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031518 SWB DIGITAL EDITION

12 x March 15 — April

12 x March 15 — April 4, 2018 x www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com Pets enhance our lives greatly. There is nothing better than coming home after a long day of work to the excited bark of a dog or the loud purr of a cat. Pets bring us joy, love, comfort and companionship. They become part of our families, but that also means making adjustments to fit them and their needs into our lives. Each pet has its own set of needs to live a comfortable, healthy, domesticated life. In Pet-Ticulars, you can find tips on providing a safe and happy home for your pet as well as when it’s time to say goodbye to your furry best friend. Ways to Cope With the Death of a Pet The loss of a pet can bring as much grief as the loss of some human friends and family members. This makes sense when you consider the role our animal companions play in our everyday lives. You cared for your pet’s every need, and because they could not speak, you learned to communicate in other ways. Such caring builds intimacy similar to that found between a parent and their infant — love without conflict, jealousy or any of the other complications found in most relationships. So when a pet dies, the depth of your grief reflects your loss of a special relationship. “When we lose a pet, we lose a relationship unlike any other,” said Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio, a family therapist and author of The Pet Loss Companion: Healing Advice From Family Therapists Who Lead Pet Loss Groups. “Many of us love our pets the way we love our children. But in the immediate aftermath of this unique loss, too often family members and friends say things like, ‘Just get another one.’ Instead of devaluing your grief over the loss of this important relationship, as others may advise, embrace your sorrow. Your grief is important, for it will lead you to healing and teach you important things about what matters most in life.” Family owned and operated since 1962, Browning’s Health Care provides high quality home medical equipment, custom wheelchairs, respiratory services, and specialty items that our community needs. One call gets it all Come visit us at our new location at 13000 W. Colonial Drive in Winter Garden or call us at 407-650-9585. www.brownings.net

www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com x March 15 — April 4, 2018 x 13 Dolan-Del Vecchio offers these tips for those grieving the loss of a pet: • Share your grief with empathetic friends. Spend time with people who understand your closeness with your pet. Even some friends may be insensitive, so be careful to avoid “get over it” types of people. “Unfortunately, many people see animals as if they were nonliving objects,” Dolan-Del Vecchio said. • Attend a pet loss support group. Pet loss groups provide a concentrated dose of social support. Meeting with others who also grieve and share similar emotions can boost one’s healing greatly. • Keep moving. Exercise is a healer. It boosts feelings of well-being and calm, improves sleep and brightens your mood. • Be creative. Whether you lean toward writing, scrapbooking, ceramics, photography or making collages, creative projects may contribute to healing. • Spend time in nature. Nothing quiets the mind and soul like a stroll through a park, nature preserve or by the seashore. “The natural world brings special benefits when your heart has been torn by grief,” Dolan-Del Vecchio said. “The sights, sounds and smells of nature connect us to eternal, circular stories of life and death in ways that go beyond our usual thoughts and feelings, and this experience brings solace to many people. “It’s important to care for yourself when you’re grieving your pet. This requires some planning and acts of will, as grief can diminish energy and motivation. You can lessen your distress through self-care. Above all else, be gentle with yourself.” (www.greengateleadership.com) Your Cat’s Scratch Has Met Its Match Ever since the day the first feline became a house cat, destructive cat scratching has plagued owners. All the affection and loving care owners shower upon their cats can feel like wasted energy when the thanks they get looks more like hatred: shredded furniture, carpets and curtains. It’s a normal human response to be angry or frustrated about damage inflicted by cats’ scratching, but equally normal is a cat’s need to scratch. Cat scratching is a behavior that fulfills both physical and emotional needs. Cats scratch to stretch their bodies, maintain their hunting and climbing skills, groom their claws and mark their territory, showing they’re in a safe space. However, these behaviors cats exhibit to establish a safe living space can be anything but pleasant for their human companions. This can lead frustrated owners to take drastic measures to modify behavior, but those decisions can be risky, especially when it comes to a permanent and potentially harmful practice like declawing. Many pet owners believe that declawing their cats is a harmless and quick fix for unwanted scratching, similar to trimming one’s nails. However, if a declawing procedure were performed on a human being, it would be like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle. “Not only does the practice cause pain, it removes an important selfdefense tool, and the surgery itself poses risks related to anesthesia and infection,” said Dr. Valarie V. Tynes, president of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, licensed veterinarian and veterinary services specialist at Ceva Animal Health. “All of this can lead to behavioral issues that may be worse than a shredded couch.” Declawing is an irreversible measure to address a normal behavioral issue in cats. Declawed cats may be less likely to use a litter box, more likely to bite, and the disruption of the natural scratching behavior can cause lasting physiological problems. That sentiment is echoed by national organizations such as the American Association for Feline CONTINUED ON PAGE 14 401 Main Street, Suite A, Windermere, FL Windermere Center for DENTISTRY Emilia M. Godoy-Rapport, D.M.D. Cosmetic and family dentistry www.windermeresmiles.com (407) 909-1097