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Newsletter

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

May is National Chip Your Pet Month: Is Your Pet Protected?

Each year, millions of dogs and cats are lost. In fact, this disaster strikes nearly one-third of all pet-owning families. Of the millions of cats and dogs that are lost, only 10 percent are ever identified and returned to their owners. More pets lives are lost because owners did not identify them than from all infectious diseases combined.

All pets should wear traditional collars with identification and rabies vaccination tags. A traditional collar, however, is not enough. These collars are often worn loosely and are easily removed. Cat collars are designed to break off if the animal is caught in a tree branch. When the traditional collar is lost, removed or breaks off, nothing is left to identify the pet unless the pet has a microchip.

Microchips are rapidly becoming a very popular method for identifying pets. Once the microchip is inserted, the pet is identified for life. Microchips are safe, unalterable and permanent identification for pets. The microchip is a tiny computer chip or transponder about the size of a grain of rice. The chip is inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades of a cat or dog, in much the same way that a vaccine is administered. The microchip is coded with a unique 10-digit code. Each microchip that is inserted contains a unique code, specific to the individual pet.




Inserting the microchip is simple and causes minimal or no discomfort. The microchip comes pre-loaded in a syringe, ready for insertion. The entire procedure takes less than 10 seconds. Post-injection reactions are very rare and the encapsulated microchip remains in place permanently.

The scanner is a hand-held device used to detect the message encoded in the microchip. The scanner is passed over the animal, paying particular attention to the area between the shoulder blades. If a microchip is present, the 10-digit number (encoded in the capsule) is read by the scanner. Scanners are provided to animal control, humane shelters and other rescue organizations so that all stray pets are scanned and those with microchips are reunited with their owners. Veterinarians can also purchase scanners for use in their hospital.

The veterinary hospital where the microchip is implanted records the pet’s information and its unique microchip identification number. When a lost pet is found and scanned, the veterinary hospital is immediately contacted. Since most veterinary hospitals are not open 24 hours a day, it may take some time before you are notified. In addition to this standard registration, you can register your pet in your own name for a charge of $15-20. By doing this, as soon as your pet is found, you are notified.

Along with the additional registration fee, we recommend that you update your personal information with the microchip database on a regular basis. It is also advisable to have your veterinarian test the microchip on an annual basis in order to make sure that it is properly transmitting data.

May is Intestinal Parasite Awareness Month

Did you know that 34 percent of pets are infected with intestinal parasites?

The close relationship between people and their pets increasingly means parasite infections can be shared among dogs, cats and their owners. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 1 to 3 million people are infected with an intestinal parasite in the United States. Children are at particular risk.

The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) recommends that fecal examinations for intestinal parasites be conducted at least once a year. In addition, if children are present in the household, the CAPC recommends that you de-worm your pet quarterly.

To help raise awareness we will perform free fecal examinations (a $16.50 value) during the month of May, limited to one pet per household.

How to Help Your Children Cope with Pet Loss

Breaking the news to a child that his or her pet has died is never easy. How you go about this will depend on your child's age and maturity. Generally, your child's questions will best help guide just how much information you should divulge. It is not recommended that you use the term "put to sleep" or lie by saying the cat or dog simply ran away or left home to be somewhere else. You don't have to have all of the answers – there's a lot we don't know about death. Being honest with your child is what matters most.

Helping Your Child Heal

Children are at a different developmental stage than adults and thus will mourn differently. Although they may seem happy and be playing one minute, they can be sad the next. Their grief comes in spurts and it's important to allow them to work through grieving in their own ways. Being honest about your own feelings and sadness (no need to hide your tears) is completely healthy and sets the example that feeling your emotions is not a bad thing. Your child will come to model the behavior you display.



"Healthy children will not fear life if their elders have integrity enough not to fear death."

-Dr. Erik Erikson

Your child will begin healing through remembering his or her pet. You can assist with this by:

• Planning a memorial service together to pay tribute to the pet

• Planting a flower or tree in remembrance

• Creating a personalized marker or stone

• Creating a photo album or scrapbook together

An excellent online resource for young children is the "I Miss My Pet: A Workbook for Children About Pet Loss."

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.

Stem Cell Treatment Helps Arthritic Pets


Stem Cell


A new treatment for arthritic pets using stem cells is being implemented in some veterinary hospitals, and veterinarians say the treatment is more effective and easier than the types of treatment used in the past. The method involves using stem cells from the animal’s fat to inject into arthritic joints, which relieves pain and limits the need for anti-inflammatories.

In the past, veterinarians would use stem cells from bone marrow, which, after extraction, take weeks of cultivation before they are ready to be used. Using stem cells from the animal’s fat cells, however, reduces the treatment time to one day. According to Gil Sinclair, a veterinarian in New Zealand who is piloting the treatment there, 80 percent of animals show an improvement. “[This treatment] could basically replace day-to-day anti-inflammatory tablets and injections,” he said.

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.

Semi-Private

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.

Communal

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.

Quiet! Solutions For Barking Dogs

The first five reasons for barking are rarely the cause of excessive or annoying barking. They are usually specific to certain situations and are short-lived. The sixth and seventh reasons are those most likely to be considered problem barking, and they are not unrelated. Barking for companionship can turn into barking for reward: The dog barks to get its owner’s attention, the owner comes to the dog to tell it to be quiet, perhaps petting it or playing with it, before going away again. The dog is quiet while the owner is there, but has learned that barking will bring the owner back. Thus the system of barking and reward is established.

A solution, again, is to spend more time with your dog and have it near you rather than tied up somewhere separate from you. However, if your dog is separated from you and it begins to bark to get your attention, do not immediately go to the dog. It must learn that barking will not guarantee your presence. By spending more time with the dog at regular intervals not instigated by barking, your dog will feel more assured that it will get sufficient attention from you and will not have as much inclination to bark for companionship.

How to deal with barking dogs

Teach Your Dog To Stop Barking By Understanding Prevention Steps


How do you teach a barking dog to distinguish between friends and strangers?
The solution is to show the dog that certain individuals like garbage collectors or the mailman are, indeed, friends. To accomplish this, the dog has to be introduced to these people and given an opportunity to get to know them. While this is not always practical, it is nonetheless a potential solution. As you restrain your dog, stop delivery people and have a short conversation with them, letting them meet the dog for a brief period. Repeat and lengthen the process over the next few weeks. Eventually, your dog should accept these individuals and all should be well until your regular mailman is sick and another person takes his place.

What do you do with a dog that barks at guests in your house?
One solution is to take the dog to another room and give it something to do. Or, if the guest comes to your home often and you don’t want to have to lock up the dog every time, work to gradually introduce one to the other. Have the guest get on his knees, pet the dog, offer it a treat, and more or less become part of the family. Let your dog establish the speed at which this relationship develops: Don’t force it or your dog may become alarmed by a pushy guest.

How do you deal with a dog that barks at the phone?
This is simply a case of a dog that has been rewarded for barking at a ringing phone. When the dog barks, someone eventually answers the phone and it stops ringing. To stop your dog from doing this, have a friend call and let the phone ring until the dog loses interest. Continue over a period of days, and in time, the dog will learn that barking at the phone accomplishes nothing.

Finally, what do you do with the dog that barks while you are away from home?
There are several possible solutions. One is to act as if you are leaving, then stand outside the door until the dog barks. When it does, return and scold verbally. Another is to get your dog a companion—but you might end up with two barkers! A third is to use a sound-activated tape recorder. When the dog barks, the sound switch turns on the tape recorder for a minute. The tape plays your voice scolding the dog. Some systems can repeat as many as 45 times while you are away.

The best way to reduce your dog’s barking is to pay attention to the reasons for the barking. If you can satisfy the dog’s needs, barking will automatically be reduced. By the same token, learned barking can be extremely persistent. Internal rewards can cause the cycle to go on for years.

The best solution to barking is prevention, so be aware of the possibilities and work to stop problem barking before it starts.