My Dog is Sick

My dog is sick and I’m hit with the reality that she is an old dog. I adopted her 4 years ago and she’s now 11. I’ve become so attached to her it’s hard to think of her not being a part of my life.

Lulu, my dog, sitting on the couch

At the vet I find out that there is some concern and I need to do some tests. We aren’t sure what’s wrong. She’s more active than normal but also going to the bathroom more than normal. Tests can become expensive. Those expenses are only the tests, then there’s medication and retests once she’s done with the medication.

One step at a time

We run some tests, just the most important. The tests were $166 making the visit total $250. Now it’s go home and wait.

The next morning, Ring, ring, the test results are in. I get the call to find out that her liver is showing higher than normal numbers. Like they should be about 100 and they are 1500. (don’t ask what the numbers are or mean, all I know is it’s a big difference and doesn’t sound good)

The medications would be $125, but they have a program where I could get one of the prescriptions free. So it was only $95. Next week I go back to get more tests done to see how she’s doing. I’m sure it will be $166 or more, bringing the total to $511.

In December I took both my dogs to the vet and had to do IMG_1274some vaccines. I only did the required because as it turned out the other dog had a tear in his eye. That visit with medication was over $600.

I still have to get more vaccines.

When is enough. At this point I don’t have to worry because it’s minor. I’ve seen people with dogs that had cancer and they continued to treat their animals. Sometimes spending upward or $10,000.
So when do you know enough is enough.
It’s an individual choice, just like people, each person is entitled to their opinion. And each of us will decide what’s right for us.

IMG_1047

Until I had dogs of my own I didn’t fully understand the love you can have for a pet. I now have two and love each of them in their own special way. I don’t know what I’d do if it was cancer, or something that needs lots of expensive treatments, but I know I would do more now than I would have thought anyone should. But the unconditional love of these dogs has taken my heart and I am glad I don’t have to make that decision at this point and hope I never do.

Communication With Your Teenager

Trust Your Mom

Having good communication with your teenager is hard, but so important. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that. It takes good communication to get them to trust you.

We’ve had several discussions on how to handle communication. We’ve gone back and forth and I think we are finally at a point where we can communicate, talk and have trust.

The best conversations I have with my kids are in the car. I used to drive them to school when they were younger. Looking back, I know that’s when I learned a lot about what they were thinking.

Over the years I’ve had to make coming to me a safe place to go when they need help. I’m not talking about tying a shoe or doing laundry for them, but when there’s peer pressure.

They have heard many things from me, including how to get away with not giving in or if it’s a hard situation how to get out of it. For example, if they are in a situation where they are being super pressured into drinking a beer, go to the bathroom, dump out the beer and fill it with water. Nobody will know.

If there ride has been drinking or doing drugs or if they themselves are too drunk to drive, I’ve told them to call me and I’ll come get them no questions asked.

One day my younger son said “I know you’ve said I can call and no questions asked, but I feel like you will get mad at me”. I had to think fast on my feet. How can I make him feel safe and trust me.

Ah ha!

I told him “if that happens and I start giving you a hard time just remind me I said no questions asked. However, I will be so happy that you did the right thing and you won’t die or kill someone I’m sure I won’t be mad.”

The town I live in has lost a number of kids because someone got behind the wheel and the others got in the car with them. No parent should have to deal with that. Teach them well and offer them a no questions asked way out so they feel safe.

If you like my blog please subscribe here

Dealing With Grief During the Holidays

It’s hard when you are dealing with grief during the holidays. Grief is hard enough. Then you add the cheer that’s all around you.

When my husband died on Thanksgiving, I remember going Christmas Shopping in early December. People were so happy and cheerful. I felt so alone. Nobody could even come close to understanding the loneliness and sadness I was feeling.

As hard as it was I had to just go on and remember that the people around me don’t know what happened to me. And they should be enjoying the holidays.

As much as I wanted to I couldn’t. It was everything I could do to go out in public without crying. But I managed. The one thing I learned is that people didn’t understand and I unfortunately had to just deal with it. Sure I could have played the violin but I knew that there was no way for people to know or understand unless they were in my shoes.

I learned early on that you can’t fault people for not understanding and that even though I was the one grieving I had to give people the benefit of the doubt.

My saving grace was that I went to a bereavement group. That helped keep me from feeling so alone even though I was. Don’t get me wrong, there were people around. My parents even came in and stayed with me for a while. But I the alone is the feeling inside. You can be in a crowded room and feel alone. That’s when I learned the true meaning of feeling alone.

So what do you do over the holidays? Well it’s not easy, but you have to give yourself permission to change your mind. You may feel great today but not tomorrow. The best thing to do is to make plans with the preface that you may not feel up to it that day. Knowing that you have plans and that it’s ok to change your mind makes all the difference in the world.

You will be surprised at how much people will understand. I always tell people that they can use me. You can too. If you have plans and you decide last minute you aren’t up for it, tell them Jackie gave you permission to change your mind for at least one year after your loss.

Remember, dealing with grief over the holidays is hard, but not impossible. Keep your chin up and do the best you can.

Raising Responsible Adults

Kids don’t come with a manual to help us in raising responsible adults. Even if they, each child is different in many ways. I have two kids and they have completely different personalities. They know that I love them both the same amount even though I treat them different.  That’s because they are both different and they know we each have our own special relationship.

One thing I have always done is take each child’s personality and look at what they are good at and what they like to do, then encourage them to go with what’s in your heart.

An example of how they are different and how we work things out is what we do when it comes to meals, one hates cooking and the other likes it. The one that hates to cook would rather clean all the pots and pans from dinner. So that’s what we do.

I’ve tried to pinpoint what it is that I did to raise two responsible children. Responsible doesn’t look the same in either of them. One is very driven, does well in school, activities and really spends lots of time bettering himself. My other child isn’t as driven but still responsible and always comes through when he has to do something and does it with a smile (well, most of the time). They know what their responsibilities are around the house and even if I have to remind them they will do it.

A big thing I can attribute to this is teaching them morals and honesty. I want them to be themselves but know I’m always here for them. I give them trust and they continue to earn it. I’m aware that can change at any moment, but will trust them until they prove me otherwise.

I love them and let them know that love looks different in each person. I respect their privacy as long as they don’t take advantage of my respect. At times I’ve needed to talk to them about what’s important in the world. I’ve let them know that no matter what they did I would always love them. I may not like them or what they’ve done at times, but I will always love them.

They have always been first for me. As I’ve laid down house rules and responsibilities, which are subject to change, and stay consistent. When I talk to them about a consequence for their actions I always make sure I can follow through. I’ve supported them when they needed help in school, with friendships and even bullying. Good times and bad times I’ve always been there.

When I am away or working or whatever, I can trust them to be at home by themselves. They know I trust them and don’t want to lose that so they follow the rules and don’t take advantage. One of my kids even asked me if his prescription was ready and when I said yes he went to pick it up himself.

Of course they fought just like other siblings do over the years, but now they have matured and are more thoughtful of each other. They still disagree and debate, but overall they do get along. They respect each other and me. We all respect each other.

The most important thing your kids need to know is that no matter what, you love them and you are there for them, follow through with what you say and teach them good morals.