All Articles Tagged "pets"
My name is Liz Newman, and I love my dog like a human being; if we’re being totally honest, I actually love him more than most human beings. Ok, pretty much all human beings. Fine, I’d jump in front of the bus from Speed (so long as it didn’t plummet below 55mph!) for my dog, ok? There! I said it. (This is the part where you all say in unison: “Hi Liz”, and try not to judge me).
But wait! You can’t judge me, because according to a recent study by AVMA’s U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, singles are much more likely to identify pets as members of the family, rather than merely companions or property. This certainly applies to me as, like countless others, I’ve been burned by boyfriends, and managed to move on without overly dipping my pen in the crazy ink. But try and take my dog away? I’ll cut you.
In fact, to further reiterate that AVMA’s latest discoveries are totally founded, I, a single girl living in New York — and whose heart beats for a 7lb maltese (damn right, I fit the profile!) — am going to break down the top three findings with a corresponding, completely factual tail — I mean — tale.
1. Pet ownership among single people increased from 46.9% in 2006 to 54.7% in 2011.
It’s hardly a secret, pets inherently know only one way to love: unconditionally. I actually, and quite accidentally, acquired Joe (said 7b maltese) after a major breakup. I wasn’t even thinking about getting a dog, but he came into my life and was an instant healer; it was remarkable. This little guy is so overly excited when I return home he physically cannot stop running circles for a solid 30 minutes, unless it’s to shower me in nonstop affection. “Oh please, my boyfriend did that all the time,” said no one ever.
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“The turtles legs are falling off,” sang my co-worker’s fidgety 5-year-old son as he moonwalked across the waiting room with a carelessness that only comes with not knowing any better. We had driven 35 minutes during rush hour traffic to bring their beloved bloated reptile to the vet since she had Googled “turtle dying symptoms,” dialed local vets and stressed throughout the workday. Unfortunately, after hearing the opposing advisory of two vets, giving the pet vitamin shots and a taunting turn for the best, my co-worker found the pet’s limp and lifeless body resting on a rock two mornings later. And that same boy who was re-enacting Michael Jackson’s Motown 25 “Billie Jean” performance while the family pet gasped for air in the next room, burst into tears at the news that Scooter was “no longer with us.”
It can be an extremely difficult thing for a parent to explain life’s limits while looking into the bright eyes of someone whose life has barely begun, but as a parent there will come a time where you’ll be forced to do so if you haven’t yet volunteered. I still remember my father struggling to explain to me why my rabbit urinated on him before taking its last breath in his hands. There were tears and feelings of loss that a 7-year-old just couldn’t understand.
If you’re having trouble initiating the dreaded “all things die” talk, you have to try to see things from your child’s point of view. This talk can sound completely different depending on whether you’re addressing a 5-year-old or 15-year-old. Until children are about five or six their view of the world is very concrete. This probably explains why my co-workers mini moonwalker couldn’t associate the turtle’s ballooned legs with sickness at the very least, let alone death. Since children at this age are so literal, it’s important to avoid cute sayings that only make the parent more comfortable like “Grandma is sleeping for a long time,” which could result in your child developing anxiety issues with sleep. Children also have trouble grasping the finality of death and the fact that it occurs to all living things. To make the process easier, talk about death in a very physical way such as, “Grandma’s heart stopped working” or “Grandma is at the cemetery” instead of trying to break down intangible concepts of an afterlife.
You also may want to take a look at your own feelings and beliefs about death. It’s important that children learn the proper way to grieve through example. They shouldn’t be discouraged from crying or talking even if you still have issues with death yourself. As much as loved ones may have good intentions advising, “You have to be strong for your children,” it’s important for your children to see that it’s okay to be sad, resentful, angry, or mournful, but those feelings should be brought to the surface and dealt with in a healthy way instead of being hidden. You want to be a solid source of support for your children; find a balance between crumbling into pieces and being an emotionless brick wall. You’re a parent, but you’re only human and it’s healthy for your kids to see that.
Around the ages 6-10, children may develop natural fears about death associated with myths and stories they hear (i.e., the boogeyman and ghosts). It’s important to not feed into fears and give them honest, clear information about death. Instead of simply sending your child back to bed when they say the boogeyman’s in the closet, explore the closet with them and show them there’s nothing to be afraid of. Ask them what they think will happen if the boogeyman gets them so they have a chance to express any fears about pain and what death “feels” like.
Whether you’re starting out on your journey of marital bliss or just shacking up, living with another person can be quite a challenge. It takes some compromise and sacrifice and sometimes even a few hurt feelings before everything settles.
To avoid all of that, try out the following tips to living together in peace:
(Smart Money) — For Mary Cotter, the first sign of concern came when her 7-year-old, Logan, appeared dizzy. His regular doctor said everything was fine, but Cotter insisted Logan be seen by a neurologist, who after an MRI found a tumor in his inner ear. An operation followed, and for the next month Cotter took Logan on a four-hour round-trip trek every day from her home in Ledyard, Conn., to a specialty hospital in Boston for radiation therapy. The total bill for the tests, blood work, surgery and radiation came to $14,000 — not surprising in this age of sky-high medical costs. Except for one thing. Logan is a golden retriever. After another surgery for an unrelated illness, the total cost of Logan’s care is approaching $20,000. Today Logan is healthy, but he has a new nickname: “20K.”