I started working with Qkids in March of 2018. My life was going through a drastic change causing a whirlwind of events that had a large effect on my future. My husband of 10 years announced that he wanted a divorce. I met my ex-husband at work many moons ago and we decided to marry in 2008. During our marriage, I began to have problems with severe anxiety as a result of my line of work. I worked as an artist in the video game industry and at times the stress could be quite unbearable. In 2010, I lost my job due to a mass company-wide layoff. After losing my job, my ex-husband and I agreed that it would be best I not return to an office job due to the anxiety it caused. As a result, I started to work as a freelance worker illustrating educational content, writing and illustrating children’s books.
Being a freelance worker was the perfect way to keep my anxiety in check. Although I did not have a huge salary, I was able to keep house and have a small income on the side. My ex-husband had a very well paying job, so everything balanced out. Last January, when he announced that he wanted to separate, I was shocked and quite scared. My freelance work was not enough to keep my head above water if I had to support myself. I did not want to return to a full-time office job out of fear that it would awaken my anxiety resulting in health problems. I began to search online for other freelancing options and I found Qkids.
After reading more about Qkids, I knew that it was the perfect solution for me so I applied for the job. The process was quite quick and I was hired within 3 weeks. My life began to change the moment I started working with Qkids. I had never heard of teaching online before applying for this job. Today, I could not see my life without teaching online. Qkids helped me to build self confidence, to put my fears aside and to push through what was probably the most difficult time in my life. Qkids helped to give my life new value and new purpose. Because of Qkids, I was able to get through my separation while feeling confident that I could support myself.
I have never had a job that is so rewarding and mentally satisfying. Waking up to smiling kids eager to learn every morning helps make each day all that brighter. Having the opportunity to work with children and to see their progress really gives my life meaning. I have never felt a greater sense of accomplishment as I have teaching online with Qkids. Teaching online helps me to balance my life, giving me the time to do the things I enjoy while having a great steady paying job. The best part is that I can do it from the comfort of my own home. Since beginning to teach online with Qkids I have learned a lot about ESL and the online teaching industry. I’ve completed two online courses, one for each TESOL and TEFL. These courses opened up my mind to a whole new world of knowledge and possibilities. Qkids has helped me to make my life the very best that it can be.
I still continue to work as a children’s book author and illustrator. I also work as an online influencer blogging about pet products as a result of my cat, Oreo, being famous. Divorce doesn’t mean your life ends. It can mean that your life is just beginning. Although it was difficult, my divorce resulted in me finding the best job I’ve ever had and living the very best life I can live.
Dream jobs do exist. You just have to be willing to adjust your lifestyle and do the work.
Make a difference
If you’re looking for a rewarding job that really makes a difference, look no further than teaching online with Qkids! For more information and to apply visit: http://teacher.qkids.net
Referral code: HFIIWN
Tina Modugno is a children's book author and illustrator from Canada. She currently resides in the province of Quebec along with her cat Oreo (The Oreo Cat), who is a famous feline celebrity. Together Oreo and Tina create short family friendly video content for popular online applications. Oreo's popularity has inspired Tina's writing and she's published various books featuring her fluffy black and white cat.
For more information about Oreo visit: www.theoreocat.com
Tina's work: www.tinamodugno.com
Today I had to make one of the hardest decisions I will make in my lifetime. Looking at Sunshine, I could see that she was no longer happy. After 19 and a half years, our time together has come to an end.
I met Sunshine in 2001, when I first moved out of my parent’s house. It was my first time living on my own and the reassurance of having a pet comforted me. I will never forget the first day we met. It was at the SPCA in Montreal on June 16th, 2001. I walked into the cat room, observed all of the cages and came upon this cute little black and white kitten of around 6 weeks old. He was feisty, fluffy and adorable. I took him out of his cage and brought him into the play area to see if we’d click. I’d never had a cat before so I was not aware of their temperament. This kitten didn’t like me it seemed. He started hissing and waving his paws at me. 20 times smaller than me, he scared me. I decided he wasn’t the one. As I walked back into the area with the cages, I could hear this weird squeaking noise. I looked around but wasn’t sure where it was coming from. Finally, I crouched down in front of a cage on the floor and peered into it. The squeak was coming from the back of the cage. I could see two little eyes and some orange ears poking out from behind a litter box.
I spoke softly and the orange eared cat came out from her hiding spot and walked up to the front of the cage. This little striped orange tabby the color of the sun, was completely disheveled and sounded more like a mouse than a cat. I opened the cage door and picked her up and she instantly hugged me. I knew right then and there that I had found my soulmate. On that day, I adopted Sunshine and she became my best friend.
Sunshine had a difficult start. The SPCA told me that Sunshine was around 6 months old and that she had been spayed. Sunshine and I went home to our new apartment and stared our lives together. A few weeks after adopting Sunshine, I woke up to the horror or her having a miscarriage right on my bed. It was 3 am and there was blood everywhere. It was probably one of the scariest experiences I’ve ever had. I immediately rushed her to an animal hospital. The hospital told me what was going on and that Sunshine was definitely not spayed. She was pregnant from the moment I got her. The hospital told me that they could not treat her as she was adopted from the SPCA. They said I would have to bring her there for treatment. Petrified, I took Sunshine back home and called the SPCA. Around 7 am, they phoned me back and told me to bring Sunshine in immediately.
The SPCA apologized multiple times for their mishap and told me they’d have to keep Sunshine for a few days. They were unsure of whether she’d survive this or not but they’d do their best. I was heartbroken. They kept Sunshine for a total of 5 days. I visited her everyday. Finally after what seemed like the longest 5 days of my life, Sunshine was ready to come home.
Sunshine went through many health issues during her life and I thought I was going to lose her many times. She suffered from Kidney disease and went through many rough times, but she always ended up pulling through. For the past little while she was howling for a few seconds over a dozen times daily. She’d just kind of lose herself and stare at the walls and yell. Caring for her was getting to be a lot of work and sometimes I lost my patience and just cried. She started to have lots of accidents and make lots of messes. She’d often step in her pee on the way out of the litter box and track it all over the house. I’ve never washed my floor so much in my entire life as I have in the past few months. In addition to the pee-pee paw prints, she also threw up a few times daily. Even with all of that, she was still playful, so I hung on and let her enjoy those moments. She’d also still snuggle at bedtime and loved to sleep on my head and chew on my hair.
This past weekend she stopped howling completely and she spent most of the day in her bed. She could not even go to the bathroom herself. I had to bring her to the litter box, stand her in it and let her pee, then bring her back to her bed. That’s when I realized that this time, she was not going to pull through. Seeing her the way she has been these past few days broke my heart and I knew that her time had come. I kept wishing that all of a sudden she’d bounce back, but this time things were different. Sunshine was with me through the good and the bad, relationships and breakups, job loss, new jobs and several moves. No matter how up or down I was, she was always beside me. Her unconditional love got me through many hardships and I am so grateful for everything she did for me throughout our years together. She really was my ray of sunshine.
Sunshine, I will miss you more than you know. My pillow will seem so empty at night without you. May you find peace up there among all of the amazing pets that have passed. Until we meet again my golden angel, I love you dearly.
Monday December 10th, 2018
Oreo is pretty much back to himself today and I am so glad. Yesterday I tried giving him hard kibble again. It scares me beyond belief now, but he did alright. He still tried to eat it too fast, but I stood right next to him and watched him like a hawk. I removed the automatic feeders I have that were set to go off various times a day. Oreo eats very small portions many times daily because he can't control how much he stuffs his face. I am too afraid to leave the feeders out after everything as sometimes Oreo will push them around and pieces will fall out. I don't want that to happen while I am sleeping or not home so I've removed them completely.
I am not using a bowl yet either. I am using his NoBowl to feed him instead. This way he has no choice but to eat slowly. Oreo also eats a dental formula that is much larger in size than regular kibble. This forces him to chew the pieces rather than just swallow them. With his NoBowl, only 2 or three pieces come out at a time and he's got to kick the thing around to get them all out. This is the safest way to feed him dry food for now. Still, I am very scared and paranoid. Oreo was using the automatic feeders because he wakes me up in the middle of the night for food. Without the feeders going off, I will get less sleep... but I will worry less. I would rather have to wake up and feed him than worry about him choking in the middle of the night. Last night I got up at midnight and fed him a bowl of wet food with a bit of pumpkin mixed in. I won't be feeding him kibble during the night anymore either. I am too afraid something might happen and rushing him to a vet a that hour would not be easy.
So for now, I will be keeping an eye on him while he eats and rearranging his feeding schedule a bit so that it can accommodate all of us. I am looking into getting a couple of automatic feeders that can accommodate wet food also. It's a lot to have to do, but he is my life! I don't know what I would do without him and whatever needs to be done to ensure his safety, I will do.
I will also make an appointment for him at a new vet in the next couple of weeks. I will let his bruises heal up first. I'd like to go and check if he may have some form of swallowing disorder seeing as he chokes so often. I want to look at taking him to another vet to get a second opinion on the situation and also to see if Oreo might be more comfortable with someone else. I am very grateful at everything his current clinic has done for him in the past week, but I am wondering if Oreo might be less likely to freak out if we tried someone else. I hate seeing those bruises on him and I'd love for him to be comfortable enough that things like that won't happen next time around.
If you're still following the blog, this will be my last entry for this issue. If any other situations arise, I will definitely write a new blog post and keep you all informed!
Tina & Oreo.
Saturday December 8th, 2018
I was pretty concerned that Oreo had not pooped in a few days yesterday so I phoned the vet back and took an appointment for this morning. Luckily, Oreo passed stool during the night. The poor little dude got it stuck in his fluff and it was quite the conundrum to get it out! I had to chase him around with a comb in the middle of the night. I was finally able to use the comb to dislodge the piece of poop that was stuck to him. He was not happy, but once he realized what I had done, he gave me some love. Seeing as he pooped, I called the vet back this morning and cancelled the appointment. Oreo is still peeing a lot, that still concerns me too, but I think he needs a couple more days rest before he gets stressed out again. I will see how things improve over the weekend and make another appointment for him next week.
I have still been adding extra water to his food and yesterday he ate a little bowl of roasted pumpkin. The pumpkin also had quite a bit of water in it. Maybe he's just peeing more because his water intake is more than usual. I will wait until Monday to start feeding him kibble again. I am still petrified that he will choke. I tried starting him slow this morning by giving him a canned food that had chunks in it instead of a paté. He almost choked on it once again. I really don't know what to do about the velocity at which he constantly tries to shovel in his food. I've tried everything under the sun to get him to eat slower. He's tried a number of slow feeders, some that he's even been able to break. I've tried portioning his meals and I've also tried food puzzles. Oreo is just a food monster and I am forever going to be paranoid after this.
Oreo still has pretty bad bruising from the tests. I feel terribly to see the marks on him. I hope they heal up fast. I will give him another dose of Metacam today. He has 4 doses to take and this will be the third one. Regardless of his bruising, he was running around playing this morning so that is a good sign.
Friday December 7th, 2018
Oreo slept well last night, so did I! I went to bet at 7:30 pm and caught up on some lost sleep. I got up around 11:30 pm to feed him his snack. He's been eating normally but he is still not drinking. I am not extremely concerned about that seeing as I have still been adding water to his food. He is also still peeing a lot but it could be the wet food that is making him pee more. I've still not been able to get a urine sample. He just won't go in the litter with the beads. I noticed he has not pooped since this whole ordeal too. I am more concerned about that than anything else. He's been taking his daily dose of Laxatone and I gave him about a quarter of a teaspoon of Olive Oil this morning. I've also roasted off some pumpkin that I will puree and add to his food. I've used that before for bathroom trouble and it always seems to help. I hope I will see some poop by the end of the day.
I will call the vet again later today to let them know he is still peeing quite often and that I've not been able to collect a sample. We'll see what they'll want us to do. Ideally, if he can wait until Monday to go back so he can get a few more days rest, that would be great. I don't want to stress him out yet again by going back today or tomorrow. He seems alright physically, other than his bruises. I gave him his dose of Metacam this morning so that should help a little with the swelling. He also played with Onyx this morning while I had my classes. The two of them were chasing one another around like they often do. It was good to see Oreo run around. It means he's got his energy back.
We've yet to make some new videos. I will try and work with him a little today and see how he fairs. I don't want to force him or stress him, so if he's not in the mood I will hold off a bit longer. Hopefully by next week, we'll be back to normal and be able to get our work done!
Thursday December 6th, 2018
Oreo had a good night last night. He ate his meals and he slept with me on my bed the whole night. I think he was still a little shaken up from the events and it comforted him to cuddle a little. He woke at 1:30 am and I fed him a snack which he gobbled up leaving not a crumb. This morning he ate all of his breakfast and he is now resting. He is still not as active as he normally would be, however he is still on medication so it may have some form of effect on him. He took his anti-inflammatory last evening in his food. I have yet to try giving him his other medication today. I fear that may be difficult. I am more concerned about his eating and drinking than anything else. So as long as he is actively doing both, I am happy. He was quite dehydrated yesterday so I've been adding extra water to his wet food and he has been consuming it willingly.
I've still not been able to get a urine sample. I have a feeling he will have to go back to the vet to get one. I will let him rest some more today and see how he is feeling tomorrow. So far so good though, I can see lots of improvement over the last few days. Hopefully he will be closer to himself by the weekend.
Thanking you all once again for all of your amazing love and support throughout this whole ordeal.
Wednesday December 5th, 2018
I had a HUGE scare with Oreo this week. He choked on a cat treat that he’s eaten many times before. The problem with Oreo is that he eats too fast sometimes. He kind of sucks his food up like a feline vacuum cleaner. This time the treat got stuck in his throat and he started wheezing and gagging. I thought he’d throw up, but after about a minute or so it was apparent that he was not going to, so I rushed him to the vet immediately. Luckily, he was still breathing but the treat was obviously making it very difficult for him to swallow.
The staff at the clinic were amazing. I ran in asking for help and they dropped everything. They set aside other appointments to help us right away. They did 2 X-rays and put him under an anesthetic so that they could dislodge the treat. He has medication for 2 weeks to help with the irritation and he needs to eat only soft foods for the week. While I was waiting at the vet, I started to cry with worry. There was a woman there with her two dogs, a schnauzer and a terrier. The little terrier came and sat next to me and started licking my face when it saw me crying. Thank the Lord for animals. They are the most wonderful beings on this Earth.
Last evening Oreo was really not himself. He would not eat or drink anything. He just wandered around aimlessly and slept a lot. He was peeing a lot more than usual too which was strange seeing as he didn't drink anything. Oreo didn't want to sleep in my bed last night so I slept on the floor beside him to be able to monitor him throughout the night. I woke up a few times to try and feed him, but no dice. This morning he finally ate some watered down Friskies. He went back to the vet for additional testing. He had his Kidneys checked out and the numbers were a little abnormal. I have to try and get a pee sample withing the next couple of days so that a urine analysis can be done. If I am unable to get the sample, we will need to return to the vet to have it done there. They did not want to do it today seeing everything else they did. The poor critter got poked and prodded enough and he didn't have enough liquid in his bladder to give a large enough sample.
Since posting about this on Monday, Oreo and I have received an unbelievable outpouring of generosity and affection from his followers. You cannot believe how thankful I am to have this wonderful community of people willing to help in our time of need. Between the purchases of his merchandise and donations that have come in to help with his bills, we've collected over $2000. His vet bills have been paid off in full and the rest will be put towards whatever else he needs coming up. I've included the current bills below. I am missing one for canned food that totaled around $30.
I’ve never been so scared in my life. I don’t know what I’d do without him. I love him more than anything in this world. I will update this blog with current events as the situation progresses. For now, he is home and resting. He will need a few days to recover from everything he's gone through. He should hopefully be back to himself after a few days. I will keep an eye on the Kidney situation and post any updates here. A huge thank you to everyone for your support, kindness and generosity. We are very lucky to have all of you. God Bless each and every one of you.
Tina & Oreo
Happy Senior Pet month! I consider myself so lucky to have my little old lady Sunshine by my side for 19 years and counting. Everyday with her is a blessing! 💚
During the month of November, shelters and rescues across the country hope those looking to adopt a new furry family member will consider a senior pet. Senior pets are often overlooked and can unfortunately live out the rest of their lives in a shelter. There are many benefits to adopting a senior pet such as the fact that they are calmer and less energetic, making them ideal for households with young children. Unlike their younger counterparts, they need less patience, energy and training. What many first time adopters of younger pets are not prepared for is the amount of hard work that can go into housetraining a puppy or kitten.
A senior pet may need more healthcare than a younger pet but they still deserve to live out the rest of their lives in a happy, loving home! Adopting a senior pet can also be a very rewarding experience in the sense that you truly are saving a life that another has turned away. This November, please help to spread the word about senior pets and help to give them a chance at a happy retirement!
As a pet owner, I value the importance of keeping my pet happy and healthy! Providing my pet with good quality nutrition daily shouldn't have to break the bank! That's why Whole Hearted has created wholesome recipes to fit our lifestyle. Naturally grain free and enriched with vitamins, probiotics and Antioxidants, Whole Hearted knows that it's what's on the inside that counts!"
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Dehydration is a lack of water in the body. This can cause complications for people as well as for pets! Extreme heat can place our pets in danger or exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke. Just like humans, our pet’s bodies are made up of a large percentage of water. This is why it’s so important to see to it that your pet gets enough fresh water daily.
The Seascape Pet Fountain from PetSafe® provides 70 ounces of fresh, filtered water. With a ceramic finish and a low-voltage pump, the Drinkwell Seascape fountain quietly circulates water in a constant flow, making it clean and appealing to pets. The flow of water is extremely quiet, making it easily approachable. The Seascape Pet Fountain is dishwasher safe, includes an an open-cell foam to capture pet hair and activated carbon filter to remove odors.
Keeping our pets healthy is the most important part of being a pet owner. PetSafe® makes it easy for us to help our pets stay happy, healthy and hydrated!
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This post has been sponsored by PetSafe®
A little while back I wrote about my current separation with my spouse. Since then, all of the steps have been made in order to file for divorce. The whole process was not easy and I can definitely say that it has been quite a learning experience. When I got married 10 years ago, I never imagined being in this position. Life sometimes throws you things that are unexpected. The past few months have not been easy and the cats and I had no alternative other than to live in a toxic environment until we were able to leave. The type of work that I do does not make life easy financially, therefore I had to continue living with my spouse under the same roof while making arrangements to move out. When all of this first began in January, I was heartbroken and I felt betrayed. I was not sure how I was going to get through this. As time went by, I realized that the person I had been with for 10 years was a complete stranger. Part of being married is promising to be honest and not to keep secrets. Meanwhile a secret had been kept from me for many years.
Of course, there are two people in a marriage and I don't deny that I did some things I am not proud of. Once inside of this huge tower of terror, I realized the reasons behind how I acted in certain situations. It all boiled down to the fact that I was angry. I was angry about a lot of things that happened throughout the years of our relationship. There were countless times where I felt unimportant. Friends and material things were always put above me. No matter how hard I tried to discuss these issues with my spouse at the time, defensiveness and temper tantrums always resulted from it. For some reason, I would always find myself apologizing in the end for something that I didn't even do. I realize now that I was very easily made to feel guilty. Things like jealousy, dishonesty, lies and temper were always the instigator and I just allowed myself to accept them as though they were just a normal part of a relationship. Obviously they are not and my conscience took it's toll. I've never been so angry at someone for so many things. Sometimes that anger would fuel me to nag causing further upsets in the relationship. Regardless of the anger, I can honestly say that I always made an effort. Marriage was always something that was important to me. It means family and it means that you work together at solving your problems. I always did my best regardless of the situation to be open minded and willing to work to solve whatever issues arised. Even after my spouse told me he wanted a divorce, I did my best to try to see if we could resolve it.
My efforts were not lost as I learned a lot about myself through that process and I have become a genuinely happier person. Doing the work made me realize that I am important too and that I deserve to be happy. I can't force someone else to love me and I can't force someone else to work at something if they've already checked out years ago. All of these stepping stones helped to make me a stronger person.
So as of today, my new life begins. I've moved with Oreo, Onyx and Sunshine. I have to say that driving away yesterday and leaving the mess of anger behind felt very liberating. The cats seem to be settling in fine already! Sunshine surprised me the most! She was up and about as soon as I opened her taxi door. She began exploring rooms and window ledges and she's eating really well! Oreo checked out the balcony right away and he showed me his appreciation by stretching out belly up in the sun. Onyx is the only one who is having a little trouble adjusting. Although I can understand with all the hustle and bustle that it must be frightening for her. She's been hiding under the bed covers since last evening. Oreo has coaxed her out a few times to come and explore. She seems happy regardless, she will just take a little longer to get use to it. I am a little concerned about Sunshine as I found a lump between her neck and her chest a couple of weeks ago. As many of us well know, lumps and bumps are never a good sign. I was unsure of what to do but once I spoke with my vet, I feel I am doing the right thing. My vet reassured me that at her age (18 years old), lumps and bumps will appear. At this point, what is most important is that she is happy and that she is enjoying her everyday, which she is! They told me to just keep her with me as long as she is happy and not to stress her out with biopsies and treatments and whatnot. So that's what I am doing. I am very lucky that she is here with me and as long as she is happy that's what matters.
This is the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I am looking forward to sharing it with everyone. I can honestly say that I am content with my life just the way that it is at this moment. I am grateful and lucky to have such a wonderful and supportive family and to have a place that I can now call my own. Sometimes we have to live through the bad to find the good. Out of all of the heap of anger and discouragement came Oreo and Onyx. They are two of the best things that have ever happened to me and I would do it all over again just for them.
Here's to new beginnings...
I have had quite an interest in this machine for some time. A few of my close friends, who are cat owners, have a Litter-Robot and I’ve heard nothing but good reviews on the product. Needless to say, I was excited to test it out myself. We’ve had the unit for about 2 weeks and so far I have nothing but good commentary.
I have to admit that I was a little concerned at the beginning as to how my cats would react to this mighty beast of a machine, however, I was pleasantly surprised. The Litter-Robot was a cinch to set up and Oreo approached the machine almost immediately to investigate. Within 30 minutes he had already used it. Onyx followed shortly after. The instructions recommend that you place it next to your current litter box and allow your cats to some time to get use to the unit. Sit with your cat(s) while the cleaning cycle is in motion and allow them to see it while gently talking to them so that they begin to get comfortable with the sound the Litter-Robot makes. It is not at all a loud sound and my cats were not afraid to watch as the Litter-Robot did a full spin cycle cleaning the used litter clumps. Once your cat(s) have used the Litter-Robot a few times, you can turn the timer on allowing it to automatically sift at a specific timed setting after each use. Once your cats are comfortable with the unit, you can remove the old litter box and begin your scoop-free days.
The whole process took my cats about 3 days, however a longer grace period is recommended. I was really pleasantly surprised at how comfortable they got with the Litter-Robot so quickly.
How it works:
Timed settings: There are three different timed settings available before the globe starts rotating. 3 minutes, 7 minutes and 15 minutes. The timer will go off as soon as your cat steps into the Litter-Robot. A sensor will detect a shift in weight inside of the globe and set the timer off to the setting you’ve chosen. If you have multiple cats, a lower setting may be more efficient as to eliminate odors as much as possible.
LED night-light: The globe automatically lights up at night with a soft blue light allowing your cats to see the unit in the dark.
8 hour sleep mode: You can set the unit so that it stops operating at night and continue operating the next day. The sleep mode will repeat each night.
Connect: The connect feature uses an app (presently only available in the US) that gives you the ability to check your cat’s Litter-Robot usage in real-time. This feature provides graphs and daily, weekly or monthly reports regarding usage. You can check the waster drawer in real-time and get a history of cleaning cycles. The connect app also allows you to trigger a cleaning cycle directly from your iphone or ipad. You can control multiple units with the connect app.
Money-Back Guarantee & Warrantee: The Litter-Robot Open Air comes with a 90 day money back guarantee and an 18 month warrantee.
In addition to these great features, a battery back-up option is also available as a separate accessory. This allows the unit to work during a power outage.
So what is my verdict on this machine? I LOVE IT! Within just a few days of using it, you will see a HUGE decrease in litter usage. This makes me very happy as it saves money on litter. The Litter Robot Open Air is a must-have for any cat owner. It makes life easy-breazy!
My only con about the unit is the physical size. If you are limited on space, it could be an issue. However when you think of how many litter boxes it can eliminate, things pretty much balance out!
For more information about The Litter-Robot Open Air please visit: https://www.litter-robot.com/ca/en/
I never thought I would write a blog post on this subject, let alone the fact that the post be about my personal experience. If you are someone who believes strongly in marriage and family, like me, divorce is something that is unimaginable. When I got married 10 years ago, I never imagined my spouse asking me for a divorce. I thought that being married meant that come what may we get over the hurdles and mountains together and keep going. However, things don't always work out as we imagined they would.
I met my spouse at my workplace at the time. He was actually my boss on a project and was in the midst of purchasing a home with his then long-time girlfriend. I was single and we became friends quite quickly while working together. One evening during an after work cocktail party, he hugged and gently told me in my ear as I was leaving the bar, that he liked me. I was in shock and didn't know what to say, I think I told him he smelled nice. On my way home I didn't know how to place my thoughts in regards to his proclamation. He had a girlfriend, what about her? Did I like him back? The next morning I woke up to an email from him explaining that he is in a happy relationship and he is not sure how these feelings for me came about, but they are there and he is not sure what to do with them. I told him I was not sure what to make of all of it and that he needs to figure out things in his head. I was single after all, with no responsibility, but he had a responsibility to be truthful to his then partner.
As time went by, we became pretty good friends and one day he came into work pretty upset. He pulled me aside and told me that he left his girlfriend and he wanted to try to pursue a relationship with me. Again, I was in shock. Wow, he must really have strong feelings to make that decision, I thought. So, I accepted and we started seeing one another. Low and behold a year later, we decided to get married. I moved into his home a year before our wedding. Things from the beginning were sometimes rocky and his temper would often fly off the handle quite easily. I became uncertain many times about the union, but I always gave him the benefit of the doubt. Knowing that in his heart, he was a kind and generous man. His friends would also always reassure me.
As our years of marriage went on we both changed quite a bit. We got older and started to like different things. We began to argue more often about frivolities. We decided that perhaps solidifying our relationship by having a child would help us. We didn't realize at the time, that kids don't solidify relationships. We underwent 2 in-vitro treatments in the hopes of conceiving, but both were unsuccessful. The time spent together during the second treatment really tore us apart in a big way. Both of us said some things and did some things that really left a mark on the other person. As a result, we both began to bottle up our anger. Mine would come out in nagging sessions and his would either explode in temper tantrums or do the complete opposite and make him extremely distant. At this point I lost my job on top of everything. I was, unfortunately, part of a massive layoff and I was pretty devastated. Luckily, I had a year's severance pay and so I decided to start working as a freelancer. My spouse was very supportive agreed to let me try working from home and so I began getting contracts.
Enter Oreo. Oreo came into our lives during my period of Employment Insurance. Little did I know the effects he would have on my freelancing career. Oreo slowly became part of everything I do and working with him made me so happy. Things with my spouse were still up and down quite a bit and bottled up anger still flew around in different ways. After a few terrible outbursts, I decided to ask my spouse to go and see a marriage counselor. The counseling sessions were difficult at the beginning and he didn't really want to go, but in the end he did a lot of talking which I think was good for him. We decided to work on things as best we could. On my end, things seemed to start getting better. We were arguing less and I was putting more time on my work than ever.
Even though we were arguing less, something else was different. As time went by we got further and further apart. Neither of us wanted to make the first move in approaching the other one and so we just became more distant. The more distant you get, the less you talk, so of course there are no arguments. He had his things, I had mine and we both did things separately. After a while it sort of felt like we were just roommates. In my head, I just kept telling myself "It's a phase, we are married and things will get better when they are meant to get better." I now wish I had looked at things differently.
When the words "I don't love you anymore" were spoken (or texted in our case), my heart exploded. I had so many feelings rushing through myself and I didn't know how to control any of them. I blamed myself for everything and slowly my whole world came crashing down on top of me. At first, I tried to talk with my spouse and ask why he is no longer in love with me. The responses were difficult to hear. I asked if we could work on things and he just kept saying "I don't know". I didn't know what to do. I didn't want a divorce. Days went by with the "I don't know" answer until finally he said the words "I want a divorce". I could see he was not happy but I didn't understand why. I though it was just a phase, the distance between us. For him it was something else. I did a lot of thinking after this and I read some information online. I was determined at the beginning to fix things. I got a book called "Mend The Marriage", and read it hoping to find some strategies. This book blew my mind. Reading that book really helped me to realize all of the mistakes I made during the 10 years we have been together. It made me realize that I need to be a better person. I had been so angry for so many reasons that I kept hidden inside. They would come out in nagging sessions that really hurt my spouse. Regardless of what he did that made me angry, it was my decision to behave in the ways that I did and I needed to take responsibility for that. So that's where I am now.
These past few weeks have been very hard. I am scared. At my age finding a new job that will support me will be extremely difficult. Where will I go? What will I do? I have cried so many tears that I have none left. After it all I take a look around me and I see my pets, my cats. They are my rock, they are my strength. It's amazing how they can sense things. Since this whole ordeal began they have been by my side every moment of the day. They have helped comfort me in so many ways. My cat Onyx has been sleeping in the guest room for the past week or so. It's almost as though she knew I was going to move in there, and I have. Yes, it's so sad and yes, it's so scary but with my pets here with me it seems to take a bit of the hurt away. When I get into bed at night the cats all pile into the room. It's like a big warm hug telling me things will be OK. Yes, I still have hope that maybe my spouse will change his mind, but even if he does not I will be OK.
Unlike humans, pets can show an enormous amount of unconditional love. No matter what we go through in our lives our pets are always there to comfort us and let us know we are loved. They can make even the toughest situations all that much easier to get through. I don't know what will happen in the coming months but I do know that my pets being there will help to give me the strength to get through anything.
For anyone going through something similar, it's important to stop blaming yourself. Putting blame on yourself or your spouse won't help the situation. Nasty hurtful words may fly during this time that are out of sheer anger. Don't allow those things to put you in a stagnant place. Keep moving and keep pushing ahead. LOVE YOURSELF during this time. Let yourself know that it's OK to make mistakes, be responsible for those mistakes and make changes in a positive way for your future. And if you have pets... let them love you!
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. - Serenity Prayer - Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
During the holiday season, things can get busy. Visits with family and friends are on our daily to-do list and being away from home can be stressful for pet owners. The Arf Pets automatic feeder helps alleviate some of the holiday stress by allowing pet owners to program up to 4 set meals per day.
Dispensing from 2 tbsp to 1 cup per feeding, the Arf Pets automatic feeder is an idea solution for pets of all sizes. Featuring customizable portion control, a 1.4 gallon food capacity and and lcd clock and display, the feeder is easy to program. Additional features include a magnetic lock, keeping paws out of the food and a the ability to record a personal greeting for feeding time.
The Arf Pets automatic feeder runs on batteries or power and is for dry pet food only.
Great for pet parents who are on the go, or for pets who have a tendency of disrupting sleep patterns as a result of searching for food during the night.
The Arf Pets automatic feeder is available through these online retailers:
Also available at Walmart.
*This post has been sponsored by www.camarketing.com
Tina Modugno is a children’s illustrator from Canada. Tina loves all animals, kids books and cartoons! She currently resides in Quebec with her husband and four cats!