Archive for the ‘pet loss’ Category
Sedonia “Dony” Kennicoot Fairweather
December 25, 1998 – July 5, 2011
My beautiful White German Shepherd, Alaskan Malamute mix, Sedonia Kennicoot Fairweather, or “Dony” as we called her died on July 5 at the age of twelve and a half.
She was born of Kianna Fairweather, one of the most beautiful and remarkable dogs I have ever known. Dony was the only one of nine puppies born on Christmas Day night in 1998 who survived. Three days after her birth, our beloved Caesar died of bone cancer- osteosarcoma.
Dony was pure white and so very, very tiny at birth. We did not know if she would survive, and if she did, if she would be disabled or ill. Kianna had advanced heartworm disease. She had many infirmities and had also been shot and almost paralyzed by a dart gun shot by an Animal Control officer. She was emaciated and dehydrated – and throughout all of her surgeries and vaccinations – all while she had been pregnant – unbeknownst to any of the vets that had treated her.
Dony was Kianna’s pride and joy. I have never seen a more maternal, caring and loving mother than Kianna. She socialized her beautifully- the two were virtually inseparable. Kianna taught Dony how to hunt and fish, and the two were always chasing and catching all kinds of critters. They had a special fondness for the mallards that swam in our pond.
Dony was born in our study and slept with Norman and me – on the bed with her mother and us or on the floor with her mother. She was very quiet and gentle and was, at the age of three, certified as a Therapy dog. She was beloved by many people in assisted living centers, nursing homes and hospitals. She was a great healing, calming and comforting presence to so many.
When we adopted Nenani, an Alaskan Malmute mix, she, he and Kianna were a family within our family. They played together, ate and slept together, and, of course, hunted and chased animals together. Even when Kianna died, Dony seemed to understandthe concept of death in a way that is indescribable – as though it were inevitable and a part of life experience. She and Nenani became closer than ever.
During recent months, Donny seemed disoriented and confused periodically – very unlike her. She was so very clever, resourceful, alert and intelligent. She was also having difficulty getting up and walking.
It was obvious that she was suffering. She was incontinent for the fist time in her entire life. It was obvious that she did not know what was happening. She was suddenly paralyzed, and her exquisite, alert and shining brown eyes were now dull and listless.
It was tine to put an end to her suffering. I knew that she was ready to go. And so, we had her euthanized in our bedroom. Nenani and the other dogs were with her, and I wept and held her close to me, placing my head upon hers. I told her how deeply I loved her and would miss her. But I knew that she would be joyously reunited with her mama, Caesar, Katie, Spencer, Two Socks, Chloe and the other dogs with whom she had lived. I I knew Auntie Betty & Uncle Chris would be warmly welcoming her to the Rainbow Bridge. I thanked Dony for all that she had given to enrich my life. I thanked God for the privilege and blessing of knowing my beloved Dony.
I am profoundly missing the best Christmas present I ever received – my beloved Dony. She will always live on in my heart and soul…
All those who have grieved and mourned the loss of a beloved animal companion wish that our dearest and most devoted friends could have lived longer. It is a fact that generally we, as human beings, outlive our pets, and so, we must learn to become accustomed to coping with and recovering from grief over their loss. We can never take time or any life for granted. However, there are various ways that we can increase the likelihood of our pets living long, happy and healthy lives. Here are my top ten tips to help you extend your pet’s life.
1). Have your pet examined at least once a year (if not more) by a veterinarian. A wellness exam is an important component in keeping your pet healthy and discovering any potentially dangerous health issues your pet may have.
2) Have your pet spayed or neutered. Neutering eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer and decreases the chance of developing prostate disease. Spaying your female pet decreases her chances of developing ovarian or uterine cancer. Spay/neuter also diminish your pet’s desire to run away or roam. Pet overpopulation is a huge problem not only in this country but also throughout the world. Too many unwanted animals are born and, thus far too many innocent animals suffer and are euthanised every year.
3). Make sure your pet receives his annual vaccinations including: Rabies, DHPP, Bordatella, Lepto as well as heartworm and fecal tests. These are critically important preventive and lifesaving measures for your pet.
4). Keep your pet clean. Good hygiene including dental hygiene is imperative for his good health. A lack of oral hygiene can result in oral disease, gingivitis and periodontal disease which can be linked to heart, lung and kidney disease.
5). Keep your pet on monthly heartworm preventive as well as a regular flea and tick prevention program.
6). Feed your pet age appropriate nutritious food regularly. Consult your vet as to the food best suited for your pet’s overall health and well-being. Do not overfeed or underfeed your pet.
7). Make sure that your pet always has fresh, clean water.
8). Exercise your pet regularly.
9). Interact with your pet frequently and as often as possible. They love to please us and
require attention and affection. Don’t let your pet be a “latchkey” pet – alone, bored and frustrated.
10. Love, respect and appreciate your pet. These are really the most fundamental requirements of pet parenthood. Do so, and he will repay you a million fold with his love, loyalty and devotion.
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If you have ever known a beagle (as I have in many cases), you are aware of their sweet, docile, cheerful, friendly, accommodating, gentle personalities and their desire to do nothing more than love you and receive your approval. Last April, I lost my glorious Beagle/Foxhound, Chloe, who was the most loving, affectionate, gentle and demonstrative being one could ever wish to know. Chloe was an angel who had been abandoned roadside with her littermates and saved by a rescue organization called HART in Dallas from whom we adopted our Chloe.
Chloe loved everyone- animals & humans – and especially children with whom she shared a special bond and loyalty and devotion. She understood somehow that they were precious and vulnerable and to be respected and appreciated in a way different from adults and other creatures. She took them very seriously and loved them.
Before Chloe, I had known many other beagles cherished for their gentle and generous natures and spirits. I have never met a beagle I didn’t love…
Last week I read an article that just about broke my heart – except that it did have a VERY happy ending. It was featured in USA TODAY and addressed the “Independence Day for 118 Beagles Used in Lab Tests” and written by Sharon L. Peters. It spoke of the life and ultimate liberation of beagles that had been used in laboratory research – dogs that lived in isolation confined in plexiglass crates fed and watered on precise daily schedule with no opportunity for any spontaneity or to socialize or experience life outside a cage.
Ironically, with the aid of various animal rescue groups and organizations, these loving little guys were “liberated” from their lives of confinement July 4 weekend after several animal loving groups came to their aid and had them released after the AniClin Research Facility in New Jersey had gone bankrupt and locked its doors. Many of these beagles went to Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary in Middletown, New York. Some of them went to t. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey. They were assisted by Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah.
The animals underwent an enormous transition and transformation. Most had never experienced sunlight or had walked upon the grass. They had lived in an air-conditioned or climate controlled and sterile environment year round. They were not socialized – and did not have human or other canine friends.
They learned to adjust – one step at a time, each at his or her own pace. Experiencing the hugs and embrace of humans, the licks and nips of and playful interaction with other dogs – learning to communicate with human beings and other animals, they adjusted to their new lives. And then, they were the recipients of the ultimate joy for a dog that has been lonely, alone and isolated – being adopted by caring, compassionate and warm-hearted people that care deeply for these animals and their welfare. Would that all laboratory animals could be liberated from lives of misery, loneliness and despair. However, one step at a time. Pet loss and pet grief can be difficult to cope with. We have an example of what CAN be – the hope that can become reality - dogs that are free at last – and loved, appreciated and respected for all they have to offer – for the joy, beauty and richness they contribute to our lives!
1). When your pet is diagnosed with and suffering from a terminal and disabling illness or disease, it is time to think about the possibility of ultimately having him euthanized.
2). “Euthanasia” is the Greek term for “good death.”
3). Deciding to euthanize your suffering pet is one of the most painful, difficult and complex decisions you can make.
4). Providing your pet with euthanasia can be one of the kindest, most compassionate, unselfish and humane decisions you can make.
5). Euthanasia can be one of the most heartbreaking yet merciful decisions you will ever make,
6). Only you can determine at what point the quality of life for your pet has deteriorated to the point at which euthanasia is warranted and advisable.
7). Although no one knows your pet better than you do, it is advisable to consult with your veterinarian(s) as to when it is time to let your pet go.
8). When you have determined that your pet no longer enjoys any quality of life - he is incontinent, immobile, has difficulty breathing, refuses to eat or drink, has little or no interaction with you, no longer plays and sleeps most of the time - it may be time for him to be euthanized.
9). The actual process of euthanasia involves the veterinarian painlessly injecting a massive dose of sedative or barbiturate intravenously. Some vets employ two different injections – one to relax and sedate the pet; the second to stop the patient’s heart.
10). Following the procedure, it is very common for the pet’s guardian to experience intense personal grief, sadness and depression.
11). It is our moral and ethical responsibility as pet parents to do what is in our pet’s best interest and to alleviate unnecessary suffering.
To contact me for more info or any personal questions come see me on Diane Pomerance, Ph.D.