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Archive for the tag “advice”

Pets With Anxiety and Stress Issues


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Meet Alaska. She joined the Turner family back in March 2013. She was a cute puppy and loved to play. She loved getting into things as puppies normally do. She loved playing with the other dogs and being outside. She loved to be loved on.

She grew up. She still enjoys to play, love on her family, and be loved on by her family. She makes a great snuggle buddy, and she loves to take rides in the car. She has a deep love for her family, and she is very protective of her family too. And as a bonus, she likes to chase chickens in her spare time (that story is for another day). Ha!

She also suffers from anxiety and stress. She stresses easily with change. She likes order. She isn’t sure of people she doesn’t know. She doesn’t like loud noises or tense environments. This is something we, as her family, have had to adjust to. If you are a fellow owner of a pet with anxiety and stress issues, you understand what I am saying here. And for those of you who haven’t had the experience of owning a pet with these issues, I know it can be hard to understand. I want to help you understand what it is like for the owners of pets with these issues.

Here are just a few things that we experience on a daily basis:

1. People leaving and coming to our house is a traumatic experience for Alaska. Let me explain this a bit. She doesn’t necessarily fall over in convulsions when we leave the house or if we have a guest over and they leave. She does whine and cry, and she gives us her best “sad face,” but her anxiety and stress comes when we come back to the house or if a guest comes over to the house. We have to take special precautions to help make this transition less stressful for her. How? For starters we have to put our husky in another room. For some crazy reason it causes tension between the two. Maybe because they are both big dogs and both female. I really don’t know. Secondly, we have to talk to Alaska calmly. This is almost as if you were talking to a baby. I know it sounds crazy, but it works. Lastly, if all the dogs are contained when we come home, she has to be let out first. If you let any other dog out before letting her out, her anxiety level rises.

2. Classical music is her favorite genre of music. Yes, dogs can have favorite music genres. In the mornings I like to play it after my workout, so that it sets a calming environment.

3. If Alaska wants your attention, she doesn’t want you to share it with her fellow dog pack. Asking the whole crew to come over for some attention simply isn’t a wise choice. This stresses her out.

A few other tidbits: small spaces send her stressing, loud noises cause stress, if she feels overcrowded she will stress, unannounced visitors stress her, new people cause anxiety for her.

I know some of this sounds strange and just plain ridiculous. I get that. There are many days where I think, “Are you serious?” I love my girl though, and I know that this is something she probably gets frustrated with as well. Just like humans can have anxiety disorders and stress problems, animals can have these same issues. As their owners we just have to learn how to help them with these issues.

I have thought to put Alaska on some vet prescribed anxiety medication, but I really would prefer to treat it as naturally as possible. Then there’s the whole taking her to the vet thing. You see my dilemma?

Just a few words of advice to those of you who do not have pets with anxiety and stress issues:

1. Please be as understanding as possible when it comes to other pet owners who do have animals with these issues.

2. Please call ahead before visiting friends or family who own pets with anxiety and stress issues. Your friends and family will thank you.

3. Please do not take it lightly when a friend or family member shares that their pet has these issues. It’s a struggle for both the owner and the pet, and the struggle is real my friends. The struggle is real.

4. Pray for your friend or family member, as well as the pet. Prayer is a powerful tool. Just as I would covet your prayers for me and my family, I would also covet your prayers for my pets. Call me crazy if you want, it’s ok.

I know this isn’t my typical post, but it was on my heart to share. Animals are living creatures who struggle with things just like we struggle with things. They are part of God’s creation that He has asked us to care for on a daily basis. Let’s do our best to care for these babies in the best possible way.

Does your pet struggle with anxiety and stress issues? How do you help them cope with it?

Alaska’s Advocate,
Jac

This Thing We call Parenting


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At this stage in parenting my daughter, this picture is pretty accurate. Just trying to be honest here peeps. Let’s face it, those of us that are parents (no matter how old our kiddos are) know that parenting is tough. It is not always parks, butterflies, ice creams, and laughs. Sometimes it is more like being in a high impact bootcamp training. There are no easy 1, 2, 3 steps to making parenting easy. Our kids didn’t come with manuals. We weren’t endowed with a massive amount of wisdom on how to be the perfect parent, when we became a parent. Nope, we just knew at the moment we looked at our kids’ faces that we were their parent, and we would love these kids like crazy. None of the hard stuff ever crossed our minds when we first laid eyes on those precious babies. 

Well, I find myself at the “tween stage” of parenting. To be honest, it is a very scary stage to me. Gone are the days of Dora the Explorer and Toddler tunes. They have been replaced with Good Luck Charlie and Justin Beiber. No more picking out outfits with cute little flowers and bows in the hair. She has her own sense of style, and a matching flowered outfit isn’t part of that style. And you can forget a bow! She is changing. She is growing into a young lady. A young lady with her own opinions, ideas, and dreams. A young lady who is very strong willed and stubborn. Parenting a tween is very different from parenting an infant, a toddler, or a pre-schooler. It is its own thing.

I am learning how to maneuver through this stage in parenting. Some days I feel pretty confident in my parenting ability, while other days I feel like I have been face down in the mud all day. It is a tricky thing, this parenting. Every kid is different. Every parent is different. You just have to find what works for you and your child. So, here are some points of encouragement for all of you parents that are finding yourself in this “tween stage” of parenting. 

  1. Be you. Sounds pretty simple right? Well, I think sometimes we just need to be reminded that it is ok to be who we are. And especially in parenting, I think sometimes our identities get lost. We often try so hard to be the perfect parent, the soccer mom, the taxi driver, the cook, and whatever else we can throw into the mix, that we tend to lose who we are. Some parents aren’t the soccer moms, the cooks, the theatre parent, or the taxi driver. And NO parent is the perfect parent (sorry June Cleaver). Be yourself. Your kid will respect and appreciate you for that.
  2. Be the parent. This another one that seems pretty simple, but again it is also another one that gets lost in the shuffle at times. Sometimes we try so hard to have our kids like us all the time, that it gets hard to distinguish between the child and the parent. It is ok to have your kid upset with you on occasion. So what if your kid storms off to their room & slams their door vowing to never come out, because you told them no! Come on, we all know they get hungry so they WILL come out of that room. And they WILL still love you, even though you told them no. Kids need boundaries. They need rules. And they need us to be their parents, not their BFFs!
  3. Be godly. Spend time with God. Read and study scripture. Pray daily for your kids, family, and other things. Be the example of Christ to your kids, so that they will grow in the ways of the Lord. Show them what it means to have compassion, love, grace, and to show mercy. Don’t just tell them about these things, live it! I am a firm believer in Proverbs 22:6 (“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”). My parents raised me in a Christian home, and I am beyond thankful for the example of Christ they were to me and my siblings.
  4. Be aware and connected. Know what your kids are doing, who their friends are, what their dreams & goals are. Know what they like and dislike. Know what they are listening to. Know your kid! Make time to spend with your kids. Play a board game with them. Watch a movie with them. Talk to them, and LISTEN to them. Even that little bit of time spent in the car each morning on the way to school, is valuable time with your kids. 

I am by no means an expert when it comes to parenting. I am learning. I make mistakes. I don’t always parent in the best way. But I do know that although parenting is tough, it is one of the greatest blessings that God has given me. And it is one of the greatest blessings God has given you too!

Grace & Peace, Jac

 

 

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