5 Ways To Memorialize Your Pet

This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link. If you choose to purchase through the link it doesn’t increase your purchase price, but Amazon will pay a small commission which helps keep this blog going.

The passing of a pet is always a difficult situation. Often, they are a member of our families and, increasingly, are reaching the same status as children in a traditional family.

The process of watching a beloved pet age and go through any number of issues before passing, or if there is a sudden loss; is never easy. While the grieving process can be long and difficult, there are ways to memorialize your pet so that while they aren’t with you as they once were, you can still have a visual and tangible reminder of them. Those items will help those who see relive the good memories of their lives while they were with you.

Some of the ideas below are items that are purchased, while others are DIY. Both have their benefits, but having a hand-crafted memorial is very fitting given the nature of the relationship between you and your pet.

Shadow Box

A shadow box is a small collection of sentimental items arranged in a case to hang on a wall, or place on a table. Often, pictures are included, a small notecard with a poem, you could include a favorite small toy, or other items that your pet had a special connection to. Their collar, or their ID tags can be placed in a prominent place in the shadow box.

You can purchase many shapes and sizes from your favorite local hobby store, Amazon, or build your own.

Check out these plans for DIY shadow boxes from the Rogue Engineer.

Urn

While we think of urns as mostly for human ashes, they are also available in smaller sizes, and different ornemenation for pets. Cremation services are widely available across the United States, and can be coordinated with a veterinarian or often you can bring your pet their directly after they have deceased.

After cremation, the ashes will need to be picked up and will be in a plastic bag inside a cloth sachet, typically inside a decorative box.

Engraving is often available and a special quote can be etched into the urn. “You’ve Got A Friend In Me”, and “Gone But Not Forgotten” are two perfect phrases. You can also have their date of passing included.

Urns can be set up on a mantle, or ledge at home with a collar or ID tags draped over the top.

Manufactured Diamond

A growing trend for human ashes is exerting a very high amount of pressure on them over an extended period of time, which turns the ashes into a diamond. This can be tinted to finish in many colors and set into any jewelry piece. The same can be done with pet ashes.

The process is typically to request a kit, return the ashes to the diamond company, and wait up to 10 months while the diamonds are grown. After that, the diamond is returned to the sender and can be brought to any jeweler where they can be set into an existing piece (ring, necklance, bracelet, earrings, etc…) or set into a new piece.

This is a highly tangible way to bring the memories of your pet with you whever you go.

Paw Print Imprint

Keeping an imprint of a pets paw print on display can be a great reminder of the individuality of your pet. The shape, size, depth, and contours of the impression can bring back memories of times spent together curled up a home, or how those feet endlessly chased their favorite flying toy.

Several inexpensive kits are available online, or oven-baked clay can be used and is available at most craft stores. Below is a recipe you can craft at home without having to make a purchase. Check out this basic oven baked clay recipe from Allrecipes.

This doesn’t only need to be done after a pets passing. It can be a great reminder today of how special your pet is and how important their companionship and loyalty is while they are with us!

[One more thing]

Given how special the animal-human bond is, it seems appropriate to memorialize a pet in a special way. There are lots of great resources online, this is only a glimpse of some of the most popular ways.

What is important is to savor every moment with your pet while they are here. They bring comfort, warmth, companionship, and a patient ear when we need to get something off our chest. Often, they follow us through many stages of our own lives and are the ‘constant’ that we need to help get us through some of life’s rough patches.

One thing that always comforts me is the Rainbow Bridge poem. It makes a great addition to any memorial to your pet.

Amazon has a beautiful photo frame with the Rainbow Bridege poem printed next to the picture area.

The Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Author unknown

Five of the most important things to look for when finding the perfect dog bed

There are hundreds of dog beds to choose from when looking online and in pet stores, however it is important to very carefully weight the following factors when selecting the correct one for your dog.

While some characteristics may seem obvious at first glance, as you dog start using the bed you will find that other factors may be more important that they initally seem. For example, the look of a bed may seem important, however, if your dog is a breed that is a tough chewer and they begin to attemp to gnaw at the bed, you will find that durability ultimatley is more important than design.

When selecting a dog bed, breed is an important factor to keep in mind. Some dogs are in hearantly curious so they may find pleasure in ‘digging’ at their bed. If you dog is getting up in years and needs more support, an orthopedic bed may be a better option. Should your dog be a large breed, having foam or ‘over stuffed’ plolyfill may be what you should be looking for.

Below, I have listed five of the most important factors when selecting the perfect dog bed. Take into consideration your dog and rank each one to help narrow down the perfect place for your pooch.

Design

The patterns and colors that dog beds come are made is virtually limitless. Whether you are trying to find a bed that will coordinate with the room it will be in, or if you would like the bed to blend in with it’s surroundings, you can find hundreds of options when it comes to colors and prints. Beds mostly come in solid colors, although you can find an increasing availability of prints in muted or bold schemes. For the most part, the bottom and sides of the bed usually are made of coordinating colors to the top, which is the most visible. While the top of the bed may have a pattern or contrasting color, often the sides and bottom are not of the same design.

Durability

Beds range from lightweight fabrics all the way to ultra-durable canvas-type cloth. Mostly, beds are made from synthetic materials like polyester and nylon, however there are some cotton and fleece available. Durability is very important to consider if your dog is a heavy chewer, or has anxiety, or separation issues. If they are left at home alone during the day, they could use the bed as a tool to take out their anxiety, which ultimatey leads to its destruction.

Stuffing

The inner fluff of the bed comes in three categories, PolyFill which is like ‘plastic hay’; long thin strands of plastic that are usually contained in a second, inner pouch, the second filling type is foam and can be in an ‘egg crate’ form, either in one piece or broken up pieces, and the last type is ‘other’ which could be cocoanut husk, cotton scraps, or cedar chips. All types have their pros and cons. The most common filling materials are polyfill and some form of foam. Polyfill tends to compress over time making for a bed that flattens. Foam can be made from many different densities with the most dense foams keeping their shape the longest. Selecting a foam filling may be the best option for large breeds.

A consideration should be made as well if an orthopedic bed is needed to provide extra support, or if the dog using it like to support their chin on a raised side. Also, for dogs that like to curl and sleep in corners (or pressed up against a human), they may like having a U-shaped raised edge along the back and sides of the bed.

Shape and Size

One of the most important factors should always be matching the size of bed to the dog that will be using it. The folks at www.Make-Your-Own-Dog-Stuff.com have a great page on correctly measuring your dog for the prefect fit. I would say it’s never wrong to be liberal with your measuring. Your dog may add a few inches (or pounds) as they age and it is good to give them room to grow into.

Beds also dont’ come in just rectangles. There are many other options including circles (for dogs who like to curl), bone-shaped beds, chaise lounge shaped beds, and even beds that look like rugs – to blend in more naturally.

Ease of Cleaning

Some dogs are prone to drooling while sleeping, others may experience an accident as they age, sometimes they will bring food or other soggy toys to bed which require that the bed is occasionally cleaned. Often beds will have a removable cover which can be washed in the regular machine laundry, while others are made from waterproof materials.

In closing, the ‘perfect dog bed’ is the one that they seek out and use, and that lasts a long time. Using the factors above can help you identify the correct bed your dog will be sure to love.

Roundup of Dogs in the News

This weeks roundup of stories are incredibly inspirational and are a great read!

Service Dog Gives Girl Without Arms A Helping Hand

WILX in Lansing, Michigan shares the story and video of a Zeo Bosanic who was born without arms, but thanks to her Golden Doodle, is able to overcome that obstacle.

Mochi, her dog, has been working with Canines for Change to learn the situations where Zoe needs assistance, and how to provide it. For example, if Zoe drops something, Mochi can pick it up and place it where Zoe access it. Thanks Mochi and Canines for Change, and Congratulations Zoe for your strength and courage!

Canine Companions for Independence features Megan Moving Away From Home

Megan, who graduated from law school in Boston, didn’t let her deafness interfere with her independence. Struggling with how to manage daily tasks without her parents, she realized that a service dog would be able to provide what she needed to move away from home.

Canine Companions for Independence worked with Meg to match her with the right dog (his name is Ras). Ras provides her with the confidence and reassurance that she won’t miss vital alerts in the world.

Mutt-i-grees Student Ambassador Program Runs Adoption Event

Mutt-i-grees Student Ambassadors in conjunction with North Shore Animal League host an adoption event in New York’s Prospect Park which ends up with 9 rescue dog adoptions!

Students in the program took the lead in the event, raising awareness, and collecting signatures for a petition, as well as working the adoption event. This great community partnership was a win-win for everyone as the students gained organizational and leadership skills, and several dogs found forever homes!

Mutt-i-grees also has curriculum that teachers can incorporate into any classroom setting. Check out the links on their site.

Saline Memorial Hospital Hires Therapy Dog For Staff, Patience

Recognizing the benefits of therapy dogs, Saline Memorial Hospital in Benton, Arkansas has brought in furry assistants to ease the nerves of anxious and stressed patients and staff.

“Get her in your lap and love her for a little bit. You’ll forget about your troubles,” said Ruth Phillips, a patient.

Often, patients must spend extended periods in hospital as they recover from a procedure or experience reucurring treatments, they must leave their familiar home and pets. Having just a touch of something ‘from home’ or a happy-go-lucky dog can bring a smile and calmness to any heart.

This Is Why Firehouse Dogs Are Dalmatians

MSN did a writeup this week answering the question why dalmatians are associated with firehouse dogs. The article goes into greater detail, but when the firefighters would run into buildings, the dogs would stay with the horses, calming them, and keeping pickpockets away.

Clearly, in today’s age, the mechanized firetruck has replaced the horse-drawn wagon, but the imagery of the dalmatian sitting on the back of the fire truck, or laying at the entrance to a firehouse has remained.

Also, check out this longer article from Live Science with pictures of dalmatian fire dogs in action, riding along to the scene of fires. https://www.livescience.com/33293-dalmatians-official-firehouse-dogs.html

The Year Of The Pet Apps

Mark your calendar, folks, 2019 is officially the year of the pet app. This year we have witnessed so many new and revolutionary apps launched for dogs and their people.

Recently, the Puppr app has taken the world by storm. Updating the age-old ‘clicker training’ method, Sara Carson worked with developers to customize videos and chat features into an app which would be accessible to every dog household. Now, everyone has a super-easy way to start training at home with the help of an America’s Got Talent finalist.

Dig is the dating app for dog people. Ever gone on a date where your match didn’t like dogs? Not anymore! Ensure canine compatability and have confidence that your relationship is off to a great start with this app to connect humans, who both love dogs!

My Talking Pet has been around for several years but now gaining some serious traction. Upload a pit of your pet, click on a few points on the picture, then watch as your pet turns into a vocal virtuoso as their mouth follows your words. Use some fun preset phrases use your own!

Furbo is a fun hardware and software combination that lets you watch your dog through the wifi-enabled camera, but also toss treats to them remotely, and interact through the built-in microphone! Great quality settings for high and low bandwith connections, and an integrated LED in the camera to visually show when it is broadcasting. Check the current price on Amazon using the link above.

WoofTrax is a great app to help get and keep you and your dog active, but also donate to a great cause. Fire up the app and grab the leash because all the time and steps you track while walking your dog can add up to a donation to many available dog-centered groups! Read the details in the app to ensure your maximum donation.

Is Climate Change Causing Disease Spread?, Miranda Lambert’s MuttNation Helps Adoption, and The Most Dog-Friendly Work Places. Those Topics And More In This Weeks News

Climate Change Causing Spreading Diseases

USA Today had an interesting article about how the changing climate is causing animal diseases to show up in parts of the country where they either haven’t’ been seen before, or weren’t very prevalent. The article quotes veterinarians as saying the warmer weather is allowing diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme disease, and heartworm.

Not only are the diseases spreading out from their traditional territory, but there are also new strains being introduced – and can survive – in areas they have not before. The Heartland Virus and the Bourbon Virus are two new entrants that have caused hospitalization and in some cases death. This story is a reminder of the importance of preventing and dealing with the changes associated with our changing world.

MuttNation Sees 61 Adoptions After Event

It’s rare that country music would show up in a dog-focused blog, but Miranda Lamber’s project MuttNation held its fourth annual drive this month and helped 61 dogs move from shelter to permanent homes. In collaboration with the Nashville Humane Association, they held a one-mile “Mutt March” through Nashville to raise awareness.

Miranda is quoted in the article as saying “To the initiated, it probably sounded like dogs barking, but to me, knowing the pure joy that comes from owning a rescue dog -or eight- it was music to my ears. We were marching on behalf of MuttNation to raise awareness for shelter pet adoption and in support of animal rescues across the country – and because its fun and it’s our passion.

Most Dog-Friendly Workplaces

Inc.com posted a list of the most dog-friendly companies. Not surprising was the list of pet-focused companies, and super-large employers like Amazon and Salesforce. What was interesting was we have moved from a mentality of ‘its okay to bring your dog’ to ‘here is what we are doing for you if you bring your dog’.

On-site treats, toys, pet relief areas, dedicated rooms and furniture are all a great way to make the experience of bringing a dog in more enjoyable (for non-dog people as well), but also a great retention tool to keep talented and motivated people working for your company. In this tight labor market, going the extra mile to make life easier for dog owners is a way to ensure employees stay connected to their company.

Another interesting twist on this topic is how Work From Home has now become more prevalent, allowing dog owners the opportunity to stay in the environment most comfortable to them and their dogs. Seeing the rise of co-working pace also decreases commute time for those eligible employees letting them spend more time with their pets before and after work.

Ironically, Inc also posted this story in 2016 “The Problem With Dog-Friendly Offices“.

If you are looking for the complete list of the Top 12 Most Dog-Friendly Companies, here it is:

  • Amazon
  • Procure Technologies
  • Trupanion
  • Petsmart
  • Airbnb
  • Nestle Purina Petcare
  • Petco Animal Supplies
  • Zogics
  • Ceros
  • Uber
  • Salesforce
  • Chewy.com

Travel Time: Keeping Your Pooch Safe on the Road

So, we’re coming into the summer season where school is letting out across the United States, and more families are traveling for vacation to exciting places and to see far off family.

This week, there were a few list articles that popped up on the radar:

Top 10 Cities for Dog-Friendly Urban Hiking

Teach Your Dog To Ride In the Car: Prevent Anxiety and Motion Sickness

The Best Dog-Friendly Bars In Each State (and D.C. too)

It’s great to see that dogs are welcomed out in public more and more, and with the rise of pets replacing children in young couples who put off raising children (until they can afford them – but that’s another story) dogs are becoming not just ‘home companions’ but now ‘travel companions’.

SleepyPod makes all kinds of canine vehicle and air travel restraints. Check out their products here on Amazon to keep your pal safe on your travel.

Delicious And Easy No-Bake Dog Treats

Occasionally, I will make the rounds and read blog posts keeping an eye out for new things I can make or do to bring good things to my dogs, and one post stood out to me on the Chewy.com blog, it was a recipe for No-Bake Trail Mix Bars.

The blog is well done and includes a whole section for “DIY & Recipes” that are super easy to build and make for people of any skill level.

I’m a huge fan of easy recipes. and hate making a huge mess in the kitchen for any reason. This recipe was easy, little mess, full of high-quality foods that my dogs (and I!) enjoyed eating.

The treats are made from a base of peanut butter and oatmeal with dried fruit and coconut mixed in. The recipe calls for ingredients with no added sugar, so the overall taste was different than what I was used to in commercial human trail mix, but I agree that less added sugar is a good thing.

All of the ingredients were readily available at my local Wegmans grocery store, and the directions were very easy to follow. The Chewy.com blog post has a video and pictures that make completing this treat very easy.

Ingredients in the No-Bake Trail Mix Bars. All Natural, Unsweetened dried fruit
Ingredients in the No-Bake Trail Mix Bars dog treats

The two tricks I found to making this recipe succeed were:

  1. Use your hands to mix the ingredients. Using a spoon or spatula wasn’t efficient.
  2. Half of a cup of peanut butter wasn’t enough to make things stick together well, feel free to increase it.
Video produced by Chewy.com demonstrating their No-Bake Trail Mix Bars dog treats
Trail Mix Bar ingredients in the bowl, ready for mixing.
Using the spatula keeps your hands clean, but increases the mixing time.

Once you have the chia seeds soaked, add all the ingredients together. This recipe reminded me of a Christmas baking recipe from my childhood, peanut butter fruit balls rolled in coconut.

As a tip, ditch the spatula and use your hand. You can wear a glove or put your hand in a ziptop or sandwich bag to mix if you don’t want sticky hands.

No Bake Trail Mix Dog Treats in a pan with parchment paper
Ingredients mixed and pressed into the parchment paper-lined pan

The recipe suggests a 6×10-inch pan, which isn’t one I have. I swapped it out for a 9×9 which is a bit larger. Consequently, the bars that it created were thinner (which could have contributed to the crumbling I experienced). Feel free to use the size of pan you have. The trail mix consistency is think, dry, and light, so you could even use an empty snack cracker box that has a large side removed, or a clean take-out food container. This link will bring you to Amazon to check the price on their Pyrex glass baking pan set.

Broken bars and crumbs
Broken bars and crumbs

Once I had removed them from the pan, they started to fall apart. Increasing the peanut butter is highly recommended. The recipe says to wrap each bar separately in plastic wrap. Instead of that, I put all the bars (and crumbles!) in to an air-tight container. These ‘dog treats’ are just as edible for humans, so the dogs and I snacked on them in the upcoming days.

Australian Shepherd enjoying No-Bake Trail Mix Bars

Mickey was having a diva moment and didn’t want to stand up for his treat, so he devoured it lying down. I probably should have made him shake a paw or speak before he got it, but I was more concerned about his reaction to the taste than his training!

In conclusion, this was a very easy, quick, no-fuss, DIY treat that is nutritionally good for both the dogs and I.

If you are looking to make these at home, check out this link to Amazon for a Pyrex Glass Baking set.

Three Options For Affordable Veterinary Care

Just like with human health, there are many options when it comes to care for you dog. From “primary care” from an ongoing veterinarian, to “urgent care”-style services from a mobile or “next available” vet, there are all kinds of services to meet every need your dog has.

Each of these three types of veterinary services is designed to fit the needs and lifestyle of any type of dog owner. Mobile veterinary services, Vets in store, and full service permanent veterinarians offer the full line of whatever services you are looking for.

Mobile Veterinary Services

Mobile veterinary services will travel to you and meet you in the comfort of your home or farm, and at a time that is convenient for you. This is the most convenient option as you can book an appointment that works in your schedule, and often your dog (or animal’s) primary care veterinarian will schedule regular visits. Not only will your pet be most relaxed in their own environment, but they can get to know and be comfortable with a recurring person.

Veterinarians like Dr. Andrea Switch realized there was a need to meet animals on their own turf, and to offer a convenient option to pet owners, so she launched her mobile service.

While mobile services are very convenient, they are limited to the procedures they can perform due to the limited amount of equipment they are able to travel with, and lack of surgical space.

A few veterinarians and services that offer home visits include VetPronto, HousePaws, VettedPetCare, and ValetVet.

Community Vet Clinics

Another convenient option that bridges the gap between home visits, and a traditional veterinarian is the community vet clinic. Often these clinics are located at pet stores and have convenient times like weekends and evenings. When the host store or center doesn’t have the space inside, often you will find the clinic in a tent outside. One of the independently owned chains that often hosts clinics is Pet Supplies Plus.

These clinics often do not require an appointment can offer a lower cost than a traditional veterinarian office because they have fewer fixed costs. Listed on the VIP Pet Care site, they have the following services listed as available at their clinics:

  • Microchipping
  • Vaccinations
  • Rx Flea and Tick Control
  • Heartworm Prevention
  • Testing and Deworming
  • Titer Testing
  • Nail Trims and Grinds (select locations)

Canine services include:

  • 5-in-1 (DAP + PARVO) Vaccine
  • Canine Rabies
  • Bordetella Vaccine
  • Leptospirosis 4-way
  • Roundworm/Hookworm Dewormer
  • Fecal Test

Feline Services include:

  • 3-in-1 (FVRCP)
  • Feline Leukemia Vaccine
  • PureVax Rabies Vaccine
  • Roundworm/Hookworm Dewormer
  • Fecal Test

Community vet clinics typically offer emailed records, walk-up service, and convenient locations that you already visit, and may offer lower prices than traditional veterinarians. While these locations are staffed by professional veterinarians and technicians, they can suffer from high turnover rates due to the intense travel requirements, so you may not have the same veterinarian or technician working with your pet on separate visits.

Full Service Permanent Veterinarian

Traditional veterinarians offer the most comprehensive service due to their permanent facilities and the ability to install specialized equipment that may not be able to travel. Bringing your dog or cat to a veterinarian location may have certain drawbacks, like needing to visit during their established hours, and due to the increased overhead expenses they may be more expensive than other options, but having a permanent staff may ease the anxiety of your pet as they become familiar with the team who work there.

Full service veterinarian offices are often facilities accredited by the American Animal Health Association (AAHA). These voluntary standards help to ensure that your pet has the most enjoyable and safest experience possible while in your vet’s care.

Conclusion

There are so many variables that each pet owner must take into consideration when looking to find the best care for their pet, and finding the right balance of cost, convenience, and quality. With more service providers recognizing that pet owners today are looking for veterinary care, there are ever-expanding options to find the right type of care for your pet.