Sure, “Good Grief” is Charlie Brown’s famous, exasperated expression. I’ve certainly shouted it many times over the years after people or events left me just shaking my head in disgust. Or after I’ve tripped over my dog or cat staring intently at the refrigerator or the oven, seemingly in a trance. “Good Grief,” why do inanimate household appliances seem so fascinating to our pets?
Grief itself is a process, and one that I know well. I lost my brother in an accident and my previous, very young husband to cancer. Having worked in the Twin Towers on 9-11, I lost friends and colleagues. Like many folks, I’ve also lost both parents, and of the five pets I’ve adopted in the last 15 years, only one remains.
The actions we decisively take during the grieving process — which can last months, years, or a lifetime — can be cathartic, and help us sort through our sadness and other emotions.
After my too-young husband died, I attended a grief support group where we tackled the difficult issues head on. At one point, we made decorative Christmas tree ornaments using our photographs. I’m not a crafty person, per se, and after the project was done, I still hurt like hell, but I actually felt some relief. Every little bit helped. I was grieving but growing as a person, and plowing through it all.
In attending the recent 2017 BlogPaws Conference, I had the pleasure of meeting Wanda Kruse, aka @MaggieTKat (link to her site provided: Life Through Science by Maggie T Kat), and thanks to her, once more I found “Good Grief.” It turns out that the BlogPaws folks, with Wanda’s help, traditionally enable attendees to draw, create and display Honor Flags, following the Tibetan custom of displaying Prayer Flags. These Honor Flags help us remember our dear pet companions who are no longer with us. (More info on Honor Flags/Wanda/BlogPaws here at their site .)
I’d never heard of prayer flags and was only mildly intrigued at first. But despite my lack of artistic ability (I’ll stick to writing any day, thanks), and thanks to having a very nice dinner conversation with Wanda at the conference one night, I decided I’d create my own Honor Flag. I’m so glad I did it for my “Buddy Luv.” And for me. We both earned it.
I had plenty of inspiration thanks to Buddy.
I picked his colors — a burnt orange, snow white, and piercing sea-foam green for his eyes — and just let it flow… that is, the flag, the smiles, and oh yes, the tears.
Many hugs with Wanda ensued. People like her restore my faith in humanity. God knows we don’t see enough of it these days. Like she said, the act of creating the flags and joining with others who are also experiencing loss can help us all heal, if even just a bit.
I’ll take it.
Here’s the Honor Flags in progress, at the 2017 BlogPaws Conference.
My gratitude to Wanda Kruse, and to the BlogPaws folks for continuing this tradition. I know the more we continue to love our families and our pets, that the more we will ultimately grieve. But I feel taking that chance is well worth it.
Dogs on Deployment is a wonderful, non-profit, 501(c)3 organization for whom I am Chief Editor of their Military Tails blog (click for link). I’m going to give them a shout out every opportunity I can so as to spread awareness of their important mission.
Support our troops by boarding their pets! That’s dogs, cats, etc.!
What is it about the power of the paw that can unite a group of strangers? I found out at the 2017 BlogPaws Conference.
For anyone who may not know – and that included me until not that long ago – BlogPaws (YES – one word!) represents a social learning community of people who share a passion for pets and charitable pet causes, and who utilize blogs and social media to connect, communicate, and educate others. (You can check out the BlogPaws official mission statement and more on their website.)
As the Chief Editor for the Dogs on Deployment Military Tails blog, (check it out!) I attended the BlogPaws conference to represent my non-profit organization.
Since I had previously traveled on business and attended other conferences, here are 5 things I expected to find en route/at this conference:
- Friendly, courteous hotel staff at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach, SC – check.
- Less than friendly, but trying to be courteous airport staff – check.
- A super comfy bed at the Sheraton – all to myself (sure, sure, I missed my hubby and the dog in the bed too, but come on) – check.
- Unpacking my luggage to find dog hair on my freshly pressed clothes – check.
- People who enjoyed talking about their pets or pet-related causes/blogging about their own/their pets’ experiences – check.
Well, here are 5 more things I was not necessarily expecting to find en route to/at the BlogPaws conference:
- Running into very enthusiastic fellow pet lovers/bloggers heading towards the same conference, all covered in various pet hair, while still at the airport, en route – check.
- Receiving my official “I Pet a Therapy Rat” pin, since, well I did – check.
- Being upstaged at dinner in the grand ballroom by a cat dressed in haute couture – check.
- Receiving an enormous bag of swag that Lucy, my Jack Russell Terrier will be boasting to her pals about at the dog-park (Actually we had that mother-daughter talk, and Lucy graciously agreed to donate most of the goods to a local shelter. You can see her delight in this decision in the pic I’ve posted above) – check.
- Meeting hundreds of people who enjoyed blogging/talking about their pets, pets’ experiences, pet-related causes, non-profits (like Dogs on Deployment), innovative / wholesome / savvy / nutritious-delicious / fun / educational pet products and services – check and double check.
At the BlogPaws conference I met people from WA to ID to NY (yay, NY, my home town!), who represented different educational backgrounds, career interests, political parties, cultures and ideologies, but all of whom agreed that they connected deeply with animals and loved them in one way, shape or form. Whether they shared their pet’s daily adventures via a massive social media following, presented cutting-edge technologies and services that are revolutionizing the way we interact with and care for our pets, or enlightened us on the important work of animal rescue and rehab groups all across the U.S., every unique individual brought something to the table to be shared and appreciated.
We were all better served for having attended the BlogPaws conference. Many people didn’t know about Dogs on Deployment, for example, and how we help active duty military families remain together with their pets. I was fortunate enough to meet several vendors who are eager to hear more about this important cause and get on board somehow. I was also lucky enough to meet many attendees who will turn into advocates, partners, colleagues and I hope, friends.
Last but certainly not least, I found “Good Grief,” thanks to Wanda Kruse, aka @MaggieTKat. More on that in my next post.
This proud pet owner, animal advocate and dog-hair covered writer is so pleased to have been at this valuable conference. All that I’ve taken away from it I will in turn give back to my furry friends in the hopes of improving more lives.
Power to the paw-ple, I say.
While it is the general consensus that we’ve got it good here, and we love you (that’d be both cats and the dog — me, Lucy) there are a few things under review. In case you weren’t aware, yes we pets do meet together in solidarity. Here I am at our last business meeting, taking minutes.
We are bewildered. Periodically, it seems to upset you to no end to find mysterious, nasty, sometimes unidentifiable piles of “stuff” we leave behind the house and on our property. OK, so these piles range from bile, to vomit, to remnants of half-dead bugs, and at last, to about fifty shades of poop. Collectively, we all think this is pretty cool, but you do not. To that we say, shit happens, get over it.
Second item, regarding cleanliness and your endless quest to have us all groomed properly. We find your efforts really sweet and rather amusing. Really, you must have noticed the places where we lick ourselves. And our breath? All right, yes we all have exceptionally bad breath, but if it doesn’t phase us why does it bother you so? Probably best to just leave us be.
Lastly, and this item is just from me, Lucy the dog. I’ll pause here to again remind you of how incredibly cute I am.
To the question you always ask “Does Lucy want a cookie?” I say, don’t get me wrong, I love me some Milk bones. They are one fine snack treat!! But… as a maniacal (Parson) Jack Russell Terrier, my energy and anxiety level exhausts me, and so sometimes after a long day of being me, I would prefer that you consider asking me instead, “Does Lucy want a flame-broiled burger, medium rare?”
We hope you will give careful consideration to our suggestions and demands. But if not, well admittedly, it’s not like we could really do anything about it. We send you our appreciation and…
Much Love, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY from the Pets
Happy Mother’s Day One and All, from Lucy’s Mom