Newsletter

The entire team at Loyal Companions Pet Cremation & Memorial is pleased to provide you with an online newsletter, which we update on a regular basis with interesting, educational articles to help you and your family in your time of need.

Please enjoy the newsletter!





Current Newsletter Topics

Help Your Dog Overcome the "Back-To-School Blues”

Parents and youngsters aren’t the only ones having adjust to a new schedule every fall. Just as kids grow accustomed to the care-free days of summer, dogs get used to the constant attention and play time that a child’s constant presence brings. Many dogs will adjust quickly to the change when school begins again, but those prone to separation anxiety may look for ways to lash out.



In an interview with the Associated Press, Dr. Nick Dodman of Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine recommended the following tips to help ease the transition between summer and the school year:

• Make departure time happy using toys and treats

• Create a place in the house where the dog feels safe

• Try starting the routine before school begins

• Do not indulge with baby talk or sympathy

• See a veterinarian if the dog’s disposition doesn’t improve

With a little advanced planning and a few tweaks to you and your dog’s morning routine, you can keep your dog relaxed and content while his favorite playmate is gone for the day. Before you know it, your dog’s “back-to-school blues” will be a thing of the past.

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.

End-of-Life Care For Your Pet

Pet ownership comes with the knowledge that, in most cases, you will outlive your pet. This truth, however well-known, is still not an easy one to bear. Coming to terms with the fact that death is a part of life, will help you best enjoy your time together with your beloved companion. Thinking and even planning ahead will give you the time to truly cherish your last months, days and moments with your pet when the time comes to say goodbye.

The following are all things to consider as your pet progresses in age.

Senior Pet Care

As cats and dogs age more rapidly than humans, most are considered to be entering their senior years around age 7, which equates to roughly middle age for a person. Although advances in veterinary medicine are leading to longer pet life expectancy, aging will always occur and with it comes a variety of unique health concerns. Older pets can develop conditions similar to those seen in older people. These include cancer, diabetes, disease of the heart, joints/bones, kidneys/urinary tract and liver, as well as senility and weakness. Bringing your pet in for regular wellness exams with your veterinarian and developing a plan for veterinary care throughout his or her senior years will help catch and address potential problems early on.



Hospice Care & At-Home Euthanasia

Hospice care for pets is becoming more and more widely available, as is the decision to euthanize within a pet's home rather than in a clinical setting. The goal with both is to make your pet's final days and moments as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

If Your Pet Passes at Home

If a pet passes suddenly or unexpectedly at home, you can be left unsure of what to do next. Having this discussion with your veterinarian in advance will leave you more well prepared and reduce the emotional trauma you may experience. Generally, a pet's body needs to be removed from the home as soon as possible and kept in a cool spot until that time.

Cremation & Burial Options

Cremation is a very common option for pet owners. With private/individual cremations, you are given your pet's ashes to do with as you please. Others may choose to bury a pet in their backyard or at a local pet cemetery. It is important to look into your options ahead of time because planning, however difficult, will help lessen your future pain and worry.

September is Happy Cat Month – How Will You Celebrate?

Did you know that September is Happy Cat Month? This is great news for all pet owners that experience endless joy from feline companionship. Your cat is important to you, so this is a great time to celebrate them. It is also a great time to engage in education, community and of course happiness!

What is Happy Cat Month?

CATalyst Council is the founder of Happy Cat Month, which has become an annual event in September. It was designed as an event to serve and educate fellow cat owners in ways to ensure their cats remain happy. There will be many events planned throughout the communities in a way to educate the public about cat’s health.

The focus is mainly on spreading the word about the welfare, value and health of cats. Many people tend to view cats more self-reliant, less in need than dogs and overall shy creatures. Happy Cat Month hopes to break those stereotypical boundaries and ensure cats receive the love, companionship and care that they deserve.

Helping to Keep a Happy Cat

Are you ready to get involved? The best way to celebrate Happy Cat Month starts in your own home. Make sure that you have an environment that allows your cat to be happy. Here are some simple tips that might help you get started:


Reward

There are many playthings that your cat would enjoy and it will help to keep them mentally stimulated. Anything from a toy mouse, to catnip, to even a cardboard box can help keep a cat busy and content, even when you’re not in the house!


Protect

While many cats live inside, it only takes a moment and they will dart out the door. Protect your feline with a microchip. This helps to ensure they are returned to their happy home should anything ever happen to them.


Stay Sharp

Provide a scratching post. This not only protects your furniture but gives you little friend an outlet to play. It also ensures that their claws remain sharp, which apparently makes them quite happy.


Adopt

If you have more love to give, why not consider adopting a cat in need? Most felines prefer to have some companionship with another cat, so this could benefit everyone. Imagine the cuddly times that will occur with even more cats in the home!


Keep Veterinary Appointments

Nothing is more important than the health of your cat. Ensure that you attend all recommended appointments with the vet and follow their recommendations. This will ensure your cat’s overall health and well-being.


Fun Ways to Pamper Your Cat

Want to go above and beyond this Happy Cat Month? It is time that your cat received a little pampering for themselves. You can find some practical ways to ensure your cat knows they are loved and cared for. Try these tips to pamper them:

  • Play some games with them. Cats love being active and it is even more fun when you join in. Consider helping him chase a toy or grab a piece of yarn and start dangling it over her head. In no time, you’ll be enjoying some laughs together.
  • Treat them to some raw meat. A little piece of beef or poultry can improve the tooth and gum health of your cat. On top of that, they really enjoy the treat. Just be sure to discuss the health of your cat with your vet before you make changes to their diet.
  • Brush your cat. Not only is it great for their coat, but they adore it. Pet behind the ear and under the chin as well. In no time, you’ll be enjoying some purrs and nudging for more.
  • Give them a catnip toy. Catnip is a member of the mint family and makes cats. Find quality, organic catnip or a catnip toy for your cat to enjoy and see the fun that they will have.

Happy Cat Month shouldn’t just be about once a year, but a complete lifestyle change. Your cat’s health and happiness should always be important and at the forefront of your mind. Be sure to take this month as an opportunity to share the event with other cat owners. You can help them find ways to make their pets feel more valued and loved. Be sure to also look for local events that might be happening in your area.

Grief Counseling by Phone After Losing a Pet

If you are struggling with the grief accompanying the loss of a pet or just want to talk about your feelings with someone, there are many support lines available. You can search for support groups and resources in your area or consider calling any of the following:

Provider Type Phone #
ASPCA Grief Counseling Hotline (800) GRIEF-10
Chicago Veterinry Medical Assoc. Pet Loss Support Hotline (630) 325-1600
Cornell Univ. Pet Loss Support Hotline (607) 253-3932
Iams Pet Loss Support Hotline (888) 332-7738
Michigan State Univ. Pet Loss Support Hotline (517) 432-2696
SPCA of Texas Pet Grief Counseling Support Line (214) 461-5131
Tufts Univ. Pet Loss Support Hotline (508) 839-7966
Univ. of Illinois C.A.R.E. Pet Loss Helpline (217) 244-CARE
Univ. of Tennessee Veterinary Social Work Helpline (865) 755-8839
Utah State Univ Pet Loss Support Hotline (435) 757-4540
Washington State Univ. Pet Loss Hotline (866) 266-8635

Signs You're Healing After Pet Loss

Recovering from the loss of a cherished animal companion takes time. As you move through the stages of grief you'll encounter emotions based on denial, anger, bargaining and depression. The last stage, that of acceptance, is where you will begin to truly heal.

The following are all indicators that you are beginning to show signs of healing:
• You begin to reminisce about your pet's life more than dwell on his/her death
• You don't intentionally try to avoid everyday reminders of your pet
• You are able to think more freely of the "good times"
• You aren't as emotionally distraught when thinking of your pet's death
• You have more control over your emotions
• You are acting more like yourself again – eating, sleeping, hobbies, etc.
• You are able to enjoy yourself without feeling guilty
• You no longer feel guilty for not dwelling on the death
• You don't feel like you're betraying your pet by regaining normalcy
• You are able to talk about your pet without feeling intense sadness or crying
• You are focusing more on the present and future instead of on the past

It is important to note that if a loss occurs suddenly or unexpectedly, such as from an accident, you may deny yourself the opportunity to reach a place of acceptance. Coping with grief is an entirely personal journey that can't always be outlined in fluid stages. You should, however, consider seeking professional help if you are experiencing symptoms of clinical depression and/or it has been more than two months since the death of your pet and you are still experiencing feelings of intense grief.

Dogs and Cats Can Donate Blood

You may have donated blood, but did you know that dogs and cats can donate blood too? During surgeries, illness or injury, veterinarians need the blood of other pets to potentially save a cat or dog who is in the hospital. According to a recent Huffington Post article, there are a few requirements for a cat or dog to be able to donate blood.

Your dog or cat may be eligible to donate blood if they meet the following requirements:

  • Be between the ages of one and nine
  • Dogs must be 50 lbs. or more
  • Cats must be 10 lbs. or more
  • Cats must be solely indoor pets
  • Never had a transfusion
  • Not used for breeding
  • Not on any long-term medication

Some of these requirements may vary depending on the state and blood bank, so it is important to check every hospital or donation center in your area individually. During every donation, a dog will donate approximately two cups, or one pint at each donation. A cat will donate approximately two ounces. When a dog donates blood just one time, it can help save the lives of up to four dogs! Pets get rewarded for their good deed with food, treats, toys and of course, belly rubs. Learn more with the video and article below.

Huffington Post (Dogs Can Donate Blood, Too)

National Pet Memorial Day



How to participate in National Pet Memorial Day

On the second Sunday of September each year, we celebrate National Pet Memorial Day. It’s a time to look back with love at our dog and cat companions whose paws have walked the Earth. September 10, 2017, is the day this year when pet lovers can honor their lost friends and remember the love and joy they shared with their pets. Pets are cherished family members, and often our best friends. We love our fur babies and value their importance just as much as any family member. National Pet Memorial Day is a day of remembrance dedicated specifically to those beloved pets and the role they played in your life.

Honoring your pet is a beautiful way to pay tribute to the life that you shared. You don’t have to plan something elaborate; the point is to dedicate the time to sit down and think about the impact this wonderful animal had in your life.

Volunteer in a Pet’s Honor

Contribute or volunteer with an animal protection group or charity in honor of your pet. Choose an organization that focuses on your animal's breed.

Volunteers are always needed at animal shelters, rescue groups, and humane societies. Consider a donation drive to provide a pet-friendly organization blankets, food, and collars. Any gesture you make will be appreciated. Helping animals in need will lighten your sorrow.

Create a Living Memorial

Many people like to have a memorial they can visit, so a popular tradition is to plant a tree or shrub. One popular tradition is to plant a tree as a living memorial. The Arbor Day Foundation will plant a tree in honor of your pet and issue you a personalized certificate identifying where the tree was planted. As the tree grows, you’ll have the satisfaction of helping the environment and seeing your pet grow with it.

Visit your Pet

Visit the burial site and make a tribute by decorating it with your pet’s favorite thing. Bring a blanket or toy, tell a story, relive a favorite playtime memory, light a candle or read a special poem or book. You could even play a video while you visit to remind you of good days.

Share Memories

Post a favorite memory on social media and share it with others by tagging it with #NationalPetMemorialDay. The International Association of Pet Cemeteries hosts a site where you can share an online memorial for your pet if you choose. If you lost your pet suddenly, try to keep your thoughts positive for others who might be grieving on that special day. National Pet Memorial Day doesn’t have to be a lonely affair; send sympathy cards to your friends who suffered the loss of a pet.

Reflect

Photographs capture the wonderful times you shared with your pet. Refresh your memories by browsing through a collection, or make a scrapbook of special times. As time goes by it will help to turn sadness into smiles as you take a walk down memory lane. Another way is to keep a favorite toy in a special place to revisit playtimes. These items were very important to your pet and will hold fond memories that they often provide some emotional relief.

Write a Story

We were all struck by the love in the story of Marley and Me. Create a personal tribute for your pet by writing short stories about how your pet enriched your life. Add in some pictures and a favorite toy to capture details of the story. Bind it all together as a tribute to the life you shared.

Artistic Tribute

Create or ask someone make a custom piece of art for you. You could get a tattoo of their birthdate or nickname, choose jewelry with paw prints, or frame a picture. There are so many ways to express your love for a pet that has passed away.

National Pet Memorial Day is a day for you to remember how much impact your pet had on your life. Take the time to grieve if you haven’t yet had the chance. Online support groups can be very helpful if you need an understanding shoulder to process your loss.

How Do Cats Really Feel About Their Human Friends?

Cats are some of the most wondrous housemates we have. They are clearly more independent than about any other animal you can own and tend to do things their own way. Where dogs are our loyal companions, cats are more like a roommate that does their own thing most of the time. This brings many owners to wonder what their cats really think and feel towards them. Some people even argue that cats may not see humans as anything more than a resource. Others argue that our cats are trying to take care of us because they don’t believe we can properly hunt. So, what’s the truth behind our pets’ actions?

A Different Language

All animals speak a widely different language than we do. Instead of using words a lot of the animal kingdom makes their communication known through posture and body movements. For example, one of the most common signs of affection by a cat is a slow blink. As humans, we would never blink at someone to say “I like you.” To understand an animal and what they are thinking you really must take a look into their psychology. A lot of scientists have done this by observing cats in social settings to come to conclusions about the meaning behind their actions.

A big chunk of figuring out how our cat feels about us is to observe how they act with us in comparison to other cats. If you have ever seen a bonded pair of cats you may notice that they often sleep together or play together. When cats don’t like each other, they make it insanely apparent. Cats will do all types of things when they don’t like you such as try to claim territory by marking it or verbally threats such as hissing or spitting. These signs are clear to most people that you should pack off and give your cat some space. Other than these signs those most owners can be rather clueless to the positive signs a cat tries to put off as these may be subtler or misunderstood than actions that clearly represent hostility.

How Do I Tell If They Like Me?

A cat that has affection for you will show quite a few signs. Cats, as it turns out really, don’t see us differently like dogs do. Most dogs recognize that we are a separate species and treat us differently than they would other dogs. Cats, on the other hand, treat us no different than other cats. This means that cats either can’t identify us as anything but big felines or they view humans as being on the exact same level as them. Either way, this means that they don’t change their behavior between you and another cat that they like.

Cats treat us much like they treat their mom or their own kittens. A cat the fancies us will sleep with us and takes the time to try and groom us. That means that annoying part of the day where you feel your cat's sandy tongue on your hand is a big sign of affection. Cats that like you will also knead on you often or rub against your legs when you're standing up. This is all behavior that relates back to what they learned from kitten hood in some way. In comparison, it's like a hug to show affection.

What is All This Meowing Then?

Cats in the wild don’t meow to communicate with each other much, if at all, meaning that these sounds and signals are reserved specifically for humans. As it turns out cats have sort of figured out how to best make us respond based on the sounds they make. This is why so many owners can tell what their cats want by the type of meow they are putting out. A cat learns how to get the reaction that they want out of their actions and keeps rolling with it. In a way, they are kind of training us to come and help them out. It’s an interesting dynamic that we don’t see with any other pets. If a cat does an action and you don’t react, however, they will probably switch to another tactic until they find out what makes you tick.

Cats are fascinating creatures that provide love, laughs and snuggles to any size family. It is important to always be mindful of how pets are responding to your actions, tone of voice and more. If you are interested in adopting a cat, visit a local shelter and find a cat whose personality goes along perfectly with yours!