Mourning The Loss Of A Dog and Why It Is So Hard

I have lost three dogs in my adult life, all of which were difficult to get through the grieving process. Even though all three dogs were very special and loved very much, there was something different about Lady Lacy Marie. I don’t know if it was because she was a girl when the others were all boys or if it was because she had been horribly abused prior to my adoption of her. Lacy’s loss weighed heavy on me and still does. This month is the two year anniversary of her passing and I thought it would be appropriate to write a blog about mourning the loss of a dog. When researching the subject, I found this wonderful article which says it all.

It can be harder to lose a dog than a relative or friend — here’s why

By Frank T. McAndrew, Cornelian H. Dudley Professor of Psychology, Knox College

The Conversation

Mar. 19, 2017, 11:10 AM

Republished by Business Insider

dog                   Matt Cardy/Getty Images

“Recently, my wife and I went through one of the more excruciating experiences of our lives – the euthanasia of our beloved dog, Murphy.

I remember making eye contact with Murphy moments before she took her last breath – she flashed me a look that was an endearing blend of confusion and the reassurance that everyone was ok because we were both by her side.

When people who have never had a dog see their dog-owning friends mourn the loss of a pet, they probably think it’s all a bit of an overreaction; after all, it’s “just a dog.”

However, those who have loved a dog know the truth: Your own pet is never “just a dog.”

Many times, I’ve had friends guiltily confide to me that they grieved more over the loss of a dog than over the loss of friends or relatives. Research has confirmed that for most people, the loss of a dog is, in almost every way, comparable to the loss of a human loved one.

Unfortunately, there’s little in our cultural playbook – no grief rituals, no obituary in the local newspaper, no religious service – to help us get through the loss of a pet, which can make us feel more than a bit embarrassed to show too much public grief over our dead dogs.

Perhaps if people realized just how strong and intense the bond is between people and their dogs, such grief would become more widely accepted. This would greatly help dog owners to integrate the death into their lives and help them move forward.

An interspecies bond like no other

What is it about dogs, exactly, that make humans bond so closely with them?

For starters, dogs have had to adapt to living with humans over the past 10,000 years. And they’ve done it very well: They’re the only animal to have evolved specifically to be our companions and friends. Anthropologist Brian Hare has developed the “Domestication Hypothesis” to explain how dogs morphed from their grey wolf ancestors into the socially skilled animals that we now interact with in very much the same way as we interact with other people.

Perhaps one reason our relationships with dogs can be even more satisfying than our human relationships is that dogs provide us with such unconditional, uncritical positive feedback. (As the old saying goes, “May I become the kind of person that my dog thinks I already am.”)

A woman and her dogMary Turner/Getty Images

This is no accident. They have been selectively bred through generations to pay attention to people, and MRI scans show that dog brains respond to praise from their owners just as strongly as they do to food (and for some dogs, praise is an even more effective incentive than food). Dogs recognize people and can learn to interpret human emotional states from facial expression alone. Scientific studies also indicate that dogs can understand human intentions, try to help their owners and even avoid people who don’t cooperate with their owners or treat them well.

Not surprisingly, humans respond positively to such unrequited affection, assistance and loyalty. Just looking at dogs can make people smile. Dog owners score higher on measures of well-being and they are happier, on average, than people who own cats or no pets at all.

Like a member of the family

Our strong attachment to dogs was subtly revealed in a recent study of “misnaming.” Misnaming happens when you call someone by the wrong name, like when parents mistakenly calls one of their kids by a sibling’s name. It turns out that the name of the family dog also gets confused with human family members, indicating that the dog’s name is being pulled from the same cognitive pool that contains other members of the family. (Curiously, the same thing rarely happens with cat names.)

It’s no wonder dog owners miss them so much when they’re gone.

Psychologist Julie Axelrod has pointed out that the loss of a dog is so painful because owners aren’t just losing the pet. It could mean the loss of a source of unconditional love, a primary companion who provides security and comfort, and maybe even a protégé that’s been mentored like a child.

The loss of a dog can also seriously disrupt an owner’s daily routine more profoundly than the loss of most friends and relatives. For owners, their daily schedules – even their vacation plans – can revolve around the needs of their pets. Changes in lifestyle and routine are some of the primary sources of stress.

According to a recent survey, many bereaved pet owners will even mistakenly interpret ambiguous sights and sounds as the movements, pants and whimpers of the deceased pet. This is most likely to happen shortly after the death of the pet, especially among owners who had very high levels of attachment to their pets.

While the death of a dog is horrible, dog owners have become so accustomed to the reassuring and nonjudgmental presence of their canine companions that, more often than not, they’ll eventually get a new one.

So yes, I miss my dog. But I’m sure that I’ll be putting myself through this ordeal again in the years to come.”

In our next blog we will offer ways to help dog parents and dog lovers through the grieving process.

 

 

Introducing Our New Breeders Program!

Are you a breeder and would you love to see you business grow as fast as your puppies grow? Gem Lady Treasures would love to help you do just that!

As a breeder you have a most unique position, a position that other businesses don’t have. You do not sell puppies, you give families the opportunity to grow their family. Society has changed over the past twenty years. Dogs are no longer possessions; they are four-legged kids – fur babies!

According to an article written for Bloomberg Business Week by Ben Crair on August 18, 2015, he stated, “The U.S. pet industry has more than tripled over the past 20 years.” In an article for Consumer Affairs on August 15, 2016, Sarah D. Young wrote, “Americans spent upwards of $60 billion on pet products last year, and that number is expected to climb by $2 billion this year.” As a breeder I am sure you have felt this change. The question is, are you taking advantage of this boom in the industry?

How can you enhance your buyers experience? How can you create a relationship with your clients to build a repeat business? How can you encourage your clients to refer you to others? This is where Gem Lady Treasures comes in.

I spoke with a Dog Mom who received a unique collar when she purchased her dog from a breeder. She told me that even though her dog has outgrown the collar, she has kept it because it carries such wonderful memories for her; not only of the adoption, but the breeder as well. Another Dog Mom told me that she received a special dog collar from the breeder of her dog as a first birthday gift. She was absolutely thrilled to receive such a wonderful and unexpected gift. In addition to her dog being remembered by the breeder, it bonded her more to the breeder. She also said that she has sent other families to that breeder.

As a member of the Gem Lady Treasures Breeder Program, we will work with you in selecting natural gemstones and a design that would be specific only to you. Another option would be to create natural gemstone dog collars using the stone of the puppies birth month or adoption month. The dog collars would then either be a gift to the puppies family at the time of adoption, or as a first birthday gift. This gift is what is going to bond your customer to you just as your puppy is going to bond to their new family.

Business today is all about building relationships with our customers. Building a strong connection with your clients is smart business, doing so with natural gemstone dog collars is a creative way to grow your business.

Please contact me at gemladytreasures@gmail.com so we can discuss in depth how the Gem Lady Treasures Breeder Program can help you create that special bond and wonderful memories with your clients, as well as grow your business!

 

The Humanization Trend of Dogs

Do you actually LIKE being woken up to a cold nose in the morning?

Do you home cook meals or bake treats for your dog(s)?

Do you refer to your dog(s) as fur babies?

Do you purchase coats, sweaters, dresses, or outfits for your dog(s)?

Do you have more pictures of your dog(s) on your phone than family?

If you answered YES to any or all of these questions, then I have news for you, you are a Crazy Dog Person, and you are not alone! Announced by the 2015-2016 American Pet Products Association survey, 54.4 million households in America – 44% – own atleast one dog.

Young families are waiting longer to have children and instead are adopting dogs, hence Fur Babies!

In an article written by Roberto A. Ferdman, he says that “it could just be a coincidence that Americans are birthing fewer babies at the same time as they’re buying a lot more … dogs. But there’s pretty good reason to believe it isn’t, Damian Shore, an analyst at market-research firm Euromonitor, told Quartz. ‘There’s definitely some replacement happening there,’ he said.”

“One telling sign that the two are not entirely unrelated is that the same age groups that are forgoing motherhood are leading the dog charge. ‘Women are not only having fewer children, but are also getting married later. There are more single and unmarried women in their late 20s and early 30s, which also happens to be the demographic that buys the most dogs,’ Shore said.”

“There’s also evidence people are treating their dogs a bit more like little humans these days. Premium dog food, the most expensive kind, has grown by 170% over the past 15 years, and now accounts for 57% of the overall dog food market.”

According to an article written for Bloomberg Business Week by Ben Crair on August 18, 2015, he stated that “family sizes are shrinking, pet owners no longer treat their animals as property but as children, pampering them with products and services that would have once seemed ridiculous: bottled water, gluten-free kibble, doggy diapers, designer beds. The ‘humanization’ trend has benefited more than just animals. The U.S. pet industry has more than tripled over the past 20 years and pet care was one of the few retail industries to grow during the Great Recession.”

According to an article in Consumer Affairs by Sarah D. Young on August 15, 2016, “Americans spent upwards of $60 billion on pet products last year, and that number is expected to climb by $2 billion this year.”

Ms. Young continues by saying that “dropping dough isn’t the only way we show love to our favorite felines and prized pooches. A pet parent’s love can often be seen in what they would be willing to do for their dog or cat.”

The website Adobo.com  recently set out to see just how far pet owners would go for their pets. In a survey, 2,000 dog and cat owners were asked what they would sacrifice for their pet’s health and happiness. As it turns out, the better question might have been, ‘What wouldn’t a pet owner do for their pet?’

The results of the survey showed that pet parents would do just about anything for their cat or dog, even if it meant giving up a big part of their life. Sixty-three percent of participants said they would choose their pet over a significant other. What else would pet parents be willing to give up for their pets? Here are some more interesting findings from Adobo’s infographic:

89% would save their pet in a fire over a priceless family heirloom

85% would starve for a day so their pet could eat

78% would give up their favorite food if it meant their pet could live forever

58% would rather keep their pet and live in a shack than give up their pet for their dream home

54% would lose a finger so their pet could keep a limb

Pets are furry bundles of love and loyalty, and pet parents want nothing more than to return some of that devotion.

I personally have always treated my dogs as fur babies. For those that say they are dogs not kids, I can unequivocally state that like children; I provide my kids with a roof over their head, food in their belly’s, and a comfy bed to sleep in. I teach them right from wrong, I take care of their health needs, and most of all, I give them all the love that I have.

I am a Dog Mom and proud of it!

 

 

 

Gem Dogs Have Arrived at Gem Lady Treasures!

I am so very excited about our new handmade gemstone pendant necklaces ~ Gem Dogs! In case you haven’t noticed, Gem Lady Treasures logo was the very first Gem Dog. We now have a fabulous selection of ‘real’ Gem Dogs that are just waiting to be adopted!

Gem Dogs are made from a natural gemstone cabochon. The head, ears, eyes, nose, feet, and tail were created by hand manipulating wire. The eyes are accented with faceted Swarovski crystals and their noses each have a Swarovski black pearl. Each Gem Dog hangs from a black vegetable dyed leather cord.

These whimsical Gem Dog pendant necklaces are adorable and perfect for any dog lover. Gem Dogs are very well behaved, good on a leash, house broken, current on their shots, and rides well in a car. They are looking for good ‘furever’ homes ~ how about yours? We really loved creating them and just know they will make someone a wonderful friend!

Turquoise Gem Dog
Turquoise Gem Dog
Dalmatian Jasper Gem Dog
Dalmatian Jasper Gem Dog
Serpentine Gem Dog
Serpentine Gem Dog

 

 

 

 

 

Purple Creek Jasper Gem Dog
Purple Creek Jasper Gem Dog
Serpentine Gem Dog
Serpentine Gem Dog
Dragon's Blood Jasper Gem Dog
Dragon’s Blood Jasper Gem Dog

What You Wanted To Know About Gemstones But Were Afraid To Ask: All About Color!

There is so much information available for those who want to learn about diamonds, but not a lot about colored diamonds and colored gemstones. Did you know that a round brilliant cut white (clear) diamond is graded differently than a round brilliant cut colored diamond? When looking at diamonds for the purpose of buying, the Four C’s (Clarity, Cut, Color, and Carat) come into play. The most important ‘C’ depends upon the person looking at the diamond, what they like to see in a diamond. When it comes to a colored diamond, the most important ‘C’ is color, color is everything!

When a cutter is given a rough white diamond, it is carefully looked at to determine what shape it should be cut into, to save as much weight of the material as possible. When a colored diamond is cut, bringing out the color is the ultimate goal, even if it comes to forfeiting some weight to achieve that goal. Cutting colored gemstones is the same as cutting colored diamonds, sacrifices will be made to achieve the best color possible.

When scientists and gemologists look at color, they view it with three things in mind; hue, tone and saturation. Hue is the first impression of an objects basic color. Tone is the degree of lightness or darkness of a color, and Saturation is the intensity or strength of the color. In the fine jewelry industry, color quality and gem value are inseparable. Each gemstone is given a color range that is acceptable. For example the green color range for an emerald and the green color range for a peridot will be completely different due to the chemical makeup of the gemstone. Without going into all the detailed science behind colored gemstones, color in a gemstone is determined by what chemical(s) was introduced to the crystal when it was growing. Nitrogen will cause a diamond to be yellow, but not a sapphire to be yellow, that would be iron.

This is just a highlight on the intense subject of color. I didn’t even get into the complicated subject of color treatments. What matters to you, the consumer, is what YOU are looking for in a colored gemstone ~ buy what you like. Even though I am aware that the highest color value in a tanzanite is a deep purplish-blue, I purchased a pair of pale violet-blue tanzanite’s to accent an aquamarine I have. The more vivid color would have been to harsh next to the sea blue of the aquamarine.

Hopefully this will help you begin to understand why prices on colored gemstones are all over the place. If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line or you can check out http://www.gia.edu/gem-encyclopedia. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is world-renown for it’s education and research in the field of gemology.

Colored Gemstones
Colored Gemstones

And The Transition Begins!

On Monday I started my new job. When I left for work Nathan had no idea that this was about to become a daily habit. When I returned home, he was very happy that Mommy was home! I noticed that he had napped in bed all day and that he had re-arranged all six pillows.

The second day he hesitated in taking his ‘cookie’ when I left for work. Again when I returned home he was very excited and yes, more pillows had been re-arranged to his liking.

On the third day, it was all I could do to get him to take his ‘cookie’ when I left for work, only to find when I got home that he had not eaten it all day long. His way of letting me know that he is not happy with this new schedule. The re-arrangement of pillows has now become a daily routine. I have a feeling that he is no longer arranging the pillows for his comfort, but as a way to deal with his frustration that Mommy wasn’t home.

I will admit that Nathan is not the only one dealing with separation anxiety. It is so hard to leave those big, brown, beautiful and adoring eyes! Like all parents do, I have taken a picture of him to work and it is sitting on my desk. The cute one of him sticking his head out of the sunroof the day I adopted him. It brings a smile to my face by just looking at it and remembering that special day. I just wish a picture of me would help him through the day.

Nathan's Adoption Day
Nathan’s Adoption Day

Two more days of this and the weekend will be here. I can all ready tell you that the two of us will be spending both days, all day, together, as it should be!