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Posts Tagged ‘death’

10/26/2008 by wendtworth

By Sharon L. Peters

COLORADO SPRINGS — When Nancy Leader learned a few weeks ago the cancer she successfully fought two decades ago now has invaded her liver and is regarded as terminal, she began systematically working through her most heartfelt responsibilities..

She has spoken with her sons and grandchildren, assuring each she’s not afraid, that her faith is a cloak of comfort. While it’s still possible, she has tackled every matter she can tend to in order to reduce loose ends for her husband. And she has made arrangements for her beloved cats, Mollee and Rocky.

“They’re my cats, always have been,” she says, “and it would not be fair to my husband, who’s really not a cat person, to have to deal with them.”

Leader and the cats have met with volunteers from Safe Place, a non-profit that has found homes for more than 400 pets for terminally ill people in southern Colorado. And when Leader believes the time is right — “when I can no longer care for them” — Mollee and Rocky will be placed into a carefully selected home similar to the one they’ve always known.

“It cushions things a bit,” Leader says, knowing the cats will be loved after she’s gone.

Non-profit programs such as Safe Place are quietly sprouting all over the country to ensure that critically or terminally ill people have one less stressor.

“Most people regard their pets as an important part of the family,” says Safe Place founder Joanne Bonicelli. “The peace of mind of knowing that this animal will be cared for is very significant.”

Some ill people have few relationships and therefore no alternative-care option for their animals; for various reasons, sometimes even those with many friends and relatives can’t place their cat or dog with them when the time comes, Bonicelli says.

People who ask for Safe Place assistance, which is provided without charge, dictate the timing of pet relinquishment. Some, particularly those who have been in declining health and haven’t been able to give proper care and attention to their animals, turn them over months before the final days arrive. Others keep their pets with them until hours before they die.

Peace of mind goes a long way

Although the group puts adopters through rigorous screening, it has never been unable to find a pet a home after temporary placement with a foster-care volunteer.

“We place animals with the same tenacity we would employ if we were placing children,” Bonicelli says. “Our mission brings a different kind of adopter forward. Many people, we’ve discovered, want to provide homes for pets of the terminally ill. It’s almost a public service for them.”

In Tulsa, the Pet Peace of Mind program of Hospice of Green Country provides a range of services to its clients, from transportation to and payment for vet care or grooming to buying food, medication or cat litter.

“We do the part or parts the hospice clients can’t do. Sometimes that’s a little, and sometimes that’s a lot,” says veterinarian-turned-hospice chaplain Delana Taylor McNac, who started the program in July with money from an anonymous donor.

“We’ve had people weep for what we can do. Sometimes the only one who’s rallied around the person during illness is the pet.”

All too often, she says, terminally ill patients give up their pets because they can’t afford pet food or vet care, and in many cases, this has “triggered a rapid decline” in people. Conversely, when they can keep their animals and the stress of paying for decent pet food or medications has been removed, “they are more content, more at ease with the process they are going through.”

Most of the 50 Pet Peace of Mind clients already have made arrangements with friends or family to take their pets after they die. When they haven’t, Taylor McNac works with local rescue groups to find homes, “and they say this is a great comfort to them.”

“Many patients aren’t afraid to die,” Bonicelli says. “They’re afraid of unfinished business, and the care after they’re gone of their pets can be a very large piece of unfinished business.”

Food and vet care also needed

Some of the growing number of pet-care non-profits serve not only the terminally ill but also those on low incomes who are disabled, chronically ill, HIV/AIDS symptomatic or elderly. P.A.L.S. (Pets Are Loving Support) Atlanta is one of them.

“When people become ill or disabled or homebound for any reason, the animal is sometimes the one thing that gets them out of bed in the morning,” says Kevin Bryant, P.A.L.S. Atlanta operation director.

The group delivers free pet food and cat litter and pays for annual vet visit and shots. The assistance often is the tipping point that allows a person to keep a pet, Bryant says. In many cases, it gives people who were skipping meals or medicine to feed their animals the little boost necessary to take better care of themselves.

Bryant tells of one elderly client who used to pass up doctor visits to feed her beloved dachshund mix. Now she gets regular dog food deliveries. “It’s like you’re breathing air into her lungs when you arrive with that food. That little extra support makes a world of difference to her life.”

PETS PROVIDE MUCH COMFORT

Wendt Worth Corgis Goes To School

Wendt Worth Corgis visits local kids at school to teach responsible ownership and the joys of owning a dog.


Scores of studies have shown physical and emotional benefits come to ill or aging people who have contact with animals. Experts cite several, including:

• Petting a dog has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure.

• Pets in nursing homes boost moods, heighten alertness and enhance social interactions.

• Dog owners require less medical care for stress-related aches and pains than people without dogs.

• Heart patients owning pets are significantly more likely to be alive a year after hospital discharge than those without pets.

• Ill people with regular animal contact report fewer feelings of isolation.
USA Today article click here

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By Sharon L. Peters, Special for USA TODAY
A sugar substitute found in a variety of sugar-free and dietetic cookies, mints and chewing gum is proving highly toxic, even fatal, to snack-snatching dogs.

Xylitol, popular in Europe for decades but a relative newcomer to the U.S. alternative-sweeteners market, can be “very, very serious” to dogs when ingested, says Dana Farbman, spokeswoman for the Animal Poison Control Center of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

PET PROBLEMS: Recall affects 90 brands of pet food

“It doesn’t take a whole lot (of xylitol), and the effects are so rapid that the window of opportunity to treat the dog is extremely small,” Farbman says.

The ASPCA sent an advisory to veterinarians last August warning them about the potential for serious harm or death. Veterinarians have used a variety of means to get the word out, including posting signs in their offices and making copies of the bulletin for clients to augment the caution the ASPCA has posted on its website.

Concerned that millions of people are still unaware of the risk, veterinarians with forums for widespread public announcements are spreading the word that way as well. Among them: Miami veterinarian Patty Khuly wrote about the problem on her doolittler.com blog, and Colorado Springs veterinarian Anne Pierce devoted her entire weekly newspaper column a week ago to xylitol.

Within 30 minutes of consuming a small amount of a xylitol-sweetened product, the ASPCA says, dogs can experience a dramatic drop in blood sugar, and they usually begin vomiting, become lethargic and can have difficulty standing or walking. Some have seizures, develop internal hemorrhaging and lesions and suffer liver failure. As few as two or three sticks of xylitol gum could be toxic to a 20-pound dog, the ASPCA says.

Immediate and aggressive veterinary treatment, which includes glucose drips and IV fluids, has proved effective in many cases.

The ASPCA’s poison control unit is aware of 10 dog deaths from xylitol since 2002, and it has received scores of reports of dogs becoming gravely ill. But only a fraction of veterinarians and consumers alert the ASPCA when a dog becomes ill or dies from toxins, and there is no national clearinghouse tracking xylitol-suspected toxic reactions.

Moreover, it’s not always entirely clear what caused the problem when a dog arrives at a veterinarian’s office with seizures or liver failure. “I suspect that there are more cases than we know about because they come in with liver failure, and the owner is not aware of what has been ingested,” Pierce says.

She believes that xylitol ingestion is “an emerging problem” and that the number of cases probably will increase with time, “depending on how widespread xylitol as a sweetener becomes.”

Xylitol is an all-natural sugar substitute derived from beets, birch tree bark, corncobs and other natural sources. It’s as sweet as sugar but has 40% fewer calories. Unlike sugar, xylitol does not require insulin to be metabolized.
Click here to read on and learn more of effects and products that carry Xylitol

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I got this article from a friend who didn’t know who wrote it but has some very true and valid points. Now I know it mentions insects and they are not animals but still there is some truth to it. Read w/an open mind and just get the message that is being sent.

Animals As Teachers

Since prehistoric times, animals have acted as companions to humans on
their journey toward enlightenment. Animals as disparate in character as
house pets, birds, sea creatures, and insects have been our mentors,
teachers, and guides. There is much we can learn from animals, as they
offer us the unique opportunity to transcend the human perspective.
Unlike human teachers, animals can only impart their wisdom by example,
and we learn from them by observation. An animal teacher can be a
beloved pet or an animal in the wild. You may even find yourself
noticing the animals in your backyard. Even robins and bumblebees have
lessons to share with you.

Animals teach us in a variety of ways about behavior, habit, and
instinct. House pets embody an unconditional love that remains unchanged
in the face of our shape, size, age, race, or gender. They care little
for the differences between us and them and simply enjoy loving and
being loved. Our pets encourage us to let our guards down, have fun, and
take advantage of every opportunity to enjoy life. You can also learn
lessons from the animals you encounter in the wild if you take the time
to observe their habits. Cold-blooded animals show us adaptability and
sensitivity to one’s environment. Mammals serve as examples of nurturing
and playfulness. Animals that live in oceans, lakes, and rivers
demonstrate the value of movement and grace. It is even possible to
learn from insects that live in highly structured communities that
everyone plays a vital role.

Animals teach us about life, death, survival, sacrifice, and
responsibility. If you find yourself drawn to a particular animal, ask
yourself which of its traits you find most intriguing and think about
how you might mimic those traits. Think of what you might learn from
observing the little bird on your windowsill or the mosquito buzzing
around a picnic table. Animals express themselves with abandon, freedom,
and integrity. It’s natural to be drawn to the wisdom offered by our
animal teachers, and in doing so, discover what is natural and true
within you.

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1. Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine

These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.

2. Alcohol
Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.

3. Avocado
The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Some ingestions may even be fatal.

4. Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies and candies. However, they can cause problems for your canine companion. These nuts have caused weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.

5. Grapes & Raisins
Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. In pets who already have certain health problems, signs may be more dramatic.

6. Yeast Dough
Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your pet’s digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. Because the risk diminishes after the dough is cooked and the yeast has fully risen, pets can have small bits of bread as treats. However, these treats should not constitute more than 5 percent to 10 percent of your pet’s daily caloric intake.

7. Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones
Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella [ital] and E. coli [ital] that can be harmful to pets. In addition, raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option that might occur if your pet lived in the wild. However, this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your pet’s digestive tract.

8. Xylitol
Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbancy and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.

9. Onions, Garlic, Chives
These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies. An occasional low dose, such as what might be found in pet foods or treats, likely will not cause a problem, but we recommend that you do NOT give your pets large quantities of these foods.

10. Milk
Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other milk-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset.

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