pet grief

Kangaroo’s Poignant Message about Guilt We Feel with Our Pets

 
Recently I talked with someone who was struggling with the guilt of having to put their pet to sleep. Then just this morning, I talked with someone whose older pet just had surgery for a ruptured disk in her neck. And the difficulty is that the pet owner needs to go away for a week in the next few days and the guilt has him full of worry.
 
Guilt can be such a tricky thing and can weigh on us like a ton of bricks. I completely understand this having been through it so often myself in various ways with my own pets.
 
After talking with my friend whose pet is coming home today, but then he must leave out of town soon, I’m happy to say I was able to provide him some comfort and be a reflection for him that he has covered all bases in making sure his dog will be in the best care while he is away.
 
After I got off the call I kept thinking about this more and wondering why it is we have such a difficult time with feeling guilty.
 
So I decided to turn to the Power Animal Wisdom Oracle card deck, as I often do, when I ponder my own challenging questions. It’s my hope that by sharing this and what the card that revealed itself had to say that it will help others facing this feeling of guilt that can oftentimes consume us.
 
So I asked this question: What do pet owners need to know about feeling guilty? The card I got was Kangaroo, which is about gratitude and being grateful for all you are blessed with.
 
Reading into this message further, thinking about my friend feeling guilty for having to leave his dog after surgery, Kangaroo confirms that gratitude, not guilt, will help us to ease our worries, which more than often those worries never come true.
 
Kangaroo reminds my friend how blessed he is to have someone he trusts, who his dog has stayed with many times before, and who has taken care of dogs before after surgery, and who will be looking after his dog. How blessed he is to have this person in his life.
 
Regarding having to put a pet to sleep – one of the most difficult, heartbreaking decisions we face when having a pet, is that we will likely have to say goodbye to them for their time here on earth is so much shorter than our own.
 
Kangaroo’s message of gratitude is so fitting for this because she is reminding us how very blessed we were to have had that love and joy in our life from out pets. We can’t have one without the other. This is the reality of loving a pet.
 
I truly believe with every fiber of my being, and the many teachings I’ve received from my own pets, that our animal friends don’t want us to carry this heavy burden of guilt. As I shared with my friend today, and something I’ve come to understand, is that he can still connect with his dog even when he will be away from her.
 
I shared with him that he just needs to talk to her in his mind, and she will feel that connection and love. She already knows he loves her and she does not want him to feel guilty.
 
Guilt causes worry and worry won’t change anything. And we worry because it feels like then we are in control and if we are control we feel like it assures us of a desired outcome. The reality though is that we aren’t in control. But we can be grateful for all that we are blessed with and give thanks for that -that is a choice that we always have.
 
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Joie Joins Frankie in the Garden Outside My Writing Cottage

Joie Joins Frankie in the Garden Outside My Writing Cottage

I only knew Joie (pronounced Joey) for ten months. But my breath still caught in my chest this morning when I opened the box that contained her ashes. Joie passed away four years ago today.

After scattering Frankie’s ashes on the fifth year of her passing on June 21st this year, I knew I’d want to do the same for Joie.

So much has transpired in my growth and understanding since those two wheelie dogs blessed my life. I’ve come to understand from Frankie that if we can see our challenges in a positive way, we can evolve and learn so much from them. From Joie, I came to understand that in transition there are blessings if we can find the courage and strength to open to them.

Their ashes from the physical beings while they graced this earth, while I loved more than anything to hug them, hold them, and kiss them, I understand now more than before that their spirit lives on forever. What I once shared with them of so much love and joy is still here.  All I have to do is sit in stillness and connect with them to feel that joy and love again that they brought to my life while they were here in physical form.

And the teachings…oh, the teachings they provided me. I feel so blessed for all I’ve learned from them. While we all learn the lessons of life in different ways, God knew for me that it would be the animals that would (and continue to!) help guide me. I still marvel at God’s work of creating all the animals!

So my dear Joie, I give you back to the earth, alongside Frankie, as you both now grace me with your presence in the wind, the sun, the rain, the blooming of flowers, and the ever transitioning of my gardens.

Thank you for being my friend. 

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On Letting Go and Expanding

On Letting Go and Expanding
photo: http://shroomer83.deviantart.com/

It’s been an interesting summer so far. I’ve been taking part in a 22-week online course called The Magic of You with transformational coach, Jocelyn Mercado which began mid-June.

In part, because I want to expand my reach and offer more of the SoulCollage workshops I facilitate, online. I’m also taking the course because I want to offer oracle card readings, incorporating the wisdom of animals, as a way to help guide others through life’s bigger questions. 

The hardest part for me, and what the course helped me greatly with, was deciding whether or not to let go of the name of my website, Joyful Paws.

As many of you know who have followed me since 2007, I’ve been gradually expanding from my work with my wheelchair dog, Frankie. And while I don’t believe I’m done writing books and there will be at least one more book I’ll write, I’ve decided to set writing in that capacity to the side for now.

When I sat with my feelings about letting go of Joyful Paws, I just couldn’t do it and honestly, I didn’t want to. But I was so torn because I really want to expand my reach and help more women live fulfilling and meaningful lives. Could I do that with the same domain name? While I’ve talked about this before on my blog, the course has really helped me to finally see that it is a part of me and always will be. That made my heart sing!

Joyful Paws, which began as an outlet to share my writing, which expanded to my books and my advocacy for dogs in wheelchairs, then expanded into my wanting to teach workshops. And for many years, I’ve also dreamed about offering oracle readings to others because of my love for them as a tool I use in my own life that has helped me greatly.

Joyful Paws….at the heart of the name is how my dogs taught me to appreciate so much about life…the simple things…that we only have this moment…that it’s our birthright to experience joy. All pauseful moments of reflection that I came to see as vital to living a meaningful life. In a world that glorifies hurry and material things, my dogs have, and continue to help me see what is truly important.

All those teachings expanded to really tuning into, and appreciating the healing energies of nature, observing other animals in the world, and exploring all the many parts of myself to step into the authenticity of who I am.

Joyful Paws is so much a part of who I am…which Jocelyn helped me to fully embrace and know that I didn’t need to let go. I realized I was resisting letting go of Joyful Paws in part because I didn’t want to buy into how things “should” be done in the world of how marketing can instruct us to do. And more than anything I wanted to trust my intuition.

And so it is…Joyful Paws will stay!

Which leads me to the other part of the story to this post today…

Last week, John and I took the plunge and bought a 2018 Chevrolet Exquinox. Well, we actually leased after weighing out all the options. Our GMC Envoy is seventeen years old and she treated us well. But it was time.

In preparing to sell the Envoy, I cleaned it out yesterday. I also knew I had to remove the website decals and the “in memory of” Frankie and Joie decals off the back which I saved until last. It was bittersweet.

The Envoy, for over five years, had become what I had dubbed as “The Frankie Mobile” when Frankie and I traveled to schools and libraries in Wisconsin sharing the message to “Always be positive, make a difference and keep on rolling!” We were also so fortunate to have a few local TV interviews, too.

As many of you also know, on June 21st, the five year of Frankie’s passing, I scattered her ashes around my writing cottage. I will do the same for Joie’s ashes on August 22nd – the day she passed four years ago.

Two things I’ve really come to understand: grief is something one always carries with them and it becomes a part of who you are. And there are moments when you are called to take another healing step in that journey. This is how it has been with expanding Joyful Paws from what it was, to what it now is, and what it will be as I continue to move forward.

And so it was with removing the decals off the back of my car. While the decals are gone, the memories of my dear wheelie dogs are not. They will always be a part of me – without them I wouldn’t be who I am today.

Just like Joyful Paws – it lights me up – it is so much of who I am – and always will be.

I took a photo before I removed the decals:

I removed most everything except for this:

It was my way of having a silent moment and quietly saying thank you once again to my wheelie dogs for all the joy they brought to my life before I finished peeling the rest away – a joy they gave me that remains – and always will.

In sharing the photos on Facebook, two ladies offered to make me new decals which I thought was very kind and sweet. Though I won’t be replacing them.

Another said it is “an end of an era.” While in one way, yes it is, I really view it as an expansion of an era. Because in my heart I believe I am carrying on the teachings of what my wheelie dogs taught me. 

And I couldn’t help but think as this all unfolded that the Envoy is seventeen years old and Frankie would have been seventeen on August 20th. And for the time I had her I had it stuck in my head that I wanted her to live to be seventeen. In an animal communication reading with her that my friend Dawn did the day before I helped Frankie cross over, Frankie shared with us that she felt seventeen.

Perhaps…just perhaps, this was confirmation from Frankie that buying this new car and letting go of the old was the right time.

And why Joyful Paws as my website will stay the same. And I finally feel very good about this decision.

And to add to the magic of the number seventeen I shared this with my friend Dawn recently who said that seven and one when added is eight, which turned on it’s side is the infinity sign.  

Infinity…which symbolizes eternity, empowerment, and everlasting love.

Now that gave me goosebumps!

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