MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Helpful Books on Pet Loss

Anderson, M., Coping With Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet, Pergrine Press, 1987.

Kairns, D., Maggie The Dog Who Changed My Life: A Story of Love, iUniverse, 2008.

Kay, T., To Dance With the White Dog, Washington Square Press, 1990.

Kay, W., et al, Pet Loss and Human Bereavement, Iowa State University Press, 1984.

Luckenbach, P. The Kingdom of Heart: A Pet Loss Journal, Spiritual Living Press, 2005.

Montgomery, M., and Montgomery, H., A Final Act of Caring: Ending the Life of An Animal Friend. Montgomery Press, 1993.

Neiburg, H., et al, Pet Loss: A Thoughtful Guide for Adults and Children, Harper and Row, 1982.

Sife, W., The Loss of a Pet: A Guide to Coping With the Grieving Process When a Pet Dies, 1998.

*taken from The Human Animal Bond Trust, Argus Institute, and personal experience*

posted by Dawn Kairns

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Nominees for the 2008 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award by the Dog Writer's Association of America

I am happy to share the nominees for the 2008 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award for the Dog Writer's Association of America Contest (DWAA). The criteria for the Merial Human-Animal Bond Award stated on the DWAA website are the media that "best highlights the special bond between people and their treasured pets, promoting the strengthening of this bond and highlighting the special relationship between a dog and its owner, as well as between dogs and veterinarians."

The nominated authors (alphabetically) and books are:

Dawn Kairns, “Maggie: The Dog Who Changed My Life”
Jenny Pavlovic, “8 State Hurricane Kate”
Barbara Gail Techel, “Frankie, the Walk’N Roll Dog”

I am honored that my book has been nominated for this special award. My hope in writing "Maggie: The Dog Who Changed My Life" was to pay tribute to who Maggie was and that very special bond between us. This makes me feel I have done justice to my angel with fur.

Dawn Kairns

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pet Loss Support List (Colorado and National)

I am compiling this pet loss support list to give to local veterinarians to have on hand for their clients when they lose their precious pets. It would have helped me if my veterinarian had directed me with such a list when we had to euthanize Maggie, my black lab soulmate (Maggie: the dog who changed my life). I hope now it will help others to find the support they need at that very difficult and painful moment when they say good-bye to their angels with fur. This is not complete--I will soon add a Pet Loss Support Reading List. I will also post this on my website when it is complete at Until then, may this direct and help you who are grieving the loss of your beloved pets.

Pet Loss Grief Counselors in CO

Anne Cattarello: 720-352-0930; (Gunbarrel, CO)

Argus Institute (at Colorado State University Veterinary Hospital) 970-297-1242

(provided for CSU clients. Non-CSU clients receive 1 free support session & a pet loss packet.)

Pet Loss Support Groups in CO

Pet Loss Support Group of the Denver Area Veterinary Society (303-318-0447)

Every Thursday 6:30-8:00 pm

Colorado Veterinary Medical Foundation-Harrison Center for Animals (NE entrance)

191 Yuma Street in Denver.

No cost to attend. No need to call before attending.
Please bring a picture of your pet if possible.

National Pet Loss Support Hotlines (staffed by university veterinary students or trained volunteers)

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (New York) 607-253-3932
Tuesday-Thursday 6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time

University of California Davis 530-752-3602 or 916-752-4200 or toll free 800-565-1526
weekdays 6:30-9:30 p.m. Pacific Time

University of Florida 352-392-4700, then 1 and 4080
weekdays 7:00-9:00 p.m. Eastern Time

University of Illinois 217-244-2273 or toll-free 877-394-2273(CARE)
Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday 7:00-9:00 p.m. Central Time

Chicago Veterinary Medical Association 630-325-1600 or 630-603-3994. Leave voice mail message; calls returned 7:00-9:00 p.m. Central Time (long-distance calls returned collect.)

Michigan State University 517-432-2696
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 6:30-9:30 p.m. Eastern Time

Iowa State University 888-478-7574
September through April: seven days a week 6:00-9:00 p.m. Central Time
May through August: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 6:00-9:00 p.m. Central Time

Tufts University (Massachussetts) 508-839-7966
Tuesday and Thursday 6:00-9:00 p.m. Eastern Time or Monday through Friday; voice-mail messages returned daily, collect outside Massachusetts.

Ohio State University 614-292-1823
Monday-Friday, 6:30 pm-9:30 pm, ET or Monday, Wednesday, Friday 6:30-9:30
Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. ET (depends on volunteer availability)

Virginia-Maryland Regional College 540-231-8038
Tuesday and Thursday 6:00-9:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Washington State University 509-335-5704
Monday-Thursday 6:30-9:00 p.m. Pacific Time during semester; Saturday 1:00-3:00 p.m. PT

**Information taken from the websites and/or brochures of the Argus Institute at Colorado State University, The Human Animal Bond Trust of the Denver Area Veterinary Medical Society & Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine**

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama's Puppy Decision Major

I love it that President-elect Obama is referring to the family decision to get a puppy as a "major issue." It is! Not only because daughter Malia is allergic but because all of us who have a great relationship with our dogs know the time commitment involved in caring for our four-legged buddies. It takes training, exercise, mental stimulation, boundary setting, patience and lots of love to build the foundation for a loving, connected, lifelong relationship with our canine companions.
The Obama family prefers to adopt their new puppy from an animal shelter or rescue group. Kudos to them! Has that ever happened with a prior president? What a great example for the Obama's to set for the country and the world, to raise consciousness about the millions of abandoned animals in need of rescue.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Grief from Pet Loss is Profound

It may surprise people to realize that the human-animal bond is often so deep that the grieving process may take longer than when you lose a human loved one. I wasn’t prepared for the overwhelming, ongoing grief when my dog, Maggie, died from thyroid cancer. I often felt alone with my loss. Our culture allows negligible time and space to grieve our human losses, let alone our pet losses. People need tremendous compassion and support when their cherished pet dies. In recognition of the need to talk about our beloved pets, I began a social network for people at to do just that. I am also in the process of creating a pet loss support list for local veterinarians to offer to their clients after a pet dies or is euthanized. It includes local, regional, and online pet loss support groups and a reading list. It would have helped me. I’d like to make these resources available for others so they don’t have to search for it at such an emotionally stressful time. If you are a veterinarian, it may empower you at a helpless time to offer your grieving clients a direction, one more way you can express compassion to your distressed clients. If you would like a copy of the pet loss support list, including a reading list, it will soon be posted on my website at

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Why I Wrote "Maggie: The Dog Who Changed My Life"

Maggie was a very special being I was blessed to share my life with. The depth of our love for each other, of our human-canine bond, was deeper and beyond anything I imagined a bond with a dog could be.

Maggie's way of being so present in the moment brought me more into the present moment. She reached out to people and brought them into our circle. Maggie's genuine, loving way brought people into their hearts, and so my communication with others became more genuine and from the heart. Through her I learned the power of now, of living in the present, and that the most important things in life are love, connection, and following our hearts.

My journey with Maggie helped me make important personal and professional decisions about who I wanted to be and how I wanted to live; to honor my wants and question my shoulds. She taught me the importance of being over doing and to follow my intuition.

Maggie showed me that she read my thoughts somehow and understood me more than I thought possible in a dog. Call it telepathy. Call it a sixth sense. I wrote MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life in the hopes that you the reader will tune more into your own dogs and see them through the eyes of beings who understand you, their human, and read your thoughts and energy more than we realize; and in the hopes that you will look at animals as different beings, not lesser beings. Tuning into your dogs at this level deepens the experience of being a dog whisperer with your own dog.

I also wrote Maggie: the dog who changed my life to encourage you, the readers, to listen to yourselves, to your intuition, and to question veterinarians when your gut feelings disagree with a vet's diagnosis. I also encourage you to evaluate the information available about pet food and vaccination frequency and ask yourselves as I did in Chapter Nine in Maggie: the dog who changed my life, "What's Really Best for Our Pets?"

Finally, my hope is to help you know that the deep grief you feel when you lose your precious pet is normal; to help you feel supported and understood, and most important, to not feel isolated in your grief.

Now you know a few things about why I wrote Maggie: the dog who changed my life. To learn more about my book, visit Do you have a special dog story you want to share, past or present? Your own special once-in-a-lifetime dog? Let us hear from you. Go to and tell us about your special pet or share your comments on this post.