pass away. In her saying this, I found solace, because to me, ultimately, the best gift you can give to a pet, other than a loving home of course, is to be there for them and to make sure they know they are loved when it is their time to go. Comfort in a loved one’s passing is truly the most selfless gift one can give, in my opinion, and my family and I are very blessed to have been able to give that to our dear Mitmit.

It’s never easy losing a pet, especially because for the most part, our pets will not live for the entire duration of our own lives. Most people have many pets throughout their lifetimes, but for those pets, their person or people become their whole lives. It is so important to honor that time spent together, but to also be aware that there is life after loss, and I know in my heart that all departed pets are waiting for us and the day we meet again will be so pure and joyous that it will truly transcend time and space. As Anatole France once said: “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened”, and so to lose is to have loved and lived. If you are dealing with the loss of a pet, please be gentle, kind, and patient with yourself above all else, and hug your loved ones a little tighter; we don’t know when anyone’s time, human or animal, will come, so we must make the most out of every single moment while we can. I know I will miss my kitty until the day I die. She was so special, as I know each pet is to their own owners, but I know she is here in spirit, and I will continue to live in a manner that honours her, today and always.

 

Rest in Peace my dearest friend. We will see each other over the Rainbow Bridge one day.

 

Thank you kindly for reading, I hope this was helpful and informative!

Ioana Busuioc
Blog and Website Content Creator

Got ideas for our next blog? Email me at blog@aarcs.ca!

Rescue Pet Mythbusting(Part 2)

[Rescue Pet Mythbusting Part. 2]

Photo courtesy of Alexei Chernenkoff Photography

Written by Ioana Busuioc, August 2018

Special thanks to our fabulous Animal Behavior Coordinator Natasha Pupulin for her help on behavioral and temperament-related content!

The second part of this three part myth busting series! Read on for some more fast facts and informative debunking!

Myth #4

Adoption fees are too expensive.

Reality: Adoption fees may seem daunting, but keep in mind that shelters provide care and medical assistance for the animals present and these adoption fees, alongside donations, are what help shelters stay afloat and continue caring for thousands of animals each year. AARCS spays and neuters all animals prior to adoptions, and we provide vaccinations for all animals while in our care, this is included in the adoption fee. Adoptive families are however responsible for vaccinations and continued treatments after the adoption process. AARCS’ adoption fees are as follows:

  • $375 for dogs 7 months and older
  • $495 for dogs 6 months and under
  • $200 for senior dogs 8 years and older
  • $150 for cats 7 months and older
  • $225 for two cats 7 months and older (bonded pair)
  • $200 for a single kitten 6 months and under
  • $400 for two kittens 6 months and under
  • $60 for senior cats over 9 years

Myth #5

Knowing the breed or the mix will help you to understand temperament.

Reality: This is incorrect! If we know what a dog’s parental lineage was, such as a german shepard mother and a husky father, there is no way to know which genes have been passed down to the pup. This is especially relevant for temperament, intelligence, social skills, etc. The best way to get a genuine feel for a dog’s temperament is not to go by breed, but by getting to know the individual, read body language daily, and provide training support as needed. This is facilitated through AARCS with the intake assessment and our foster program, which helps us successfully match potential adopters with the right dog, not the right breed.  As a matter of fact, many shelters have moved from a specified breed to a “mixed breed” designation, unless that dog’s lineage is known and many find this helps improve the chances of finding the perfect match – without breed bias.

Myth #6

Getting a puppy is the best option because you know what you’re getting.

Reality: Not necessarily true. There is the appealing prospect of being able to shape the puppy as it grows, however puppies do not reach emotional and behavioural maturity until about 3 years of age. During this time, puppies go through a series of experiences, development stages, and fear imprinting periods that will shape their behaviours into adulthood. Adult dogs older than 3 years old will afford you more reliability in assessing behaviours long term. If there are ever any traits that may seem undesirable to you as a potential pet owner, adult dogs typically already have their own characteristics and behaviours set out, so it is much easier to know what you are getting. Additionally, puppies require A LOT of work, attention, and training, whereas adult dogs may already have some training!

It is fair to state though, that based on experience, any adult, puppy, or adolescent may experience behaviour changes throughout their lifetimes, however the variation is greater in puppies when compared to adults after a period of assessment in foster care or in your home.

Thank you kindly for reading, I hope this was helpful and informative!


AARCS_adopt_canine AARCS_adopt_feline
Pandora_9

Photo credits to Alexei Chernenkoff

Ioana Busuioc
Blog and Website Content Creator

Got ideas for our next blog? Email me at blog@aarcs.ca!

August 25, 2018
Blog_aarcs

[ Rescue Pet Mythbusting ]

banner_TICK

Written by Ioana Busuioc, July 2018

Special thanks to our fabulous Animal Behavior Coordinator Natasha Pupulin for her help on behavioral and temperament-related content!

When considering adopting a pet, many people wonder where the best place to get their new furry companion will be. There are numerous options, such as pet stores, breeders, even online on websites such as Kijiji, but the best option by far is through a rescue organization. That being said, rescue pets can often be at the center of misunderstandings due to various myths and misconceptions. Read on for some informative debunking!

Myth #1

One of the most common misconception about shelter pets is that they have behavioral issues that cannot be fixed.

Reality: It’s important to know that rescued animals come from all sorts of backgrounds, and yes, some of those backgrounds might be rooted in an undesirable or harmful situation for an animal, but the majority are happy-go-lucky pets who are ready for their forever home. Some animals end up in a shelter because they grew up without a family, their family can no longer care for them, their owners have passed away, from being lost and unable to reunite with their owners. Beyond this, there are animals who are rescued from hoarding situations, abusive situations. Naturally, animals who come from the aforementioned situations might experience cautiousness, fear, shyness, and so on. The most important thing to remember is that many of these  issues are resolved with time, love, patience, and training from their fosters and adopters.At AARCS, it is why fostering and daily interaction with animals is crucial in order to help rescues come out of their shells and feel safe and secure so that their personalities may shine through for their future families. If there are ever issues related to the training of an animal, more commonly dogs, they are also addressed within shelter, and  they continue into foster care to increase the animal’s adoptability. A reputable rescue will always disclose any existing concerns for your consideration prior to adopting, and will advise you about the prognosis for resolving those issues so you and your family can make a choice that is right for you.

 

An example of behavior we deal with that can be a concern to prospective pet owners is resource guarding. Contrary to popular belief, resource guarding behaviours do not originate from dogs raised in free-roaming environments or a history of scavenging behaviour. In fact, we see this behaviour reported in less than 1% of our dogs when observed in shelter and in home environments. Resource guarding can happen to any breed and at an age, and studies show that there is no clear correlation between genetics and this type of behavior. It is considered a fear-based behavior, and it is more often seen in dogs who are stressed and lack confidence. There are various ways of approaching this type of behavior, but ultimately there is a solution through consistency, patience, and care. Resource guarding is highly manageable, and in many cases, can be resolved quickly and easily using desensitization and counterconditioning techniques.

Myth #2

I don’t know what I’m getting with a rescue pet.

Reality: While it is true that shelters may not have significant information on various animals as they get taken in, organizations aim to put in the time and effort to get to know the animal before putting it up for adoption. AARCS is fortunate enough to have an Animal Behavior Coordinator. Natasha, and more than 600 dedicated caregivers and foster homes  who take it upon themselves to improve adoptability rates, enrich the shelter environment, and deliver effective, kind and entertaining training activities to improve the quality of life for the animals in AARCS’ care as well as for their post-adoption lives! While breeders and retail stores might concern themselves more with quick turnovers, shelters like AARCS aim towards making great matches! It’s important to know that many of the animals taken in benefit from staying with a foster family prior to adoption. This is helpful for a few reasons, but most importantly it gets an animal the chance to get socialized with people, as well as potentially children or other animals, so that their personality can shine through and they can ultimately get adopted into the perfect family. All in all, animals that come through shelters get a lot of time and attention given to them so that rescue workers can be able to pinpoint any issues, address them, and cultivate positive traits and behaviors.

Myth #3

Getting a puppy is the best option because you know what you’re getting.

Reality: Not necessarily true. There is the appealing prospect of being able to shape the puppy as it grows, however puppies do not reach emotional and behavioural maturity until about 3 years of age. During this time, puppies go through a series of experiences, development stages, and fear imprinting periods that will shape their behaviours into adulthood. Adult dogs older than 3 years old will afford you more reliability in assessing behaviours long term. If there are ever any traits that may seem undesirable to you as a potential pet owner, adult dogs typically already have their own characteristics and behaviours set out, so it is much easier to know what you are getting. Additionally, puppies require A LOT of work, attention, and training, whereas adult dogs may already have some training!

It is fair to state tough, that based on experience, any adult, puppy, or adolescent may experience behaviour changes throughout their lifetimes, however the variation is greater in puppies when compared to adults after a period of assessment in foster care or in your home.

Thank you kindly for reading, I hope this was helpful and informative!


Warner 05

Ioana Busuioc
Blog and Website Content Creator

Got ideas for our next blog? Email me at blog@aarcs.ca!

July 5, 2018
panzer square

AARCS in Desperate Need of Financial Assistance

AARCS in Desperate Need of Financial Assistance Due to Mounting Vet Bills

Press Release

November 6th, 2016 – Calgary, AB – On October 28th, 2016 the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) received a call about a dog in desperate need of help. Rescuers headed out immediately and found Panzer, a 4 month old mixed breed puppy in a rural area of Alberta suffering from extensive damage to both his front legs. He was rushed back to Calgary where veterinarians assessed and suspected he had been attacked by a wild animal. Panzer’s right elbow was broken and left ulna was shattered. In addition, he was septic and severely anemic. Once stable, Panzer underwent surgery to repair both broken front legs — one so badly damaged the bone was sticking out of the skin.

Panzer

Panzer

Panzer is one of over 500 animals in the care of the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society. He is now in an AARCS’ medical recovery foster home where he is receiving daily bandage changes and getting lots of love and attention. “He is the sweetest little dog and even though he has been through so much, he is still such a happy puppy,” says AARCS foster parent and Medical Manager, Ariana Lenz. “Thanks to AARCS, he is going to completely recover from this traumatic event.”

“The calls don’t seem to ever stop. We are currently dealing with 144 animals in need of medical care, and this is over and above basic spay/neuter and vaccines,” said Deanna Thompson, Executive Director of AARCS. “We don’t want to turn these animals away, but at some point we are going to have to unless we can raise more funds to pay the mounting veterinary bills.”

During Alberta’s hard economic times, many non-profits are feeling the effects. AARCS has already spent $785,000 in veterinary bills so far this year and expects that number to exceed one million before the end of the year. Paying for basic medical costs such as spay/neuter surgeries and vaccines are often covered by adoption fees, but having to deal with so many major medical cases has put the organization in the tough position of potentially having to turn away animals in need. “As the cold weather approaches, the number of animals in need will continue to increase. We need to raise additional funds to get us through the winter months,” says Thompson.

AARCS is reaching out to the public in hopes of garnering additional support to help get through these tough economic times and help animals like Panzer. If you would like to help, please consider donating to AARCS on their website at www.aarcs.ca/Donate. In addition, AARCS is hosting a fundraising event on November 19th at Vagabond in Calgary, tickets are $40 each or two for $70 and available on AARCS’ website www.aarcs.ca/DiamondintheRuff.

-30-

AARCS_vetfund AARCS_Donate

 

For more information, please contact:

Deanna Thompson, Executive Director

Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS)

Bay G, 3851 – 21 Street NE

Calgary, AB T2E 6T5

Cell: 403-869-4694

Email: deanna@aarcs.ca

Diamond in the Ruff


Diamond in the Ruff

10 Year Anniversary Celebration!

DITR_11x14wBowDog_web

 

When:  Saturday, November 19th, 2016
Time: 7:30PM – MIDNIGHT
Where: Vagabond, 1129 Olympic Way SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0L4
Price: $40 PER TICKET OR TWO FOR $70
About: Come celebrate our 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY with us! Each ticket comes with a free drink ticket and a small assortment of appetizers. Put on your cocktail dress, grab a date and put on your dancing shoes! We will have a DJ, beer and wine tastings, and a couple of surprises in store! This is an event you will not want to miss! More details to come!

★ Our Title Sponsor is BowDog Canine Specialists! Our additional Gold Sponsors are End Of The Roll, SH&E Systems Solutions Inc. and Servus Credit Union ★

During the evening of, we will be raffling off a 14 Karat white gold pendant and chain (by Studio Tzela) with a 4.736 Carat Rough Diamond. It’s a unique, one of a kind piece! Donated to help the Animals of AARCS by Troy Shoppe Jewellers 

Celebrate a decade of AARCS, with more years to come! It’s going to be an evening you’ll never forget!

AARCS_event_spon


Since 2006, AARCS has rescued, rehabilitated and re-homed 9,000 ANIMALS, which is absolutely remarkable!


2016_AARCStemplate