Archive for June, 2014

Choices and Options for the Final Responsibility

June 20, 2014

HealingWe have choices and options available to us when the time comes for our Final Responsibility to our loved ones.  Believe it or not, there are choices of firms that will provide services for the afterlife care of your pet.  You do have the right to request burial and  either private or communal cremation.  These are topics most people do not like to think about until the time comes, however, it is worth the time to plan ahead.  It is your final responsibility to your beloved pet.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, lots of questions.  Ask enough questions so that you can rest assured you are going to get exactly what you want when the time comes.  Ask a veterinarian, search the Internet, or look in the yellow pages for Pet Cemeteries and/or Crematories.  Why shouldn’t we have rituals for our deceased pets?  The pet parent has the right to plan a visitation, memorial service, or funeral service specially designed for them.  Discussing this before and making selections of services and/or urns helps us feel some sense of control in a situation where we feel a great loss of control in loosing a loved one.

Many people, in fact, most people leave their pet’s body at the veterinarian’s office.  They experience a lot of stress and grief wondering about what happened to the body.  Some people do not want to ask, as they are afraid of the answer.  None of us want our loved ones to die, but we all realize it is inevitable.  Most people are not aware there are options in caring for the deceased pet’s body in a respectful and dignified manner.

The best time to start is early on in your pet’s life.  Feel free to go and visit a facility to see if you like the people that work there and are comfortable with them handling the final arrangements for your best friend and beloved companion.  It is best to investigate before you actually need the services and are in an emotional state of mind.  Most people feel better and enjoy their pets even more knowing they are prepared and have trust in the facility and people who will care for their pet in their time of greatest need.  Making a prearrangement plan helps alleviate some of the stress of experiencing the grief of the loss of a loved one.  With a plan in place, all one needs to do while grieving and hurting is make a phone call, knowing their treasured companion will be handled according to their wishes.  The promise of handling their pet during this time with compassion, dignity and respect helps ease the pain of the loss.

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Summer time and the living is easy? Not inside your vehicle – for your pets.

June 3, 2014

Looks can be deceiving.  On the outside on a 70 degree day, the inside of a vehicle can heat to over 100 degrees in just a few minutes.  In a very short time, a pet left in a vehicle on a warm day can succumb to heatstroke and/or suffocation and die.  Even in the shade, on a 78 degree day, temperatures in a car parked in the shade can exceed 90 degrees – and rise to a scalding 160 degrees in the sun!  Even with windows cracked open a bit.  A common misnomer by many people is that their pet will be safe with the windows cracked open.  Never leave pets or children in parked cars even for short periods of time, even if the temperatures are in the 60s and even higher.  Rolling down windows and parking in the shade will not guarantee safety or protection, since temperatures can quickly climb into the danger zone.

Many people ask about leaving the dog in the car with the air-conditioning running?  This is still extremely hazardous.  For example, in 2003, a police dog in Texas died after the air conditioning in the patrol car shut down and began blowing hot air.  The air system’s compressor had kicked off because the engine got too hot.  Newer model automobiles have computerized functions, and are prone to the same problem.  In less than 30 minutes, a North Carolina couple lost two of their beloved dogs, and nearly lost a third, as a result of a similar vehicular failure in the hot August sun.

In many states it is against the law to leave a dog in a car after the temperature reaches a certain point.  Owners and pet sitters can be held legally accountable and pay fines or be incarcerated for neglect and abuse of their pet, even in the most innocent of situations when a dog is left in the car for even a few minutes.  More recently a pet sitter/dog walker is under prosecution after six pets left in her care were left in a vehicle and died due to heat exhaustion after being left in the vehicle. 

Dogs are not able to sweat like humans.  Cats and dogs cool themselves by panting and by sweating through their paws.  They can go into duress and collapse, suffer organ failure, brain damage and potentially die of heatstroke.  In just 15 minutes, an animal’s body temperature can rise from a normal temperature to one of deadly levels that will damage the nervous and cardiovascular systems, often leaving the animal comatose, dehydrated and at risk of permanent impairment or death.

What should you do if you see an animal or child in a car on a hot day?

  • Take down the car’s color, model, make, and license plate number.
  • Have the owner paged in the store and call animal control/police.
  • Have someone keep an eye on the animal, or child.
  • Don’t leave the scene until the situation has resolved.  If police are unresponsive or too slow and the dog’s life appears to be in imminent danger, find a witness (or several) who will back up your assessment, take steps to remove the suffering animal, and then wait for authorities to arrive.

THIS IS a tragedy that is PREVENTABLE – if you truly love your pets – LEAVE THEM HOME

Leaving an animal in a vehicle on a warm day is like placing them in a furnace. 

At highest risk are puppies to 6 months of age; older large breeds 7 years and above, small breeds 14 and above, dogs with short muzzles/snouts with a wide heat; ill-overweight-over exerted; black or thick coats; dehydrated; or any existing medical conditions.

DANGER SIGNS:

If you think your companion is suffering from heatstroke, immediately remove him or her to a cool, shady place.  Try to slowly lower the animal’s temperature by placing in cool, not cold water; apply ice to the head and neck area; GET TO A VETERINARIAN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AS FOLLOW-UP CARE IS CRITICAL TO HIS WELL BEING. 

LOOK FOR: rapid panting, bright red tongue, red or place gums, thick, sticky saliva; depression; weak/dizzy; vomiting/diarrhea; shock; coma.

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