The staff at the Angel Refuge Pet Cemetery & Crematory Inc. are pleased to provide you with an online newsletter. This fact-filled newsletter is updated on a regular basis.

Included in the newsletter are articles pertaining to memorial and burial services, end-of-life care, grief counseling and more.

Current Newsletter Topics

10 Common Questions Asked after the Loss of a Pet

The loss of a cherished animal companion can cause extreme sadness, intense guilt and a whirlwind of other emotions. Often, you will seek answers to questions that may not be black and white. Below, you will find some of the most common questions pet owners ask of themselves while grieving the death of a pet.

1. When is the right time to euthanize a pet?

Your veterinarian will make a recommendation based on your pet's physical condition and long-term outlook. You, however, have the unique insight into your pet's daily quality of life. By evaluating your pet's health honestly, you will be able to work with your veterinarian to come to the most humane decision for your individual pet. The decision to euthanize will never be easy, but is often the final act of love you can provide a pet who is suffering.

2. Should I stay with my pet during euthanasia?

This is a completely personal decision that you will need to make. Many pet owners want to be there for their pets and witness it so they can see it happened peacefully and without pain. This can be traumatic, but not witnessing the death may make it harder to accept that the pet is really gone. Also, you want to gauge your own emotional strength- if you have an uncontrolled outpouring of emotions before your pet passes, it may be upsetting for him or her to witness. Euthanasia can sometimes be performed at home. Discuss your options with your veterinarian beforehand.

3. I've heard of the stages of grief, but what are they?

The grieving process is often illustrated by five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Typically, you will move through them progressively, but everyone grieves in different ways. You'll know you're beginning to heal when you're thinking more rationally and more often of the good times you shared with your pet rather than of the "what-ifs" and the guilt.

4. How can I cope with my feelings?

Having someone to share your feelings with will help you not have to keep them locked up inside. Don't deny how you feel or simply put on a brave face. You must acknowledge your feelings to work through them. Some of your thoughts may be misguided and as time passes you will be able to realize this. Do whatever works best for you as a means of emotional expression – go somewhere secluded and scream, cry, talk, write, paint, create a memorial, or find a new activity to fill the time you previously would've spent with your pet.

5. Should I just get over it?

It is common to hear the phrase "it was just a pet" when others find your emotions to be too extreme or too long-lasting. These people aren't aware that the death of a pet creates the same emotional response as the loss of a human friend or family member. Grieving is natural and thousands of pet owners can attest to that.

6. Who can I talk to?

Share your feelings with family or friends who have pets. Reminisce about your pet. Or, speak with your veterinarian or local humane association to identify pet loss counselors or support groups. Hospitals and churches also often have resources for grief support.

7. Should I do burial, cremation, or disposal?

This is another decision which should be based on your personal wishes. It can be easiest to have a clinic dispose of your pet's remains (often for a fee), but many prefer something more formal. Based on your living situation, a burial at home may be a good choice. However, both burial and cremation depend on your personal or religious values, finances and future plans. Your veterinarian or an online search will provide options available in your area.

8. What should I tell my children?

Be honest with your children and provide as much information as they seek in a way that matches their age and maturity level. Saying their pet was "put to sleep" is not advised, as they may begin to fear bedtime. Allow your children to grieve in their own ways and be open about your own emotions around them rather than teaching them to keep it all inside.

9. Will my other pets get depressed?

Your other pets may notice a change in the household. Based on their relationship, some may search for their companion, eat less and seem to be grieving. Giving your surviving pets extra love and attention during this time will be beneficial not only to them, but to you as well.

10. Should I get a new pet right away?

Generally, it is best to allow yourself time to work through your grief and loss before introducing a new pet into your home and life. A new pet is a unique individual, not a replacement. Try to avoid getting one that looks the same or naming it the same as your deceased pet, and don't expect it to behave exactly the same either. Getting a new pet too soon may lead to resentment or feelings of disloyalty because you still want your old pet back.

How To Stop Your Dog's Bad Table Manners

You just sat down for dinner when a paw lands in your lap or the whining begins. Begging is a common problem in dogs. Often, dogs that beg for food are overweight or obese. Obesity can put your dog at risk for such serious medical conditions as cancer, heart disease, diabetes or osteoarthritis.

Dogs learn how to beg for food very quickly. Frequently they are not even begging for food but rather looking for attention. Because an owner associates this type of behavior as begging for food, food is often substituted for attention.

In order to eliminate this behavior, all members of the family must stop giving treats. Even if begging is rewarded only once in a while, the problem persists and can worsen. Food should never be used as a substitute for attention. All dogs require attention and affection.

Once you stop rewarding your dog for begging, the dog will no longer beg. It may take some time but Rover certainly will not starve.

Glaucoma Testing with Tono-Pen

People are not the only ones at risk for glaucoma and the blindness that can result from it. Veterinarians can now screen your dog or cat for glaucoma with the Tono-pen. The Tono-pen is a state-of-the-art device now available to measure the pressure inside your pet's eye. Previous measuring devices were less accurate, difficult to use and required a large degree of animal restraint. The Tono-pen, however, is quick, easy and reliable. Your pet can be tested in a simple office visit.

Glaucoma refers to an increase in intraocular pressure, which can result in loss of vision. Since glaucoma may affect only one eye initially, most owners will not notice the blindness. Owners may notice that the pet's eye is bulging, red, tearing or squinting. There are now 41 recognized breeds that are predisposed to glaucoma. Because these breeds have a hereditary defect causing the glaucoma, the earlier the disease is detected, the better the chance of maintaining a visual eye. Baseline and annual intraocular testing is available for these breeds. If glaucoma is already known to be in the bloodline, testing should be performed more frequently.

In addition to hereditary causes, glaucoma can result from trauma to the eye, infection inside the eye, and from cataracts and tumors. Cats usually get glaucoma as a result of one of these non-hereditary causes.

Your veterinarian will recommend measurement of intraocular pressure with the Tono-pen if your dog or cat is presented to the office with a red or irritated eye. If increased pressure inside the eye is identified, proper medical or surgical treatment for the glaucoma can then be determined.

Is your dog's breed listed below?



Alaskan Malamute

Basset Hound


Border Collie

Boston Terrier

Bovier des Flandres

Cairn Terrier

Cardigan Welsh Corgi



Cocker Spaniel



Dandie Dinmont Terrier

English springer Spaniel

Giant Schnauzer

Great Dane


Manchester Terrier

Miniature Pinscher

Norfolk Terrier

Norwegian Elkhound

Norwich Terrier

Pembroke Welsh Corgi




Scottish Terrier

Sealyham Terrier

Shih Tzu

Siberian Husky

Skye Terrier

Smooth-coat Fox Terrier

Tibetan Terrier

Welsh Springer Spaniel

West Highland White Terrier


Welsh Terrier

Wire-haired Fox Terrier

Pet Ownership Today

According to American Pet Products Association (APPA), pet ownership is currently at its highest level in the United States, with 65 percent of all U.S. households owning a pet. That equates to more than 79.7 million households. That's up from 64 million in 2002 and 56 million in 1988, when tracking began. According to the organization's 375-page survey that tracks hundreds of pet ownership trends, Americans own approximately 74 million dogs, 90 million cats, 16 million birds, 18 million small animals and 11 million reptiles.

Americans own millions of pets

The steady increase in pet ownership confirms that a growing number of us are realizing pets truly enhance our lives. Pets not only provide unconditional love and affection, but research now shows they also provide significant health benefits.

Most pet owners agree with what research has shown. According to the survey, nearly all pet owners say companionship, love, company and affection are the number one benefits to owning a pet. Fifty-nine percent say pets are good for their health and the health of their family and help them relax. Forty percent say that owning a dog motivates them to exercise on a regular basis. It is universally agreed that pet owners are health conscious, like to look their best, like to exercise with their pet, are happy and maintain a well organized home.


In 2015, pet owners spent $60.28 billion on pets. In 2016, it's estimated that figure is more like $62.75 billion, including $24.01 billion spent on food and $15.92 billion spent on vet care.

65 percent of all U.S. households owning a pet, or 79.7 million families.

In 1988, the first year the survey was conducted, 56 percent of U.S. households owned a pet as compared to the 65 percent of present day.

Breakdown of Pet Ownership in the U.S.

Number of U.S. Households that Own the Following (millions)

Cat 42.9
Dog 54.4
Horse 2.5
Reptile 4.9
Small Animal 5.4

Total Number of Pets Owned in the U.S. (millions)

Bird 14.3
Cat 85.8
Dog 77.8
Reptile 9.3
Small Animal 12.4


We pamper our pets. We bring them wherever we go. We surprise them with treats and toys on special occasions. They even get holiday or birthday presents. From high-end items to high-tech items, products for our companion animals now extend beyond traditional necessities like food and leashes.

Going to the Dogs

More and more companies traditionally known for human products are going to the dogs - and cats too. Big name companies including like Paul Mitchell, Omaha Steaks and Harley Davidson now offerlines of pet products ranging from pet shampoo, pet attire and gourmet treats and food.

Pets Welcome

Many hotels across the country are adopting pet friendly policies. Several chains have announced new pet-friendly policies that include everything from over-sized pet pillows, plush doggie robes, to check-in gift packages, doggie surfing lessons or daily pet-friendly hikes. Some even have a licensed dog masseuse on staff.

Pet Products Sold Here

Shopping for pet products is becoming easier than ever with an increasing variety of retail outlets now selling pet products. Right alongside fertilizer and shovels, shoppers can now find pet products such as doggie doors and yellow lawn spot removers sold at many lawn and garden stores, nurseries and major home improvement stores including Home Depot.

The Lap of Luxury

High-end items to spoil companion animals are must-haves for pet owners that spare no expense to please their furry, feathered and finned best friends. Items include faux mink coats for cold weather outings, feathered French day beds for afternoon naps, designer bird cages, puppy perfume and to top it all off, a rhinestone tiara.

Royal gifts for royal pets


Pet owners take grooming one step beyond a haircut, a quick bath and a nail trim. Mouthwash and an electric toothbrush for canines are routine steps in a beauty session for some pooches. Birds receive daily pedicures with special cage perches, while others enjoy manicures complete with nail polish. Pet-owning homes stay cleaner with automatic, self-flushing litter boxes, cleaning cloths for muddy paws that mimic traditional baby wipes and scented gel air fresheners to keep rooms free of pet odors.

Dinner is Served

Today's pet foods include complete and balanced diets that tantalize our pets' taste buds and satisfy their tummies. And no wonder when 95% of pet owners consider pets to be part of the family. Formulas for puppies and kittens, specialized meals for reptiles, birds and fish and diets for senior pets ensure a long and healthy life for our beloved companions. In 2016, the organic, natural and fresh pet food market is gaining ground as well.

Pet Tech

High-tech products including interactive WiFi pet webcams, interactive pet game consoles, activity monitors for dog collars and timed treat dispensers help pet owners take care of their companion animals with ease and precision.

Loosen Up

As pet owners meditate in yoga class, cats relieve stress by frolicking in a toy gym, stretching on their own yoga mat or relaxing in a feline spa before enjoying herbal catnip packaged in a tea bag. Dogs sip fresh water from flowing fountains after a soothing rub with a doggie massager.

Help Yourself

Products designed with convenience in mind lead this trend. Programmable feeding and drinking systems, automatic and battery-operated toys, self-cleaning litter boxes and self-warming pet mats let pets virtually care for themselves.

Straight from the Catwalk

Faux mink coats, hipster lumberjack vests, designer plaid jackets, matching jeweled and leather collar and leash sets, Halloween costumes and holiday outfits keep pets in fashion throughout the year. Upscale leather carriers complete with a cell phone and water bottle holder are the perfect accessories to keep the pet owner in style as well.

Keep on Truckin'

Whether it's a quick trip to the supermarket or a long ride to the beach, companion animals are now traveling animals too. Buckled up in a harness, seat belt system or a portable carrier, these pets stay safe and secure while on the road. Food and water along with safety supplies are on hand in all-in-one kits, waste disposal systems make for easy clean-up on quick stops and motion sickness aids are available too.

Hello, My Name Is...

From monogrammed sweaters and personalized food and water bowls to digitized collar tags and handmade treats, owners embrace their pets as true members of the American family celebrating their fluffy, finned and feathered companions with their very own belongings.

Burial Options for Your Beloved Pet

How you wish to handle your pet's remains after death is a personal choice dependent on many factors. Although cremation has become a popular option, other pet parents still prefer burial – either at home or in a nearby pet cemetery. Burial provides the bereaved with a sacred spot where they can go to visit with their deceased companion. It also allows the owner to feel that his or her pet is still present, still at home and not soon to be forgotten.

A burial site can be adorned with flowers, a personalized headstone or grave marker, or even a statue. Many pet parents will plant a flower or tree atop their pet's grave, or bury their pet beneath an existing and protective tree or shrub.

The Options

Home Burial

Home burial is not always an option. For pet owners who rent, move frequently, or live in an urban area, it may not make sense or it may be forbidden or illegal. Many cities prohibit home burials because of the potential hazard it may cause to public health.

If you do opt for home burial, ensure that your grave site is in an area that won’t be disturbed, is at least three feet deep, and that your pet's body is wrapped in or placed in something which is biodegradable.

Pet Cemetery Burial

Some pet owners prefer the formality of a cemetery burial – with or without an accompanying service. Others simply do not have the space of their own to bury a pet at home. Having your pet's remains buried in a pet cemetery comes with the assurance that the grave site will always be cared for and will never be disturbed. This can be reassuring for older pet parents or those who may move in the future and not be able to relocate their pet's remains.

Burial in a cemetery comes with many options for headstones and other decorative add-ons for your pet's grave or casket. Additionally, many companies exist that can pick up your pet's remains and help make arrangements for a complete funeral and memorial service if that is what you desire. Most states have several pet cemeteries. To locate the one nearest you, consult with your veterinarian or visit the International Association Of Pet Cemeteries & Crematories or the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance websites.

Crematory Options for Your Cherished Companion

How you wish to handle your pet's remains after death is a personal choice dependent on many factors. While some pet parents still prefer burial, cremation has become the most popular option. This may be because more people are renting or living in urban areas where home burial is often prohibited. Some believe that a body is merely a receptacle for a spirit and that more attention should be placed on honoring the memory of a pet than on its remains.

Whatever your beliefs may be, cremation offers the bereaved the option of having a pet's remains returned. They can be kept in a keepsake urn or spread somewhere sentimental. Some veterinarians perform crematory services or there are many crematories who cater just to pets. Since it has become so popular, there are several affordable options.

Private & Viewing

A private cremation ensures that your pet will be cremated alone and that the ashes you receive will be solely his or hers. Viewing cremations are sometimes possible, where you and your family can witness the process from a separate viewing room. This often provides the bereaved with the reassurance they their pet's remains were treated properly and with respect.


In a semi-private cremation, several deceased pets are placed in the same chamber and divided by a partition. While the majority of the ashes you receive back should be those of your pet, some co-mingling of ashes does occur. Be sure to clarify which option you desire (and are paying for) as semi-private is sometimes labeled as private.


If having your pet's ashes returned to you is not something you desire, a communal cremation may be the best option. It results in the co-mingling of several deceased pets' ashes who are cremated together without any partitions separating the bodies.

Helping Pets in Grief

Although it isn’t known for sure if pets grieve the loss of an animal or human companion in the same way humans do, many do express their awareness that something has changed. Depending on how long your pets spent together and what their relationship was like, a death can create a significant void within the home that your surviving cat or dog may notice.

Symptoms of Grief

The ASPCA studied pet behavior after the loss of a pet companion during the nineties and found that 66 percent of dogs exhibited four or more behavioral changes. Some of these changes included:

• Loss of appetite
• More needy for attention
• More or less vocal than normal
• Restless during sleep
• Searching for deceased pet
• Wandering aimlessly

Allowing Your Pet to Say Goodbye

Many pet owners will attest to the searching behavior their surviving pets seem to exhibit after the death of a companion. When a friend suddenly leaves the house and doesn't return, he or she may anxiously wait for their return or search the house and yard hoping to find them. It has been suggested that allowing your pet to see the deceased pet's body can help him or her understand what has happened.

During this visit, your pet may: sniff, paw at, or try to "bury" the body; lay beside it; howl or whimper; invite play by bringing over a toy; or do nothing at all.

If letting your pet say goodbye in this way is not possible, consider clipping a lock of your deceased pet's hair for your surviving pet to smell. If your pet is showing any signs of grief, provide plenty of extra love and attention.

Dislocated Kneecaps in Pets

The knee is a complex structure consisting of muscles, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and bones. These components must align properly and interact harmoniously in order to function properly. Three bones are included in the knee: the femur, the tibia and the patella (kneecap).

Normal knee joint

Normal Knee Joint of a Dog

Normal exposed knee joint

Normal Exposed Knee Joint of a Dog

Patellar luxation (kneecap dislocation) is a condition where the kneecap does not align properly with the femur and tibia. The condition can be temporary or permanent and range from complete dislocation to mild patellar instability. The dislocation can occur laterally (toward the outside of the knee joint), medially (toward the inside) or in both directions.

There are four types of patella luxations.

Grade 1: The patella is positioned normally but can be luxated with slight manual pressure.

Grade 2: Spontaneous luxation occurs; however, it can reduces spontaneously or can be replaced manually.

Grade 3: The patella is luxated most of the time; however it can be replaced manually.

Grade 4: The patella cannot be reduced manually.

Most commonly, the disease is a medial luxation and occurs as a result of a congenital (existing at birth) condition in toy and miniature breeds of dogs. Dogs with medial patellar luxation exhibit a bow-legged stance. In older animals, the condition appears suddenly and is often the result of a traumatic injury.

Stance of a normal dog

Stance of a Normal Dog

Bow-legged stance of a dog

Bow-Legged Stance of Dog with Medial Patellar Luxation

Mild to severe lameness is the major clinical symptom. Non-weight bearing lameness and pain on manipulation of the knee joint are often associated with traumatic patellar luxation.

Patellar luxation is occasionally seen in cats. The condition is generally a medial luxation associated with a non-painful lameness. Surgery is recommended if the lameness persists.

Treatment for patellar luxation varies from one animal to the next. Animals that show no sign of pain or lameness are treated conservatively. This treatment includes anti-inflammatory medication, restricted exercise and rest. Animals that are affected more severely are generally candidates for surgery.

Below are photos taken of a dog who required surgery to correct a grade 4 patella luxation. Since most surgical corrections of patellar luxations consist of deepening the groove in which the patella rides, a trochlear wedge recession was performed on this dog. By deepening the groove in which the kneecap rides, this dog's patella would be less likely to move into an abnormal position. This surgical technique is usually combined with other techniques in order to maximize stability of the knee.

Exposed Trochlear Groove

Begin Trochlear Wedge Recession

Continuation of Surgery

Trochlear Groove is Deepened and Ready for Patella

The objective of any surgery aimed to correct patella luxation is to stabilize the kneecap anatomically (in the trochlea) while maintaining full range of pain-free motion. The outcome following surgery is generally satisfactory; however, it depends on the individual care and severity of arthritis prior to surgery. Unfortunately, recurrence rates are frequent and luxations may either be in the same direction or other direction but are usually of lower grade than the original luxation.

Veterinary Medicine Has Come A Long Way

Advancements in medical knowledge and technology aren’t reserved for mankind alone. During the past decade or so, veterinary medicine has seen significant advances that are helping pets live longer, healthier lives.

Many of the diagnostic and treatment methods used on humans are available for animals. Recent advancements in veterinary medicine include:

• MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) – Debuted at Cornell University’s veterinary hospital, 2004 saw the introduction of MRI for use in veterinary medicine. MRI works especially well on soft tissue and is considered the most advanced diagnostic imaging tool available. No other diagnostic tool can provide as complete or deep an image of the body and any injury or disease it may harbor.

• Laparoscopy – Also known as keyhole surgery, laparoscopy allows veterinarians to view organs in the abdomen without the need for invasive, and sometimes dangerous, exploratory surgery. A laparoscope is a thin tube with a camera on one end, which is inserted into the body through a small incision. The image is magnified and projected in real-time onto a monitor in the operating room.

• Prosthetics – The last decade saw the advance of a number of different prosthetics and prosthetic-like devices for animals with disabilities. Gone are the days when a missing limb was synonymous with euthanasia. Pets with three limbs or less can now experience full lives and near-normal mobility.

• Laser Surgery – Laser surgery was once for human eyes only, but can now be beneficial for veterinary spays and neuters, declaws, ear surgery and more. Laser incisions and procedures generally result in less pain, less bleeding, and a faster recovery.

• Laser Therapy – Laser therapy is a painless FDA approved medical procedure that uses low-level lasers to stimulate the natural healing capabilities of the body’s cells. It is effective at promoting healing on a cellular level as well as decreasing inflammation after surgery, injury or areas of the body affected by chronic illnesses such as arthritis or acute conditions such as otitis.

• Stem Cell Therapy – Several practices have begun offering this treatment for pets. The therapy isolates stem cells from an animal’s fat tissue and then reintroduces them into damaged areas. Stem cell therapy can be used in cases of arthritis, where the cells can become new cartilage cells with natural anti-inflammatory properties that effectively reduce pain and increase mobility.

• Acupuncture – Another alternative therapy that has been introduced to animal medicine, many veterinarians are seeking training and certification in veterinary acupuncture. According to the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture, it can be used to treat the symptoms accompanying ailments ranging from hip dysplasia to chronic degenerative joint disease.

• Vaccine Schedule Adjustments – Just as in the human realm, some pet owners bought into the anti-vaccine movement of the last decade. While not vaccinating against any harmful diseases or illness is rarely recommended, there has been a significant shift to balanced vaccine schedules catered to the individual animal to combat over or under vaccination. Your veterinarian will determine the best protocol for your pet based on its health, age and environmental risks.