Friday, September 4, 2015

Does Your Dog Think That You Stink?

   Let me begin by saying this post has been 383 days in the making. Actually, it has been a 40+ year journey to get to August 17, 2014. What is so important about that date? It is the day that I smoked my last cigarette. I know it would be great for me to say that I hated smoking and had wanted to quit for years. That is just not the case. I enjoyed smoking; I only tried to quit a couple of times through my decades of this deadly addiction. Those of you that have never smoked are probably rolling your eyes or saying, “Ewww, nasty!” Believe me, I understand.
Close-up on Basset Hound's nose
   I began smoking as a very young teen in the 70’s. It was cool, I was cool…you get the picture. Of course, back in the day a pack of cigarettes was less than $1.00. Today, that same pack will cost you $5.00 or more depending on where you live. The cost was not why I kicked the habit. Although, it would be nice to buy a Colorado getaway with the cash that I have let go up in smoke!
   During my teens and early 20’s, I smoked around people. It wasn’t considered a big deal back then. Restaurants had ashtrays on the tables, people on television smoked, break rooms at our workplace looked like a smokestack, and nobody gave a thought to second or third-hand smoke. That began to change in the 80’s and by the turn of the century, you were pretty much uncool if you smoked. Suddenly, you had to go a certain number of feet from a building and there is no way that you could smoke indoors. As a smoker, it was a pain in the butt.
   Let me back up and explain that I did not smoke during either of my pregnancies. I also never smoked around my children. For the health of my kids and the consideration of others, I became a “closet smoker.” Many people will be surprised to know that I smoked at all.
The sensitivity of a dog's nose in an orange square
   When I left the workforce to pursue writing, as you can imagine, there was a lot of free time to smoke. That is not a good thing. Still, I’m a creature of habit and it was something that had been a part of my life for so long, the thought of stopping was scary. What if I become a mean angry person? What if I gain several gazillion pounds? Both of those were perfect excuses to continue to smoke. So, I did.
   Last year, several things happened that made me finally decide to quit. I am definitely not getting any younger and life is wonderful. I don’t want to leave anytime soon. Most of the time, it is just me with my husband and the dogs. None of them smoke. I know that they didn’t like it when I did. Then, I went to BlogPaws 2014. The keynote speaker, Dr. Kate Hodgson, D.V.M. explained some of the effects that smoking has on our pets. When she stated that toxins from 14-15 cigarettes can be found in the fur of pets in homes with smokers, it made me sick. Although I never smoked indoors, Bentley would come outside with me. My smoking was unhealthy for him.
   It still took me a while to make the decision to quit. Once I decided, I was determined not to fail. My husband agreed to tell me if I began acting possessed or anything. Surprisingly, it wasn’t extremely hard to stop. There were cravings and it was a long time before I could sit outside to enjoy my coffee. The important thing was to remember my triggers or the times that I always had a cigarette. Those were avoided as much as possible. The support of my husband and kids was very important to my success.
Nicotine from secondhand smoke information
   People always say that your ability to taste and smell would be the first things that you notice whenever you quit smoking. It hasn’t been a big difference to me. I live in the south, the food has always been ridiculously delicious! My sense of smell is fine and I don’t notice a difference. The biggest and best change to me has been with my Basset Hound, Bentley. He crawls up on my lap and gives kisses all of the time. That wasn’t the case when I was a smoker. It was his way of telling me that I used to stink to his highly sensitive nose! If I had known all of the extra snuggles and love that would come to me, I might have quit sooner!
Stats on smokers willing to quit for health of pet
   So, it has been a year since the last time that I lit up and I’m incredibly proud of myself. That was a demon that I took on and defeated. I did not become a raving maniac which is a good thing. I did gain weight, but that is a demon I will discuss another day.
   This is not a post to encourage people to stop smoking. You are grown and know the consequences of your addiction. When you are ready to quit, you will and no amount of lecturing from me will help. (You really should quit)
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**This is Part One of a series concerning the effects of the environment we share with our pets. I believe that you will be surprised to realize the cancers and other diseases that we unknowingly expose our pets to on a daily basis. The Puccini Foundation is dedicated to discovering more about the human-animal bond and our shared cancer treatments. I am excited to help spread their mission to other pet lovers.
Sources: 
https://puccinifoundation.org 
http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2009/09/17/how-cigarettes-and-smoking-impact-your-pets-health.aspx
No smoking Icons

61 comments :

  1. YAY So proud of you.
    My dad smoked all my life as a child, teenager and in my 20s. He FINALLY quit. It was so nice. He regrets ever smoking because his tastebuds have changed.
    So happy for you beating addiction. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. My kids were really happy when I quit too. I'm glad that I joined your Dad as a former smoker.

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  2. Well done, quitting smoking isn't easy butts...you've done it!!!!!!!!
    Loves an dlicky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

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    1. It was not as difficult as I had always feared. ♥

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  3. hugs to you! You chased nico&tina away YAY! I'm a loser at that front, but as Easy moved in, we decided only to smoke outside of his crib. Never inside, never in the car. maybe that was the first step to say bye to cigarettes... I still hope that I once can start my day with a coffee and without a cigarette :o)

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    1. The mornings were my worst times because I always sat on the patio my coffee and smoked. I have actually only been enjoying my morning coffee outside in the past few weeks. It has been worth the wait. ☺

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  4. That is awesome! Mom was allergic to smoke when she was younger, so it was never something she could do thankfully. So glad you quit and you are right. You can't make someone quit, they have to want to do it themselves. Your life and the lives of those around you are so much better smoke free. Awesome! My mom had to tackle an addiction way before my time, so she understands how hard it can be.

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    1. Thanks Emma! ♥ I feel so much better about myself and have decided I can take on anything now. LOL!

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  5. What an awesome post, Melissa! You told us all an enlightening story of your journey to your final cigarette. Parental Unit, too, was raised by smokers, and she herself smoked as a teenager and through college, but quit shortly thereafter. Her father died of a heart attack when he was quite young and she just was a teenager, and she was simply too afraid of the consequences to continue...

    And we both thank you for using some of the material provided by the Puccini Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness of pet and human cancers and to funding pet cancer research, in this post! We hope many people read this post and get the courage to quit—for themselves and their families, including their beloved pets!

    Thank you so much and congrats to you!

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    1. I appreciate the excellent information from the Puccini Foundation. It is the reason this post has become a series. Thank you so much!

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  6. As a former smoker I totally related to all you said. I miss smoking, but I would miss my dogs and family more.

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    1. That is really what it comes down to, isn't it? I feel exactly the same way.

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  7. OMG OMG OMG!! You will NOT believe how timely this is!!!!!!!! OMG! We need to talk! seriously!!! I am going to FINALLY be quitting smoking within the month.........I am using a book that my former downstairs neighbors gave to me, so far what I have read of it, it is incredible. I think that truly only former smokers completely understand what you have accomplished. Like you, I don't smoke inside but that doesn't matter. I am going to be contacting you. OMG this is BEYOND timely!! I am soooooooooooooo proud of you!! As for the weight, I am nervous about that too but I have been back in Weight Watchers for a little over a year and my leader said she is going to sit with me right before my stop smoking date and work with me and give me tips. If you ever want to consider Weight Watchers, I swear by them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    HUGE CONGRATS TO YOU! So happy for you and soooooooooooo proud of you!! I KNOW how hard it is!
    xoxo
    DakotasDen

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    1. Is it possible that we were separated at birth? LOL! Please contact me and I can share a few times that really helped me. My son just lost over 100 lbs with counting calories, so I am following his lead. Let's talk!

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  8. Melissa, WAY TO GO!!!!! I'm not sure if you remember me telling you a few months back I was wanting to quit as well? WELL, I did it too!!!!! It's been over 3 months since my hubby and I have had one!!!!! Woooohooooooo!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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    1. OMD! Jenna, I am SOOOOOOO happy and proud for you both! That is so wonderful for your children, dogs, cats, and yourselves! Congratulations. ♥

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  9. I am so proud of you. I am going to have Darlene read this post because she is a former heavy smoker. She quit when we got together - and she was a pack to pack and a half a day smoker. I cannot imagine what her health would be if she stayed smoking. This is such an important topic and one that not enough folks talk about.

    I would imagine you added years and years to your life. I know from having smoking friends, no one wants to hear a doctor say they found a mass or a "shadow" on an x-ray.

    Keep up the great work and sooooo stinking proud of you. Dar last smoked 22 years ago I believe. And I don't ever ever miss it. I am so glad I never got into it. I tried it and hated it - thank Dog.

    And your dogs thank you, too!

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    1. I appreciate it, Carol. It is an incredible journey, but it is a difficult first few steps. Give Dar a hug for her 22 years smoke-free! That is awesome.

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  10. Melissa, I love you :) You are amazing. SO proud of you for quitting, especially after so many years of smoking. Like any addiction, I know it's very hard to quit...then stay smoke free. I have a very special person in my life who is a recovered addict. It has given me a lot of experience with sobriety and remaining free of a drug.

    I love all of your reasoning and honesty. It's very interesting that Bentley cuddles with you more now! This is definitely worth sharing. I've never lived around a smoker, but I know how badly it can effect others. I figured it affected our pets, I just wasn't sure how. Thanks for educating me. You are awesome!!!!!!

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    1. Thank you, Amanda! I love you back. ☺ I appreciate you sharing this post on your FB. Your support means so much to me. I was really surprised at the difference in how Bentley loves and cuddles with me now. A benefit that nobody tells you about! LOL!

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  11. Omg! Congrats to you! Awesome stuff!!!!!!

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  12. Bravo, good job!!! You should be so proud!!!

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    1. Hi Earl! I am definitely feeling proud. Thanks!

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  13. Good for you! I've watched my Dad and my husband go through those struggles and I know they are real. The benefits to the pets is an added bonus!

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    1. The difference in Bentley is one of the reasons that I decided to share this story. The struggles are real and it helped me not working outside of my home where other smokers lurk. LOL!

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  14. This was interesting for our mom to read. She started smoking in the 70's back when it was cheap and very cool to be a smoker. Then she ended up being a 2+ pack a day smoker. In the early 90's she decided it was just too much of a pain in the butt to smoke since it wasn't allowed and people treated you like a second class citizen if you smoked. So she quit. She told dad that if she was gonna quit smoking he had to fence the yard. The reason for that was she had her first cig of the day by watching the dogs in the yard take their morning pee. If she wasn't smoking she knew she had to change that first thing of the day. The day dad put in the last fence pole mom smoked her last cig. Now she is a long distance runner. Kudos for you and yes, everyone needs to quit!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

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    1. Wow! As a long distance runner, I would have never thought your mom was a smoker. I am always amazed at her 12-mile runs! Congratulations. ♥

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  15. What a wonderful accomplishment!!!! Congratulations to you
    hugs
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

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  16. Yay! Congratulations on your accomplishment! It's interesting how it's impacting Bentley's behavior too.

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    1. I think if more pet parents that smoke knew what a difference it would make, they might decide to quit.

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  17. Congratulations!! You definitely deserve to be very proud of yourself! I never smoked as a habit myself, but my hubby quit both drinking and then smoking, and he said that quitting smoking was harder. He got help from the patch and support at his job, and almost everyone that went through the program with him went back to it. It's been 25 years since he quit!
    Jan, Wag n Woof Pets

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    1. That is awesome! I had tried the patch once before but was not really dedicated to quitting. It is a huge mind game.

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  18. Congratulations on being smoke-free for a year! That is really incredible. I've never smoked, but I've known a lot of people who do and have had to try to quit. It certainly is no easy task. As a kid, it drove me nuts that my dad smoked all of the time. Now that I'm an adult and I don't live around smokers all the time, cigarette smoke just makes me gag. I'm really proud of you for quitting and I'm sure Bentley is too.
    -Purrs from your friends at www.PlayfulKitty.net

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    1. It was so weird the first time that I passed by someone that had just smoked a cigarette and smelled them. Wow! I'm so happy that I don't have to worry about that again. Cigarette smoke stinks! LOL!

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  19. Paws up to you for quitting! It's a great thing you did for Bentley and YOU! :)

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  20. Congrats! Well done. :) I've never touched a cigarette (I can't get over the smell. It makes me so nauseous and light headed), but my dad smoked for a long time. He was so much happier when he quit.

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    1. I'm glad that your dad quit too. I can smell them now that I'm a non-smoker and it is...ugh! LOL!

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  21. Yay!!! As a fellow "started in the 70s as a teen" smoker, I quit almost 15 years ago and can say I feel 100% better!
    Great job!!

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    1. That's wonderful! If we'd only known then what we know now, right?

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  22. First, congratulations, Melissa! Quitting smoking was probably one of the most difficult things you've ever done. I admire your strength and determination and wish you continued success living a smoke free life.

    I, too, grew up in the 70's and learned that smoking was not just the cool thing to do, it was also how you fit in with your friends. I began with a puff or two of a friend's cigarette. I didn't even like it, but I wanted to be part of the "in" crowd. So those couple of puffs led to a few cigarettes a day to 1/2 pack to one pack.

    By the 1980's, I fell hard. Hook line and sinker! I was addicted and smoked one pack to one and a half packs of cigarettes a day!!!! I loved smoking, and I no longer cared about being a part of the crowd that smoked. I just wanted to be able to enjoy smoking cigarettes whenever and wherever I chose. Except during this time, the thing to do in the1980's was to quit smoking and be part of the population that wanted to live smoke free and healthy lives. It became a social stigma if you smoked.

    By the 1990's, I was now smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. The only time I wasn't smoking was when I was sleeping or teaching. I was now the only teacher in my school that continued to smoke. During this time you were no longer permitted to smoke in the school or on school grounds. You had to literally leave the property if you wanted to have a cigarette. The school district would fine you and you would receive a written warning if you were caught smoking on school grounds. If you were “captured” twice, you were fined and dismissed. The idea behind the fines and warnings was to make it difficult for anyone to smoke who still smoked.

    I began to think what my life would be like without my life preserver, my cigarettes, my best friend! I thought maybe I could do this. They're just cigarettes, how difficult can it be to quit? I tried nicotine gum! I tried the patch! I tried hypnosis! I tried talking to addiction counselors! I tried slowly tapering the number of cigarettes per day I could actually smoke! I participated in smoking cessation programs! I read books. I never succeeded at any of them. When I left the hypnosis session, I lit up a cigarette. I smoked while on the patch!

    I felt defeated. The cigarettes had won. I determined they were going to be a part of my life forever!

    Then one day I was on my lunch break and walked across the street from the school, my usual routine, to have a cigarette. Ironically, across the street is a cemetery. I stood there breathing in this wonderful smoke that gives me that quick buzz and draws me back for more and more! Ahhhhhh, such a sense of relief!

    As I smoked my cigarette, I looked around and saw myself surrounded by death, people who had passed on. For some reason, today felt different, and I don’t know why. I came her everyday. Here I was puffing on a cigarette, a cigarette that could slowly be causing my death, a slowly preventable death! Do I really want to be where these people are? I thought even these people in heaven didn't want to die. What would they have done differently if they could have lived longer? I realized I still have choices, and I needed to do something about it!
    ........continued below........

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  23. I decided I would quit smoking December 31, 1993 @ 11:59:59 p.m. cold turkey! It wasn't easy; it was definitely a challenge. I’ve never taken another puff of a cigarette since. I still miss it, and I know I always will. Cigarettes were my best friend for 21 years. I know if I were to ever take a puff of a cigarette again, I would never stop. I call myself a former nicotine addict knowing that at any time, I could easily be a smoker again. I can’t and won’t let that happen.

    Like you said, Melissa, when the person is ready to quit smoking, they will. I couldn’t agree with you more. The timing has to be right, and it MUST be their decision. They MUST want to do it for themselves first and foremost!

    I am so proud of you Melissa Clinton! Forty plus years is a long time to be dependent on something so deadly, but you did it. You are a wonderful writer, and such a positive influencer and inspiration to others. Your story can only help others move to their desired goals. Kudos to you. You have a real fan here!!!!

    I wish you only continued success in all you do.

    Darlene

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    1. Awwww, thank you very much. Your struggle is one I've seen with other friends too. It seems that once someone decides they aren't going to let cigarettes win, they are successful. I appreciate you sharing your story too. We can be in a mutual fan club! ♥

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  24. I congratulate you. I started smoking at 18 in the 60' s. I tried a couple of times but really decided to stop after I was diagnosed with diabetes and see some pictures of what happened to peoplr' s feet from asking with diabetes. I stopped in 1999 but started up again after Hurricane Rita. I smoked for a little over a year and stopped on New Years Eve 2006-2007 and have never smoked again. It didn't bother me too much until about 3 years ago. Someone recently when things are ready stressful I find myself wanting a smoke particularly after supper. That is my worst time. I never was on the habit of one first thing in the morning since I wasn't coffee drinker. I refuse to give in not least is the cost. I don't know how anyone on a fixed income can afford to smoke. I am very proud of anyone who manages to quit. Cuffs are very very addictive.

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  25. Congratulations on quitting. I have a close friend who is trying to quit, but she is having a rough time.

    My previous Persian couldn't stand being around people who smoked. Someone who walked in my house that was a smoker was immediately ignored, even if they loved cats.

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  26. First of all, Congrats!! Quitting smoking, like stopping any other addiction, is incredibly difficult and should be commended. :) I know you had to put the work in to quit, and I'm proud of you for that.

    I'm glad that when you were a smoker that you had the courtesy to go outside to smoke. Not everyone does. Here in Denver, you are not supposed to smoke within a certain number of feet of a building or bus stop, but everyone does it anyway, and the laws are not enforced at all around this. It is really frustrating to me, as an asthmatic, as I cannot be anywhere near smoke or I had an asthma attack. Oftentimes, I'll be coughing and wheezing near a smoker and they don't even bother to move away (and it's hard for me to move due to chronic pain). I am not sure that many smokers realize the impact they have on other people, let alone their pets, so thank you for sharing this post. I know that some will not be impacted by your post, but my hope is that your post will touch some people and inspire them to quit smoking the way you have, not only for their own health, but for the health and safety of the people and pets around them.

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  27. that is awesome, way to go! That is a big deal and I am proud of you too!

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  28. What an incredible post! I had no idea you ever smoked, I can't even think of you as a smoker. I'm so glad you quit, it is such a great health benefit for you and I'm sure a huge relief to your family who love you so much. I know how hard it must have been, but what a great achievement - Congratulations! I loved the HABRI presentation at BlogPaws2014, especially when they spoke about how many people quit smoking for the sake of their pets' health. I'm so happy it motivated you to quit! Thank you for sharing your story, I hope it motivates someone else to take that step and quit smoking.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  29. Both of my moms smoked. One was a closet smoker too (though my brother and I discovered later that she was smoking in addition to drinking), and the other one recently quit cold turkey. Going to her house is so much nicer now. The whole house isn't covered with smoke smell. My eyes would hurt from staying inside too long and when I got home I'd have to shower and wash all of my clothes to try to get rid of the smoke smell. My siblings and I stay and visit much longer now than we did before when it was cloaked in smoke smell. Congratulations on quitting smoking for and with the help of your pups :)

    www.tiffanysdiamonddogs.com

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  30. Bentley's face is the cutest thing ever! :D What a great decision you made for you and your pups! <3 Wishing you the best health ever for you guys! <3

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