Dealing with the Loss of a Pet

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Deeanna Martin


As soon as I started reading the article “Dealing with the Loss of an Animal Companion” by Stuart Kaplowitz (August issue), the tears started flowing. I hesitated to comment as I knew I could get long winded, but I felt compelled to do so as I understand all too well the pain and emotions of the loss. I lost my beloved Rebel to bone cancer in February of this year and the pain is still fresh. There are times I can talk about her with my husband and friends and laugh about her antics, but other times I can barely utter a single syllable through the tears.

Rebel was from Hawaii. My then boyfriend, now husband, found her on a message board…she needed a home. We had only been dating about five months and during that time, I had told him on various occasions that I loved black cats and would like to have another one someday. On other occasions, I told him that I was a rebel and refused to conform to what I considered society’s idiotic standards. So, when he came home one day and told me that a black cat was available to a good home and was named Rebel, I told myself then that if he ever asked me to marry him, I would. There are not many 22 year olds who can put things like that together.

This is the main reason why it was so devastating to lose Rebel. She was my engagement kitty. Some women get rings…I got a beautiful, feisty, black cat. She was with us for 15 years…for as long as we have been married. She lived with us in Hawaii, England, Alabama, and finally Florida. Rebel was also my comfort kitty. Any time I was upset and crying, she would always get in my lap and just sit there, stare at me and purr. She let me hug her cry on her sweet shoulders, even when those tears were eventually for her. Those days were many the day I was told she had terminal cancer. I cried so much I became dehydrated.

Even in the darkest of times of pain in life, there is always good and the good that came out of all of this was that I finally found a wonderful, loving, compassionate vet, Dr. Kim Tyson, of Four Paws Veterinary Hospital in Riverview. She and her vet tech assistants, Lynne, La Donna, Kristina, and Meagan, supported me from the initial diagnosis to Rebel’s passing. All of them hugged me repeatedly as they knew my heart was broken. When the day came for us to let Rebel go, Dr. Kim and La Donna came to our house and put her to rest on her favorite spot. They let us say our last good-byes, hugged us, then took Rebel and had her cremated for us. Her ashes now sit on our shelf in, as luck would have it, a black cat statue, along with the ashes of four other kitties and two hamsters.

So, Stuart, thank you for the article and for letting people know it is okay to grieve for the loss of a pet. Thank you for telling us not to feel ashamed for our feelings. And Angie, thank you for printing his article. I have wept while typing, but at the same time, it has also been cathartic for me as I was able to share a story about a truly wonderful furry family member…I sincerely appreciate that.

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.