Okay, there’s soy nog in the fridge so let the shopping begin!
Check out these adorable stocking stuffers from The Grey Muzzle Organization for your four-legged family members and friends.
One hundred percent of the $10 price goes to Grey Muzzle’s programs that aid homeless senior dogs. Grey Muzzle is a national nonprofit that funds nonprofit rescue organizations and shelters dedicated to aiding homeless and at-risk senior dogs. (I’m currently Grey Muzzle’s vice president.)
Here are the details. Last year, I ordered three and found the sizes to be right on:
“A handmade holiday kerchief custom-embroidered with dog’s name. Please allow us to pick a gender-appropriate holiday fabric. (If you have a special request, we may be able to accommodate). Available sizes: X-Small (Less than 12″ neck), small (12″-19″ neck, e.g. Rat Terrier), medium (20″-24″ neck, e.g. Australian Shepherd), large (25″ neck or larger, e.g. German Shepherd) The kerchiefs have long ties that can be cut to size. If you’re unsure, it’s usually better to order the smaller size.”
Visit Grey Muzzle’s online store here to order the custom bandanas and browse other great gifts. All proceeds go straight to senior dogs in need!
Serve it up, Snoopy! We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and hope you have a wonderful day! We’re thankful for our family and friends—both those who are here and those who watch over us now—we’re grateful for the comforts we’re lucky enough to enjoy, and we’re happy to partake in the fun traditions that help make this time of year special, like the recipe for a “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”!
This week we mark four years since Daley passed away. So in the midst of the festive spirit that builds at this time of year, there will be moments when, from the deepest part of my heart, I sigh.
To all who are mourning the loss of a best friend, my deepest sympathies are with you. Please be good to yourself as you make your way through grief and be sure to take time to memorialize your bond in whatever ways feel right to you.
In past years, I’ve attended an annual Service of Remembrance for companion animals at a church in Portland, Oregon and I felt very comforted in the company of well over 100 people as we listened to presentations on the grieving process and speakers reflected on their bond with their animals. At the end of the service, we all had a chance to light a candle in honor of our best friends.
The annual Service of Remembrance in Portland, put on by Dignified Pet Services and DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital’s Pet Loss Support Program, is set this year for December 9 at 7 p.m. The service is free to all and doors open at 6 p.m. Find details here.
Grief counselor Enid Traisman directs DoveLewis’s Pet Loss Support Program, which offers free grief support groups to the community, and writes “The DoveLewis Pet Loss Blog.”
Find DoveLewis’s directory of National Pet Loss Support Hotlines and resources here. And find a national directory of pet bereavement support groups here. Support groups are often free of charge.
Below are Traisman’s tips for people who are grieving during the holidays. “Grieving the loss of a loved one is always a difficult journey,” she writes. “But it can become especially painful during the holiday season.”
- “Slow down: Give up expectations of yourself or others to have the ‘perfect holiday.’”
- Set aside time to think about your beloved companion: Allow your grief and give it expression.
- Create a special holiday ritual to remember your loved one. For example, make a donation to a favorite charity in the pet’s memory, decorate a wreath with pictures and favorite toys or create a special ornament honoring him or her.
- Embrace your memories and find comfort in them. This can be bittersweet – our memories often bring us to both tears and laughter, but they are what heal us.
- Don’t feel guilty if you are enjoying yourself. It’s not disrespectful to the memory of your loved one. Your pet would be happy to know you are enjoying yourself.”
This time of year, pumpkins are really in the swing of things. We carved them for Halloween and this week, we’ll be gobbling them up in pies.
While there’s a long list of people food that your dog shouldn’t indulge in this coming holiday season (find a reminder list here), pumpkin is a healthy treat for your senior dog year round—it’s high in fiber, vitamin-rich and can work to ease his occasional digestive troubles. The blog “Will My Dog Hate Me?” did a great Q&A with veterinarians Dr. Laci and Dr. Jed Schaible of VetLive.com about the benefits of fresh pumpkin, pumpkin seeds and canned pumpkin (plain, not pumpkin pie mix). Always check with your senior dog’s vet before changing his diet but the Q&A will get you started with information on how pumpkin can treat constipation as well as diarrhea and aid in a weight loss plan. Read “Of Pumpkins and Pooches” here.
If pumpkin turns out to be a plus for your senior dog, stock up on the seasonal treat now while canned pumpkin is widely available at stores.
Here are some pumpkin recipe ideas!
For you and your senior dog to share: Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie recipe here from Bark Magazine. Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 50-60 minutes.
Full contact feeding: Stuffing your dog’s KONG toy with his meal is a great way to boost his interest in his food and increase his mental stimulation by making him work for his dinner. Plus, it provides him with a fun activity if your schedule is too stretched for play time. I highly recommend the Senior KONG, which is made of softer rubber that’s easier on a senior dog’s jaw and teeth. Here’s a pumpkin recipe for Kongs courtesy of the ASPCA:
- Canned or freshly cooked pureed pumpkin
- Yogurt or cottage cheese (only use plain or naturally sweetened yogurt—not yogurt with artificial sweeteners, which can be toxic to dogs)
- Cooked oatmeal
- Low-fat graham cracker
Put a spoonful of cooked oatmeal at the bottom of the KONG to seal the small hole. Then put two spoonfuls of pumpkin into the KONG. Follow with a spoonful of yogurt or cottage cheese. Repeat, layering the pumpkin and yogurt or cottage cheese until the KONG is almost full. Then cram a few pieces of graham cracker into the end of the KONG. Serve warm or frozen.
And now for a little “you” time!
Face mask ingredients: Plain yogurt and pumpkin puree. Image via Design*Sponge
Home design and lifestyle blog Design*Sponge serves up some homemade body care recipes in its “Small Measures with Ashley” column.
Find easy instructions here for “Warming Trends Bath Salts,” “I Love Ya Honey Body Scrub,” and “The Great Pumpkin Patch Face Mask.”
We’re excited to share with you a new resource for canines and their caregivers. “Haley the Wonderdog” is a website created by a friend (and fellow Grey Muzzle volunteer) that’s inspired by her best friend, Haley, who negotiated hemangiosarcoma in her elderly years and thrived for nearly two years after symptoms surfaced. Haley passed away peacefully this summer at the age of 15 and “Haley the Wonderdog” is a tribute to her spirit and a generous platform for shared resources based on the mission, “How Dogs With Cancer Can Live Better + Longer.”
Senior dog caregiving so often, unfortunately, crosses the path of cancer treatment and “Haley the Wonderdog” speaks to that, focusing on the whole health package. “Haley’s Cancer Kit” details Haley’s care plan, which blended conventional and complementary treatments, the Resources section is robust—”Cancer, Health + Wellness, Nutrition + Supplements, Senior Dog Care, Transitioning + Grief”—and the Blog covers the latest in cancer issues and lifestyle. Here’s the five most recent posts:
We were immediately impressed by the thoughtfulness and range of information offered by “Haley the Wonderdog” and love the beautiful design and supportive, community feel of the site. Head on over and dig in!
Posted in At-Home Care, Caring for the caregiver, Diet + Recipes, DIY Projects, Exercise, Keep it on the QL (Quality of Life), Lifestyle, Newshound, Play, Reviews, Senior Status, Senior Stories, Tips, Tools, Wellness