Friday, July 31, 2015

Dear Abby: When the Pack Grows Smaller - Helping Grieving Dogs

Dear Friends,

This week we have a question from my friend Angela.  I will post her question and my answer, and hope you will join in with any suggestions or tips in the comments below.   

Thanks, and love to all!

Angela's family lost their precious little dog Teddy recently.   He is the cute little black dog pictured in the photo above (back left).  His brothers are Gizmo, the little brown dachshund (foreground), and Sarge, the big sweet dog (back right).

You will find another photo of the brothers together, below:  (left to right)  Sarge, Gizmo, and Teddy.

Angela writes that Gizmo and Sarge are really missing Teddy.  "Teddy just provided the energy and enthusiasm. My dad and I were talking about how much the house feels empty without Teddy. He really was a spark plug. Sarge and Gizmo just lay around and act depressed. They get happy for brief moments but other than that, they just lounge around looking morose. That had been my question for Abby. Since she lost a 'brofur' just like Gizmo and Sarge, how did she cope with the loss?"

Dear Gizmo and Sarge,

I am so sorry about Teddy.  I have heard many stories about him, and know he was a special, fun, lively boy ... and an important part of your family.

I lost my beloved brother Barney Fife last September, and I still think about him every day.  Momma says we were bonded.  I believe this means we loved each other and were inseparable.  Yes, that sounds right: bonded.

At first it was very hard.  Barney went to the vet and he didn't come home.  Momma was sad and she cried, and I missed my brother and didn't understand what was happening.  After a day or two, I figured it out.  I felt sad too.  I was very quiet and stuck to Momma like glue.

Here are things that helped.  Momma told our neighborhood friends about Barney.   They gave me extra attention and their dogs socialized with me even more than usual when we met them on walks.   Visiting with other dogs was really nice.

And about walks -- we started going on extra walks.  Lots of time outside!   I kept very busy.  Being busy helped.

Friends and family came over, as they usually do, but they brought treats and toys and gave me lots of extra attention.  I liked that.

I found a special plush toy that belonged to Barney and I made it my lovie.  I still carry it around and snuggle with it, and sometimes like to sleep with it.  It reminds me of my brother.

Momma gave me extra cuddles and attention, and I liked that too.  I did not think that Momma could love me more than she already did, but it seems like that happened.

We turned on lights and played music and tried to fill the house with happy noise.

We still miss Barney and think of him every day, but more and more we remember the good times spent with him.

I am thinking of you both, and your Mom and family too, and sending you many good and comforting thoughts.  You have friends and family who loved Teddy and who love you both and want you to be happy again.  I hope some of these suggestions help you.

With love and hugs,

Book Review and Giveaway: A Bride at Last by Melissa Jagears

Can Silas and Kate overcome their rocky start and experience healing—and possibly love? Discover the answer in Melissa Jagears' new book, A Bride at LastNeither Kate nor Silas is prepared for the secrets and past hurts that have yet to come to light as they attempt to prove nine-year-old Anthony's paternity to the court. Can their wounded souls bind them together or will all that stands between them leave them lonely forever? 


Abandoned by his mail-order bride, Silas Jonesey has fought an uphill battle to recover from a pattern of poor choices. Now his prayers for reconciliation have finally come true and his estranged wife has contacted him with her whereabouts. 

Kate Dawson was supposed to be a mail-order bride, but upon realizing she’d been deceived about her intended groom, she’s now settled into life as a schoolteacher. When the mother of a student passes away, Kate assumes she’ll take on care of nine-year-old Anthony–until two men suddenly show up in town, claiming to be the boy’s father.

Silas can see Anthony loves Kate, so he enlists her help in reaching out to the boy and attempting to prove his paternity to the court. When a common interest in Anthony leads to an interest in each other and Silas and Kate begin to think they can overcome their rocky start, neither is prepared for the secrets and past hurts that have yet to come to light. Can Silas, Kate, and Anthony’s wounded souls bind them together or will all that stands between them leave them lonely forever?

My Review:

I love historical novels, and for some reason have always enjoyed stories about mail order brides.  This was a charming read.  Like most Bethany House historical fiction that I have read, it was gentle and inspiring, and would make a great Hallmark Hall of Fame movie.

The time period (1880's) and setting (Salt Flatts, Kansas and Missouri) were both interesting, and historical details were well written.

Kate is a strong and caring protagonist.  I empathized with her care for her young student, Anthony, and her wish to help him.  I particularly liked Silas as a romantic match for Kate.  Silas and Kate both came from troubled backgrounds, but they found strength in their relationship together.

This is the third book in the Unexpected Brides series.  I have not read the other two books, but enjoyed this novel as a standalone read.

I would recommend this book for fans of historical fiction, historical romance, and mail-order bride novels. It is a heartwarming novel with likable, admirable characters.

Celebrate the release of A Bride at Last by entering to win a $100 Memory-Making giveaway and RSVPing to Melissa's August 4th author chat party!

bride at last-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $100 gift card to Netflix (for a family movie night), Shutterfly (to create a family memory book), or TablePlayGames (for a family game night)
  • One copy of A Bride at Last
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/4. The winner will be announced at Melissa's 8/4 A Bride at Last Facebook author chat party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Melissa and fiction fans, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!

bride at last-enterbanner

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 4th! 

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.