February 24, 2016

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Vacationing without your pets, how do you manage it?

We recently took a vacation with a group of friends, all pet owners.  We each had to find a way to manage our pet family members' care while we were away, as we were going out of the country and it wasn't realistic to take them with us.  So with very different needs, we each made different choices. 

My mom offered to take care of our elderly cat, Ollie.  She loves her grand-cat and I love knowing Ollie is safe and happy while I'm away.  Our newer kitten was placed in the care of my father-in-law.  The kitten, Sir Purrington, is mostly a barn cat, but accustomed to being inside at night.  Dad generously made sure on the cold nights Purrs had a warm and dry spot as one night we suffered with 6" of snow (oh, wait, we were on vacation, we missed the snow!). 

Our friends that have the menagerie, with dogs, cats, barn cats, and horses asked a close family friend to house sit and take care of all the furry critters.  Luckily their sister is a vet so they could rest easy knowing the vet knows all the animals if anything were to happen while they were away.  One of their dogs had an infected toe, so the friend had lots of extra responsibility. 

The third family has 2 dogs that are well-trained, adults and healthy.  Their niece came and stayed with the dogs and kept them company.  The funny thing about going out of the country, you never know till you get there if that app you downloaded on your phone will really work.  Can I call home?  Can I rely on the WiFi to receive an email?  Can I even text?  We finally found ways to reach home and check in. 

Luckily, there were no major issues.  The biggest fur baby problem was one of my friend's mothers has a new dog.  She was recently widowed and thought it would be good company to help her deal with the loneliness.  She called my friend while we were away because the dog was having trouble.  Seemed her little baby was dizzy, favoring one of her legs and as it always seems to happen, it was late Friday night.  We consoled our friend who tried to console her mom, but all felt helpless.  Both due to the distance, the timing and the lack of communication to our dogs.  We know they are in pain sometimes, but can't figure out why they might suddenly be favoring a leg.

Next morning, the dog was fine!  We were relieved and we were headed home that day so all was right with the world.  At least until we saw the customs lines at O'Hare!  We knew we were in danger of missing our connecting flight home.  Our pet sitters had plans to go home, one had already left since we were due to return and the flights were on time.  I don't think I've run that fast since middle school!  We made it by the skin of our teeth and the grace of United holding the plane for the 6 of us. 

I was glad to be reunited with our pets and think they might even have missed me while I was away, but they'll never tell!   

January 29, 2016

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Choosing to be ready for our next dog...

How do you resist such a face?  My husband, Bob, and I are talking about our next dog.  I don't know how we'll decide, but for me, I wish I could adopt all the dogs who need a home.  I follow our local animal shelter, The Shelbyville/Shelby County Animal Shelter and see the stories of dogs who were surrendered and wonder, how could some give up a part of their family.

For me, it would be liking giving up a limb.  I loved our boy Ace and still miss him every day.  There were things we did together like clock work and now the time passes and the activity seems so much emptier.  Simple, daily things, like filling the bird feeders.  He would always follow me down the hill to the feeders and look curious about what I was doing.  

Many days we would trek through the stand of trees down to the river behind the house.  Its funny how fond I am now of those memories but it used to drive me crazy that he would wander too far, get into dense thickets and look back at me to come rescue him.  Or worse, keep going and I'd end following him to keep him in view so he didn't get to the neighbor's yard and beyond.  My advice, treasure the daily stuff you do with your 4-legged friend, it seems ordinary now, but it might help you overcome the loss later.  

I know lots of people who lose dogs, now that we sell the memorial to honor them.  I hear stories of extraordinary efforts to save them or heartwarming stories of the day they brought the new pet home.  I find it makes me a little more ready to bring home our next pup.  

I'd love to know how you chose your fur-baby.  My two cats both just showed up and chose me.  As a family, we always seemed to have a stray show up and get added to the mix when I was growing up.  Both the dogs who inspired us to start the K9 Memorials business were carefully selected before I met my husband.  He did lots of research, checked into breeders, made phone calls to friends before choosing his Lab pups.  He chose well!  Ace and Goober were sweet, loyal, loving, friendly and typical Labs.  

I doubt we'll get another yellow lab this time, and will likely choose a rescue animal who needs us.  I'll keep you posted when we start the search.   

 

December 31, 2015

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First holiday without our dog...

Well, we got through the first Christmas without our dog.  I know many face this each year.  Ace was a part of our family and he received gifts, helped us open ours and gave gifts to our friends' dogs.  This year, as we started to open presents, the loss hit me again. 

I wanted to be happy, we have so much to celebrate and be thankful for, but I shed tears again without my boy.  He loved to rip the paper and shred the boxes and we let him, took pictures, uploaded video on Facebook of his antics.  Ace had a great life, 13 years of good health, spoiled from beginning to end, didn't stop me from missing him though it is a comfort. 

We've started talking about our next dog.  Likely a rescue next spring, and for now feel lucky we have a new kitten that adopted us.  His name is Sir Purrington.  He purrs all the time!  I found the purrfect Christmas present for him, a new food bowl that has the word "purr" written over and over.  Christmas was a different experience with a cat, but he is so sweet.  I doubt he cares where his food comes from, but I loved getting him a gift and our family bought him some new mini-mice toys that he adores. 

So as 2015 comes to a close, we look to the new year, new beginnings and new hope of our next pup.  For those who suffered a loss of a pet this year, you are not alone in your grief.  Life isn't the same, but allow the next furry friend into your heart, they might surprise you! 

December 11, 2015

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Pet Angels

So I had a call yesterday, it was a case of mistaken identity, but I'm glad I answered.  The person who called me had just heard from a friend that her dog died suddenly.  The pet had been ill, went to the vet, had medicine and was expected to be fine. 

The pet owner woke up to find her dog next to her in bed, but it had died in the night.  The mistaken identity was due to our business being lumped with pet cemeteries.  She wanted to help her friend and arrange for the Pet Angels to come and pick up the dog from her friend's house.  She thought I could help arrange it.  I was just walking into the office and could hear how upset she was.  The memory of my own phone call when our Lab, Ace, was rushed to the vet by our best friends who were watching him while we were out of town came rushing back.  He was in bad shape they said. 

If you've read about our K9 Memorials, you know we lost Ace this year.  It was such devastating news to hear our sweet boy wasn't coming home again.  No more running in the yard (and at 13 he hadn't done much of that lately), so no more cooling off in the shade under the big sycamore tree, he would never again rush to the door when I walked in.  We made it home and were with Ace when he passed onto the Rainbow Bridge. 

So in an instant of mistaken identity, I could empathize with the lady who woke to find her beloved companion gone.  I tried to comfort her friend, I offered my condolences, looked up the right phone number for the Pet Angels and hung up.  I'll never know who these ladies are, but hope they find comfort after their loss, till they see him again on the Rainbow Bridge. 

December 01, 2015

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How we make your memorial...

First, lots of love for our two yellow labs brought us to this point.  After Goober died in 2001, we made a memorial for our own yard.  A year later we adopted Ace, he was the runt of his litter and the sweetest dog we ever had in our family.  Ace had a great life and died the summer of 2015 after a sudden onset of health issues.  So we took our grief and decided to offer a tribute to other beloved pets and created K9 Memorials as a way to relieve our sadness. 

If you are curious about the creation of your memorial, I hope this will help.  We create each memorial with attention to detail using the latest in CNC Machine technology.  Currently we cut the steel from a large sheet, using high density dxf. files on a water jet.  After they are cut, they are tumbled to smooth and polish the steel for a shiny finish. 

Next the silhouette of your dog is taken to our 50 Watt Laser Engraver and your order is uploaded from the website, so never worry, we won't misspell your best friend's name!  The engraver outlines the text 3 times so it stands out and will last a lifetime. 

As pet lovers, we know the sorrow you feel and truly desire to bring a little comfort to you and your family after the loss of your companion.  We hope you'll share your story with us and follow along at Facebook.com/K9Memorials