Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour 2009



This year, Earth Hour has been transformed into the world’s first global election, between Earth and global warming.

For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009.

This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard.

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

In 2009, Earth Hour is being taken to the next level, with the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote. Unlike any election in history, it is not about what country you’re from, but instead, what planet you’re from. VOTE EARTH is a global call to action for every individual, every business, and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. Over 74 countries and territories have pledged their support to VOTE EARTH during Earth Hour 2009, and this number is growing everyday.

We all have a vote, and every single vote counts. Together we can take control of the future of our planet, for future generations.

VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour, and join the world for Earth Hour.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Loss Of A Loving Pet

I felt I needed to follow up my last posting, where I wrote about a loss of a very good friend's loving dog, Sheffield.

Sheffield's death and the grief that followed in my friend and myself made me take a look at what people go through when they lose a pet they love and care for.

The grief and the pain that follows is completely normal. Don't ever let anyone tell you how you should feel after a death of a pet.

Some people don't understand. They may never had the experience of the love, companionship and joy a pet could bring. In some ways, that fact is kind of sad to me.

I have so many terrific memories of pets I've own and been in the company of throughout my years.
I've done some research online about losing a pet and how to cope with it. I came across some terrific advice from Moira Anderson Allen, M.Ed.
  • Many people go through guilt and the "if only I had been more careful" syndrome. It's pointless to dwell upon the guilt of an accident or illness that claimed your pet's life, and only makes it more difficult to resolve your grief.
  • The most important step you can take is to be honest about your feelings. Don't deny your pain. Only by examining and coming to terms with your feelings can you begin to work through them. You have the right to feel pain and grief. Someone you loved has died, and you may feel alone and bereaved
  • Locking away grief doesn't make it go away. Express it. Cry, scream, pound the floor, talk it out. Don't try to avoid grief by not thinking about your pet; instead, reminisce about the good times. This will help you and others understand what your pet's loss actually means to you.
  • Some find it helpful to express their feelings and memories in poems, stories and even letters to their pet. Others rearrange their schedule to fill in the times they would have spent with their pet. Some also put together a memorial such as photo collages and talking with others about the loss.
  • Sometimes to the surprise of people who have multiple pets and lose one, they find the surviving pets may go through a grieving process. This is normal and yes, they do grieve. Pets often form a strong bond to one another. The surviving pet may need a lot of extra attention and love to help them through this period. Giving this extra love is not only good for the surviving pet but it's also wonderfully healing of your own grief.
As I look back at the pets I've lost and my friend's dog, Sheffield, who I loved as though he was my own, I think to myself that even though the pain of losing them is almost unbearable, the love and happiness they gave when they were with us by far makes up for it.

The post below I dedicate to Sheffield, one of the most loving dogs I ever had the pleasure of meeting. I'm so thankful for the time I had you in my life.

For more information about coping with the loss of a pet, please go to :

Friday, March 13, 2009

To Sheffield, With Love

I first met Sheffield when he was about a year old. My friend Gary told me about his yellow lab retriever and how much personality he had. With in minutes of meeting Sheffield I knew exactly what Gary was talking about.

Sheffield was a medium size lab with a whitish, yellow coat, small floppy ears and a brown line running down the front of his face. His dark brown eyes seemed to talk to you when he wanted something.
Sheffield's facial expression were with so much meaning that one could actually understand what this dog wanted by just looking at him.
He had attitude unlike any dog I've ever seen. He would love to play but when he was done, everyone was done.
He would turn his nose up at you in a second if he didn't like the way things were going.
He would watch over his younger brother George and would immediately alert us when George was misbehaving.
This is how he earned the nickname "Sheriff Sheff".

He would patrol the entire outer boundaries of his fenced in back yard. He loved to play catch, tug-o-war and go for rides in a car. But what Sheffield loved the most was a good swim. He loved the water.
Gary once told me how, when a puppy, Sheffie jumped into a lake and swam out until he was nearly gone from sight.
From a plastic pool in the yard to a filled bath tub, he loved the water.

Gary and Sheffield were made for each other. Both had very similar personalities. Both were loyal, trusting friends. Both loved each other unconditionally.
Sheffield was Gary's child, friend and companion.

I was struck by the way Gary cared for Sheffield. Sheffie was his main focus and love. His true best friend.
Gary's eyes would light up when talking about his four legged buddy and Sheffield would spring to life when Gary walked through the door.

When Gary brought home a brother for Sheffield, in the form of a over stuffed, hyper lab puppy named George, Sheff at first seemed unforgiving.
He wanted nothing to do with George, except to cover him with saliva and rough house him.
After a good few hours of this, suddenly Sheffield ran to a long stick, picked it up and brought it to the puppy George. Right away we realized that this was a "welcome to the family" gift.
From here on in Sheffield was the older brother. He would lead George, even though Geroge would out size Sheffield by a good 30 pounds.
Sheffield guided him, kept him in line and was a huge part in training along with Gary.

Sheffield was the watcher of the house. He was always alert and ready to pounce at any movement from outside, especially his arch enemy... the groundhog.
Sheff made this fat groundhog's life pure misery. Sheffield would run as fast as he could to the groundhog's hiding space every time he was let out into the backyard.
Every once in a blue moon Sheffie would actually see, and chase this huge rat like creature and even once caught him. Sheffield had no idea what to do once his nemesis was caught. He kind of studied him and then let him go.

Sheffield was a people's dog. he loved them and people loved him. He had manners and was distinguished. I always thought that if Sheffie could talk, he would have an English accent. Rarely would he beg for food. Instead he would find a way of slowly cuddling up to you and then would flash his big brown loving eyes your way in hope of going through your heart for his stomach.

In the last week, Gary noticed Sheffield was breathing funny and he wouldn't eat. It was obvious that something was terribly wrong with his faithful friend.
Gary had to wait five days before the vet could actually do an ultra sound test to Sheffield to see what was wrong.

In the true fashion of a devoted friend and father, Gary made Sheffield's world his world.
We were both afraid of the results. Gary would never let Sheffield see him cry. He reassured Sheffie that he loved him but there was no need for that because Sheffield always knew how much Gary loved him.
Gary was Sheffield's world.

Today they found a soft ball sized tumor near Sheffield's heart. There wasn't much that could be done except for a very brave and humane decision Gary had to painfully make.
Sheffield, Gary's lovable 6 1/2 year old puppy passed away while Gary stood by his side. With a kiss from Sheffield to Gary, he gently closed his eyes and said good bye.
Sheffield was so lucky to have Gary in his life and Gary was so lucky to have Sheffield. They both complimented each other unlike any human could do.

Gary did an incredible job in raising Sheffie and Sheffie did an incredible job in making Gary into who he is today, which is a man with an wonderfully big heart which now and forever will have a beautiful yellow lab in it named Sheffield.

Our hearts are broken without you and we'll never forget you my handsome puppy. I'll miss you more than I could ever say.