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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.

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.

Renting With Pets
Is he allowed in your new apartment?

Is the rental market improving or getting worse for tenants with pets? Some say better, others disagree and scream worse...unfair!

According to a study released in 1999 by the National Council on Pet Population, moving was identified as the major reason for giving up a pet dog and the third most common reason for giving up a pet cat. Moving in itself was not the reason for giving up the pet; it was the landlord's refusal to accept pets in the new apartment or house.

Certain regions of the country are more difficult for renters who have pets. According to a study, renting with pets is most difficult in the Northeast and in California. The area of the country where it is easiest to rent with pets appears to be in the Southeast. The situation in Atlanta is a prime example of why it is so difficult for some pet owners. With only 2500 apartment complexes in the metropolitan area, only about 10 percent take dogs weighing more than 35 pounds. In the metropolitan New York area (including Long Island and New Jersey), it is very difficult for a new renter to find lodging where pets are allowed.

As frustrating as it appears, there are methods to sway owners with firm "no pets" policies.

  • Make sure your pet is well behaved. Toilet training is a must and personality problems, such as separation anxiety, must be addressed.
  • Adoption of a pet-friendly contract with set rules:
  • Spay or neuter requirements
  • Obligatory License
  • Current with vaccinations
  • Leash policy
  • Designated toilet area
  • Scoop-up regulations
  • Supplemental pet security deposit
  • Pet committee to oversee the program

The Humane Society of the United States' website offers a "Renting with Pets" section.

In the San Francisco area, pet owners can purchase a revolutionary new insurance policy. This policy protects landlords against pet-related damages. www.LeasesWithPets.com sell policies for about $200/year that cover up to $5000 worth of damage.

If you already own a pet and your landlord is trying to evict you, consult an attorney that has some knowledge in landlord-tenant law as well as in animal law. Many cities and towns have laws that prohibit eviction of a tenant who owns a pet.

For more information about renting with pets, the following websites are worth visiting:

www.hsus.org - Humane Society of the US
www.mspca.org
www.sfspca.org
www.apartments.com - Includes pets as a search criteria

Most of the information for this article comes from the ASPCA. You can visit their website at www.aspca.org.

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.

Household Items that are Dangerous for Pets

Everyday household items can quickly become dangerous for pets, so make sure you are taking proper precautions to keep harmful chemicals and potentially dangerous items out of reach. Poisoning can happen in an instant, so talk to our veterinarian about your pet's unique risks.

The clearest signs that your pet has been poisoned are excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, lethargy, weakness, and pale or yellow-ish gums. Depending on what they ate, a reaction could be immediate, or it may take several hours.

If you witness your pet ingest something that you believe may be harmful to them, you can have them drink a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. This is safe for pets in small quantities and will help them spit up whatever they have in their stomach. Use a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. The suggested dosage is 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of your pet's body weight, but not more than 3 tablespoons. Any more than that or using a more highly concentrated solution could be damaging.

Household items that are toxic to pets include:

  • antifreeze, mulch, fertilizer, insecticides, pesticides, pool chemicals, rat bait
  • cleaning supplies, bleach
  • alcohol, drugs, tobacco products, certain medications
  • citrus oil extracts, grapes and raisins, coffee, onions, garlic, nuts, chocolate
  • xylitol (sugar-free sweetener), salt, yeast products (raw bread dough)

There are several types of plants that can be poisonous to both cats and dogs, so keep this in mind when choosing what to incorporate into your garden. Minimize the amounts of plants in your home, or make sure plants are potted and out of reach. Any plant that is on the ground could be a choking hazard for pets, and it can be tricky to make sure you are only buying pet-friendly plants. Plants can vary widely when it comes to the risk they pose to animals, so make sure you are looking up anything you are thinking of adding to your garden or home.

The best way to handle a health emergency is to prepare for one. Have our number on speed dial in case you need to call on a moment's notice. You can also create an action safety plan designed around your pet's unique risks so that you are always prepared for the worst case scenario. Putting together a pet first-aid kit can save your pet's life in an emergency, so make sure you have one in your home and your car in case something happens while you are out with your furry friend. Fast action can truly save your pet's life, so over-preparing is not a bad idea!

Take proper precautions to keep harmful substances out of your pet's reach. Keep things like medications, alcohol, and cleaning chemicals in cabinets or closets where your pet can not access them. If you have any further questions about poison prevention for pets, call our office for further information.

Introducing Your New Pet to Your Current Furry Friend

Thinking of adding another furry friend to your family? Introducing new pets can be tricky, but there are some ways you can help the process run smoothly! Whether you are introducing a cat and dog, or a senior pet and a little one, there are ways to help make the transition easier. Check out our tips to help you introduce your new furry friend to your other pets:

Introducing a Puppy to an Older Dog

It is natural for your older or senior dog to be apprehensive of a new dog "invading" their territory. The best way to establish a pack mentality is to have the first meeting occur in a neutral area, like a park. Walking the two dogs together can help them understand that they are a team. It is important that you choose a location that your current dog does not feel is their territory. So that could mean taking them for a walk in a different neighborhood or going to a park they have never visited before. Let the dogs smell each other and make their own introductions. Don't bring any toys that your dog already plays with, because they may feel protective over it.

After the initial meeting, bring the dogs to the house and put the new dog in their crate. Let your current dog roam around and do whatever they normally do while the puppy observes. After some time, you can take the puppy out and let them explore the space. This will help your dog feel that they are in control, and it can give them the opportunity to model proper behavior for your new dog.

If either dog exhibits some behavioral red flags, like biting, snarling, growling, or if they are being territorial, consult with our team or a professional trainer. Don't leave the dogs alone together for some time until they seem to be totally comfortable. Your older dog may become irritable after sharing their space for a few hours, so just keep an eye on them and separate them if you feel they need the space. This is also a good opportunity for your puppy to get to know their crate and feel comfortable in a space specifically made for them.

Introducing a Cat and a Dog

Cats and dogs have very different behavioral protocols, so the best thing to do is to let your cat dictate how the interaction is going to go. Dogs will be more likely to want to smell the cat and get in their personal space, which could trigger a negative reaction in the cat. Instead, keep your dog on a leash and reward them for calm behavior. Find a really high-value treat, like chicken or peanut butter, and be generous with praise. Don't excite them, even if it seems positive. It is possible that interactions will differ based on the environment. Dogs may interact positively indoors, but they may stalk the cat outdoors, similar to if it were a rabbit or squirrel. Every animal is different, so just try to keep an eye on how the animals interact with each other.

The goal for introducing a cat and dog is that they will be generally uninterested in each other. If you can't trust that the animals can be left alone together, keep them separated. It is very possible that they could both injure each other, so don't assume that they will be on their best behavior. While we love to consider our furry friends to be angels, these types of pets have very different boundaries. Don't assume that the interaction will be positive or negative, just be prepared to reward good behavior or separate after negative interactions. With positive reinforcement, you can help your pets become the best of friends!

Every pet is unique, so talk to our team to learn more about how you can safely introduce your new pets. We can direct you to some helpful local resources to set your pets up for success. Call our office for more info about introducing your pets.

Garden Safety Tips for Pets

Spring is upon us, and that means spending more time outdoors! If you'll be tending to a garden thing spring season, make sure you are sticking to pet-friendly plants! There are so many different types of plants and garden items that could quickly become dangerous to your pet if ingested, so talk to us if you have any questions about your plants. We've created this guide to help you create a safe outdoor space for your furry friend to enjoy.

Research Plants Before Gardening

There are so many different types of plants that can quickly become dangerous to pets, so make sure you are researching before adding something to your garden. The most common poisonous plants include:

  • lilies
  • sago palm
  • tulips
  • oleander
  • philodendrons
  • azaleas
  • autumn crocus
  • marijuana plants
  • yew
  • cyclamen
  • chrysanthemum
  • English ivy

These are just some of the most common poisonous plants for pets, but there are many others. The best way to determine if a plant is safe for pets is to research the individual plant type before adding it to your garden. Many vegetables are also poisonous to pets, such as onions, garlic, leek, and chives. Tomato plants and unripe tomatoes can also induce vomiting if ingested due to a substance called tomatine. This substance fades as tomatoes ripen, which is why it is safe for pets to eat fully developed tomatoes. Other safe garden veggies include carrots, beans, peas, celery, and zucchini.

Keep Pets Out of Your Garden

Another way you can make sure that your pet does not ingest any potentially harmful plant is to take measures to keep them out of your garden entirely. That could mean adding fencing, potting plants out of reach of animals, or perhaps keeping plants in a greenhouse. Raising your garden beds or using hanging baskets can also keep your pet and plants safe.

Choose the Right Mulch

Some mulch can be poisonous to pets, like cocoa bean mulch. This mulch has a sweet scent that could attract a curious nose, but it can be deadly if ingested by your pet. Avoid using this type of mulch, and instead go for something like pine, cedar, or hemlock mulch which is not poisonous. However, still make an effort to keep your pet out of these areas because some mulch can cause internal injuries, like the pine needles in pine mulch.

Fertilizers, Pesticides & Herbicides

Pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers all help our gardens thrive, but they are dangerous for your pet to ingest. If you see a pesticide warning on neighboring lawns, try not to walk your pet in those areas. Make sure you wipe their paws after coming inside from a walk to make sure you remove any traces of pesticides that they may have picked up. It is possible for your pet to lick the chemicals off their paws and get sick, but a quick cleaning can avoid this problem. When putting down fertilizer, keep your pet indoors or far away from the area. Even organic fertilizer and compost is hazardous to pets, so just try to keep your pet away from any fertilizer whenever possible. Things like decaying plants, bones, fish meal, and blood can all smell interesting to your pet, but they can cause a variety of major health emergencies if ingested. Toxins that exist in these spaces can cause poisoning and even death if consumed by your pet, so keep them far away.

This spring make sure you are gardening with your pet's safety in mind! Call our office if you have any further questions about garden safety tips for your pets.