Tag: Animals

“If My Dog Could Talk” Warms All Our Furry Hearts

Imagine if your dog could talk! What do you think they would say? You don’t need to wonder anymore as I See Me! has created a book on exactly that!

But not just any book but a personalized book for your dog. I was very intrigued by this idea as I do love animals and have a furry nephew by the name of Theodore. This was a great gift idea for my sister-in-law to share with my daughter. What makes this perfect is that it ties in two things that they both love, reading and Theodore!

To customize the book, there are a few details that we needed to submit first. We had to select our dog’s style and there are 12 to pick from. The next step was to pick a color for our dog. Then we needed to fill out the Dog Lover’s First Name, Dog’s Name and Dog Gender. Of course with I See Me Books you can make the gift extra special and add a dedication and sender name. They have really thought of all the details.

We submitted all the info and we waited for our personalized book to arrive. I must say that it arrived quickly and was neatly packaged. The package included the book, bandana and mat for the furry family member’s food. It surpassed my expectations and at this point we only had opened it up. Can’t say I have had this experience before.

Theodore proudly wearing his bandana by his new mat with his food. Talk about “Bark-Tastic!’

A personalized gift for dog-lovers that captures the hilarious mischief and pure love of your furry friend.

Now it was time for the big moment, reading time. I sat with my daughter and told her that we were going to read a very special book. She was really excited and being three of age, she gets REALLY excited quickly! I told her we were going to read a book about Theodore. “Bubba!” exclaimed Nikki which is the nickname that her Auntie calls Theodore. I told Nikki that yes it was all about Bubba and some other special people too. So I have set the stage for my very eager toddler and I have to admit I was just as excited.

We went through each page and being very detailed oriented I noticed that I See Me didn’t miss a single detail. Inside there was a photo of Theodore and it was dedicated to everyone we had listed and it included our dedication, “May you always know the pure love of a furry friend. Nikki & Family. 2017.” This piece meant a lot to me to see as our furry family members are an important part of our families.

The story takes your furry dog through his day and thoughts about why people do what they do and why they couldn’t just do what dogs do. It really is cute and funny. You can’t help but wonder how accurate this could really be. 😉 Each drawing is colorful, bright and detailed to your family. This is where I See Me separates itself from anyone else. They inserted Theodore’s name in all spots that it could go on such as his bed, collar, towel, bowl, etc. They also inserted the special people we listed into the drawings. There is one part of the book where you see everyone’s name framed along with handprints (this tickled my heart pink!). I was just amazed on the little details to really make the book feel like it was ours.

At the end of the book, we see an adorable photo of Theodore with a poem which read: “You give me hugs and hold me tight. You fluff my hair and say ‘goodnight.’ When I grow old and my face turns grey, I’ll remember the love you gave each day.” (At this point I had tears as our love is unconditional for our furry family members and I remember our dear Lily the cat).

My daughter clapped with delight once we finished and asked to read it again (four times). Each time I read it we both loved it more.

For this #MelandNikkiReview we give, If My Dog Theodore Could Talk!, 5+++ barks out of 5This book has also made it onto our Recommended List. It is an unique, very personalized and cherished book for any family especially for dog lovers. The illustrations are beautifully done and detailed. My daughter (and I) were captivated by the bright colors. We also loved the gifts that came with the book for our furry family member and it makes it that more special.

As many of you already know that I love companies who give back and I See Me Books does just that. You can save 10% and help SAVE an animal in need by entering code RESCUE (only for a limited time). It’s a win-win for everyone!

We do highly recommend this most precious book to any dog lover on your list as it would make a perfect gift or keepsake. To purchase this book, please click here.

Make sure to follow I See Me Book on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Also stay tuned as we will be releasing another #MelandNikkiReview on another book from I See Me! You don’t want to miss it!

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

* Please note that the product was given in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed in this review are of Momma Braga and were not influenced by the company.

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The Cherry Story on Pet Ownership

Many people are very familiar with Don Cherry especially in the hockey world. Mr. Cherry is known as an ice hockey commentator for CBC Television and co-host of “Coach’s Corner.” He also has had a very successful career as a hockey player and NHL coach. You can always expect his candid commentary and very unique suits that he wears. However, there is much more to this extraordinary person and that is his love and passion for animals.

With this passion, it is no surprise that he and his daughter, Cindy, started the Don Cherry’s Pet Rescue Foundation with the mission to provide financial assistance to registered pet rescue organizations and educate the public on animal welfare across Canada.

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I have a special place in my heart for animals too especially with the love we had for our beloved Lily who we lost this past January so I wanted to get to know this foundation a little more and offer some insight to parents on pet ownership. I had the honor and pleasure of connecting with Cindy Cherry, President of Don Cherry’s Pet Rescue Foundation and daughter of Don Cherry.

Cindy provided me with a special, honest and beautiful look at her upbringing and the impact of pet ownership in her life.  

“As you may know, my father and I decided to start up Don Cherry’s Pet Rescue Foundation last year. There were many reasons why, but I’ll describe one major point for the interest of this article. That being, how, when a child owns a pet, it could shape the way they handle future responsibilities. That is one of the mandates of the Foundation which is to educate the public on social responsibility towards pet ownership. I will tell you firsthand how it has affected my life.

I look back now on how I was raised in regards to looking after my pets and how my father used it as a tool for preparing me for the real world. I believe responsible pet ownership is a good indication on how you were raised.

In all honesty, it was my father who was the driving force in me having the desire for pets. Since my mother saw how he led me down the garden path of getting rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, budgie birds, fish, and of course dogs, she left it in his capable hands of enforcing the rules of taking care of them. Not only that, but also having the difficult task of having conversations about their death. This brought out a logical attitude in dealing in life and facing reality. It is these tough conversations that I believe many parents today don’t like having and thus raise children in this perfect world that they want their children to believe exists.

I believe, it is a duty of a parent to get their child prepared for the outside world and not be their problem solver. Though their intentions may be viewed as a form of love, you are not doing them any favors. My father was forever checking out my rabbits’ water bowl and if it was empty, look out. You think you see Don Cherry’s wrath on TV, well folks, think of a kid getting a lecture brought down on you about not taking care of a pet. It all came down to tough love. I must admit looking back now over the water and food issue, it was not about the suffering animal (all of one day without water, cause it knocked over its water bowl) but facing my dad’s anger and his disappointment in me.

This is where parents can extrapolate (my favorite word of all time) on backing up what they say. This kind of follow through can be applied to many things that kids get themselves into. The point being, a pet is a commitment. How you handle that commitment at a young age is determined by your parents. When you are taught what a commitment is and what comes with it, you learn to weigh your options a lot better.

When they become adults, they can extrapolate weighing options about their career, marriage, mortgage payments, I could go on and on. The point is this, make your kids realize how much of a “commitment” a pet is. So they want a cute bunny at Easter? My dad’s favorite saying to me, when he thought I wasn’t playing with my rabbits enough was, “oh…I get it, the novelty has worn off.” When he said those words, I realized the next thing I wanted, whether it be a new bike, stereo, whatever, he would be waiting in the wings to bring up my shortcomings of not taking care of what I already had. I knew the games he played, and I believed I learned from the best. I think I use these skills to this day, and yes, this “game playing” is a skill.

Life is a game. People that say they don’t like playing games, usually don’t have the skills to play. I know some people won’t like that statement. That’s fine, but don’t forget to teach your kids that there are a lot of people out there that are looking for angles, so teach them some life’s skills.

Don’t forget you can start by not buying them a pet, but, adopting one that needs a home. Think of it as one of the many opportunities you will have to teach them about the world and its games, or better put…the challenges they will be facing.”

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Pet ownership has taught Cindy many skills that has helped her become the accomplished woman and mom she is today. The lessons learned has empowered her to pay it forward by creating the Don Cherry Pet Rescue Foundation to help others give a second chance to these beloved animals who have not been able to find a caring and forever home. That is a life skill that not many have acquired so my hat goes off to the Cherry family for instilling the importance of pet ownership. 

It has been an honor for me to share this personal story with all of you and I want to give a special thank you to Cindy for her time in giving us the father side of Mr. Cherry who I must say did an amazing job at raising one amazing person!

Make sure to follow Don Cherry Pet Rescue Foundation on Facebook, and Twitter to see all the amazing work that they are doing for our animals in our communities. 

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

– Momma Braga

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A Tearful Good-Bye

Our pets are more than just pets as they become a member of the family. The love and care we feel for them is so very special. They are the ones who are always loyal and by our side when we need them the most. This is how we felt about our cat Lily.

We adopted Lily in 2009 when she was six years of age and she was the sweetest cat you could ever meet. There is a saying that our animals are the ones who pick us and this rings true for us as she is the one who picked us. So when we were faced with her good-bye, it left us heart broken.

Here is our story of how we lost our beloved furbaby, Lily.

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*Warning – specific details have been expressed in this piece that can be emotionally hard to read.

The Beginning

In 2009, we went to visit a facility of adoptions to see if we can find a cat to adopt. When we got there we went into a room with all the available cats that were up for adoption. We went around to see each one of them to see who would be a fit in our family of two (at the time). When my husband arrived at Lily, Lily gave him four kisses. As soon as she did that, my husband turned to me and said, “Ok, she is ours. We are taking her today.” And that is exactly what we did that day. We adopted our new family member, Lily.

Lily came with a past of abuse, neglect and abandonment. The transition to get her comfortable with us took some time and we helped her along the way to trust us. After nine months, she was so comfortable that she slept on my husband’s lap for the very first time and she just got more loving from there.

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When we had our daughter, Nikki, in 2014, Lily became even more loving and friendly. It was amazing to see the bond that Lily created with Nikki and as time passed, the bond grow stronger between them. Nikki ended up having a tag along friend as everywhere she went Lily was close behind.

The Dramatic Change & Diagnosis

Our whole world then shifted with the sudden health changes to Lily. One day we noticed that she was struggling to do her business in the litter box and every time she tried, nothing would come out. Then when she would eat, she would throw up. We knew something was really wrong.

That same day (January 2, 2016), my husband took Lily to the animal emergency hospital to see what was wrong with her. After a five hour wait, it was discovered that Lily had a 3cm cancerous tumor in her intestines and this was causing a backup of her stool. This is why every time she ate she would throw up. Receiving this news was devastating to us as we never expected this to show up so quickly. Lily never showed signs of discomfort until now.

The vet provided us with two options. Option 1 was to do surgery which had high risks attached to it, such as not surviving the surgery and the tumor would return and spread. Option 2 was to put her down.

This was a lot for us to digest in one day so my husband brought her home for us to discuss it further. In the meantime, Lily was given two vaccines that would help with her pain and would prevent her from throwing up. After a lengthy discussion we decided to make an appointment for Lily to see her vet and get a second opinion. This was such a big decision to make that I wanted to make sure we did everything to ensure that putting her down was the right decision. We were fortunate to book an appointment right away which fell on a Monday (January 4, 2016). By this time, we could really see that Lily was getting worse. Her eyes were filled with pain, she lost another 10 ounces since Saturday and threw up even though she had a vaccine to prevent this from happening.

The Final Decision

My husband went in with Lily to see her amazing and kind vet. Once the vet reviewed the x-rays from the hospital and did a full check up on Lily. She turned to my husband and said with tears in her eyes, “There is no saving her.” Lily was getting frail, her bones were weak and she was starving herself to death. The vet further stated that if we decided not to put her down she would only survive another 3 weeks and she could just drop any day in our home. We just couldn’t do that to her. Our vet has known us since we got Lily and she told my husband that she knows that we gave her the very best life full of love and that is all Lily wanted. She further stated that cats are very good at hiding their feelings of pain so there was no way to tell until now. What was happening to Lily was in the inside and it wasn’t on the surface for us to see. With great pain, we decided the best thing for her was to put her down.

Tearful Goodbye

Since Lily was a rescued and abused cat, who had been abandoned a couple of times in her life. I told my husband it would be comforting for him to stay with her to the end. I told him that I would hate for Lily to think that we abandoned her. I wanted her to know that we never left her and loved her so much until the very end. My husband found the strength to stay with her as I knew I just couldn’t (just writing this has me in complete tears).

The vet prepared the needle that would put Lily to rest. She gave Lily the needle and to everyone’s astonishment, Lily got up and walked towards my husband. The vet has only seen this happen one other time in her 26 years as a vet. So she turned to my husband and said, “You have to tell her that it is time to go. She doesn’t want to leave you so you have to tell her that it’s ok.” As painful as it was for my loving husband, he turned to Lily and said, “Sweet Lily, it’s time for you to go. We don’t want you to suffer and it’s ok to go.” The vet said that Lily looked at peace now and she gave her the second needle while in my husband’s arms. Lily looked up at him and gave him those same four kisses that she gave him when we first adopted her. After the last lick, she peacefully went. And that was the end of her suffering and the start of her legacy.

The Grieving

It has been a difficult process and we went through the grieving cycle such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. What has helped us the most, has been the amazing love and support from our family and friends. Just talking (writing) and crying about our loss has been very therapeutic to us as well.

Luckily, our daughter is really young to comprehend or feel the loss. But we did talk to her about it in the simplest terms. The day we said good-bye to Lily, we told our daughter that Lily was going bye-bye to heaven and our daughter went to Lily and said “bye-bye” and gave her kisses. As I watch her do this, all I could do was weep but I knew it was important for our daughter to say good-bye.

In honour of Lily’s memory we had the very first blanket our daughter was wrapped in from the hospital (which became Lily’s favourite blanket) and a cat sleeper transformed into a keepsake teddy bear by Plush Memories. This was a beautiful way to celebrate her life and have something to hug when we missed her. It has been a great tool in helping us grieve.

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Lily’s Legacy

Another way we coped with the grief was by creating a fundraising campaign that we called, Lily’s Legacy. Money raised by our campaign was going to help other animals like Lily who need that second chance at a forever home. We picked a local organization and I am proud to say that we raised $835 in memory of Lily. The money raised has already made a difference in the lives of our furry friends.

We didn’t want to remember the abrupt ending but we wanted this campaign to continue the memory of Lily’s life and sweetness by helping others, the way she did for us.

The Paw Print Left

The loss of a beloved furry family member is hard on everyone and Lily’s loss will be felt for a long time. But she has left a forever lasting paw print on our hearts. To this day our daughter screams with excitement when she sees a picture of Lily. When we say that Lily has gone to heaven, she still responds with “bye-bye” and blows a kiss into the air. Because of Lily, our daughter will always have a special place for animals in her heart.

Lily was such a friendly and sweet cat who always greeted our guests and I know they have all felt her loss as well. Lily has definitely left her mark with many here in this world and we are so lucky to have had her.

Thank You Lily

As I write this piece, my heart is filled with array of emotions and now as I come to the end, it is filled with so much thankfulness. I am thankful for having the opportunity to have had Lily in our lives. Thankful for the unconditional love that she provided and taught us. Thankful for her loyal nature to our family. Thankful for the pure joy that she gave us. Thankful for the love, patience and kindness she always showcased to our daughter. Thankful for trusting us to hold her paw until the very end.

We could not have asked for a better and sweet family member. To that we say, thank you Lily! Rest in peace our sweet girl and know that we will always love you.

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– Momma Braga