Category Archives: dogs and mourning

Mourning a pet isn’t what it used to be

The role of pets has changed a lot in the last 20 or so years.  This change is also reflected in how people mourn when a pet dies.  This column, by Monica Collins of The Boston Globe, discusses how mourning for a lost pet is recognized as genuine grief.  Well worth reading (just click on the link below)

Mourning a pet isn’t what it used to be – Lifestyle – The Boston Globe

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Hachi: a tale of loyalty for the holidays

One of the good things about the Christmas holidays is that there are more family-friendly movies on television.  Last night, I was able to watch Hachi:  A Dog’s Tale for the first time.

This movie, starring Richard Gere, was released in 2009 but didn’t make it to movie theaters in many countries including the USA, as I understand it.

Hachi_poster

Gere plays a professor who finds Hachi, the Akita pup, on the train platform one night.   The puppy had been in transit to an unknown location and the tag was torn off his cage.

There is an instant attraction, and Gere’s wife comes around to the fact that the dog and her husband are good for one another.  Hachi begins to follow the professor to the train station each day, returning in the late afternoon to meet him for the return trip home.  When the professor dies suddenly at work one day from a heart attack, Hachi continues his daily trips to the train station.

The loyal dog does this every day for over 10 years, and in the process becomes something of a local celebrity.

At the end of the film, we learn that the real Hachikō was born in Ōdate (Japan) in 1923. After the death of his professor/owner in 1925, Hachikō returned to the Shibuya train station the next day and every day after that for the next nine years before passing away in March 1934.   His loyalty has been commemorated with a statue at the station.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film and recommend it for hiring on DVD.

And wherever you are these holidays, I hope that you are enjoying the company and loyalty of your dogs.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

 

Memories and moving on

This is my first Christmas and holiday season without Daisy and, although I now have Izzy to nurture and care for, there are many memories I have of summer days and holidays with my special girl.

In my garden are now two daisy plants given to me by customers in the days following Daisy’s loss.  On sunny days like today, the daisies are in full bloom:

Daisy's daisies

And then it is clear that people are noticing that the addition of Izzy has changed things.  I received a lovely note in my P O Box from the ladies at the Papanui Post Shop.  It reads:

“Just a short note to say hello!  It’s good to see you smiling.  Daisy was such a kindred spirit, even though we didn’t see her much.  I’m sure she was just as gentle and lovely like you.  Kind regards, Faye and Karen (Papanui Post)

Izzy and Christmas trees are not compatible at this stage in her life; but I’m sure we will find a way of celebrating our first Christmas together.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

A tribute to Gomer

I have just finished reading musician Rick Springfield’s memoir entitled Late, Late at Night.  I was a fan during my high school years, had his poster on my wall, and I believe I was even a member of his official fan club.  I also remember going to see him in concert (twice).

What I discovered in this book is that Springfield is also a dog person.  Imagine that – even when much younger – I was attracted to people who liked dogs.  There are many comments in Springfield’s memoir about the role of dogs in his early family life and through his career (you might remember that his dog Ron featured on several album covers).

Dogs acted as a source of inspiration and consistency in a life where depression was also a key player.

In January 2010, Springfield’s dog Gomer passed away.  He and his people compiled a bunch of photos of the beloved dog in this tribute on YouTube.  Dog people will ‘get’ this – the need to share and show how great our dog was and how much we miss them.

Having lost Daisy so recently, this tribute really resonated with me.  I hope you enjoy it.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Goodbye, friend

Goodbye, friend
With Daisy’s passing, it is probably not surprising that I reached for a book on grief and – more specifically – a book about grief over the loss of a pet.

I purchased this book in 2013, but when I started to read it then, it didn’t feel right.  Although aging, Daisy was still in good health and I felt like I was somehow ‘jumping the gun.’  The book went to the bottom of my ‘to read’ pile until last week when I found myself at loose ends in my empty house.

One of the biggest things about loss of a pet is, although deep down we know that our dog has a short lifespan, there is nothing that can prepare you for the emotional tidal wave that comes on the day of your dog’s death.  So, having a book to turn to for guidance is useful.

This book is written in simple terms, with some historic references to cultures and how they view death, dying and the role of pets.  It discusses the decision we face when euthanizing a sick pet, how to deal with children’s grief, understanding the need to care for yourself when grieving, and deciding when it is right to take steps that allow you to move on.

Since Kowalski is a clergyman, he has used his background to prepare a section on readings and poems that can be used in a memorial service for a lost pet.

I’m glad I had this book handy for when I had to suddenly face the loss of Daisy and, based on my experience, I would recommend to all my readers to have a book about pet grief in your ‘tool box’ for when you have to face the sad occasion of saying goodbye.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Wordless Wednesday, part 43

Daisy's Urn and BedBlog Hop

In mourning

It is with a very heavy heart that I announce the passing of my beloved Daisy on the 26th of July.  As any dog lover will know, one of the hardest things about having a dog in your life is knowing that they do not live as long as we do and many of us will face the decision to let them pass in peace and without pain.

Daisy was 14 years, 17 days old.    Although slowing down, she always showed in an interest in twice-daily walks until about a month ago, when one afternoon she looked up at me to say “I’ve been to the toilet, now I just want to go home and rest.”  We have had more days like that – sporadically – until about the last week when once daily walks were enough for her.  After her last acupuncture treatment on Wednesday afternoon, she was very happy and energetic – walking longer and at a quicker pace than the last few weeks.

That was to be our last walk together.

One of the things that is an owner’s responsibility and duty is to manage quality of life.  In Daisy’s case, she had the look in her eye that many people describe – it told me “I’ve had enough.”

As part of my grieving process, and in tribute to my dear Daisy, here are a few photos of her life.  We were together for 10 years and 7 months – and I wish I had them to do all over again.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

This is one of the first photos I took of Daisy, shortly after adopting her.

This is one of the first photos I took of Daisy, shortly after adopting her

Daisy 'upgraded' to a red collar and I love this photo because it gave a better perspective to her size and conformation

Daisy ‘upgraded’ to a red collar and I love this photo because it gave a better perspective to her size and conformation

 

In 2004, Daisy allowed me to dress her in a Boston Red Sox sweatshirt to celebrate their World Series win

In 2004, Daisy allowed me to dress her in a Boston Red Sox sweatshirt to celebrate their World Series win

 

In April 2008, Daisy helped to pose in the garden to show off some new landscaping

In April 2008, Daisy helped to pose in the garden to show off some new landscaping

 

In April 2008, we celebrated Daisy's 8th birthday a wee bit in advance as part of launching Canine Catering

In April 2008, we celebrated Daisy’s 8th birthday a wee bit in advance as part of launching Canine Catering

 

In February 2011, following our big earthquake, Daisy revealed that she was suffering from arthritis in her hips and spine.  Swimming became a fortnightly activity from then on

In February 2011, following our big earthquake, Daisy revealed that she was suffering from arthritis in her hips and spine. Swimming became a fortnightly activity from then on

Daisy loved food and treats; here she enjoys a Busy Bone whilst visiting with her Uncle Guy in 2012

Daisy loved food and treats; here she enjoys a Busy Bone whilst visiting with her Uncle Guy in 2012

On her 13th birthday, I took Daisy for an off-lead walk at The Groynes as a special treat

On her 13th birthday, I took Daisy for an off-lead walk at The Groynes as a special treat

We celebrated our 10th anniversary together by taking a trip to Ruby Bay.  Daisy was so happy during our 5 days there.

We celebrated our 10th anniversary together by taking a trip to Ruby Bay. Daisy was so happy during our 5 days there.

My last photos of Daisy were taken on July 12th as part of a photo shoot for the business

My last photos of Daisy were taken on July 12th as part of a photo shoot for the business