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Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Burial Ban in New York
State puts an end to human ashes in pet cemeteries

Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, the first of its kind in America, holds a special place in my heart. My cat was cremated there and I have friends whose pets are buried there. The Hartsdale Pet Cemetery has been open for over 100 years and is a testament to the special relationship humans have with their pets.

Given that it's the final resting place for many special animals, it's not surprising that about 600 pet lovers chose to join their dogs and cats by having their ashes buried at the cemetery. Although people have been doing this for decades, the ritual is now a thing of the past.

In February, New York's Division of Cemeteries made the practice illegal and ordered the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery to stop taking human ashes. The statewide ban became official in April.

Officials say the ruling was created because human cemeteries have more state protections than pet cemeteries. Additionally, human cemeteries must be nonprofit while pet cemeteries can be a for-profit businesses.

As you can imagine, plot holders at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery are angry about the sudden restriction.

I understand where the Division of Cemeteries is coming from, but it seems unfair since there are no other restrictions on where you can put human ashes.

If ocean lovers can have their ashes carried out to sea and nature lovers can have their ashes scattered in the forest, why can't an animal lover have their ashes buried at a pet cemetary?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
The Floor is Common Ground
How has your use of the floor changed?

Recently, I decided to stretch on my living room floor. Naturally, moments later there was a dog right beside me, sniffing my hair, pawing at my leg and generally expressing enthusiasm about joining in the fun. Maneuvering through a series of stretches is far more entertaining with a companion, and I never mind the company of dogs, but it did make me ponder how I use and share my floor.

In what ways do we give up on total floor access when we live with dogs? It can be tricky to stretch without wanted or unwanted participation. If you are interested in having your dog join in, then doga (yoga for dogs) may be for you. In doga classes, people and dogs work as partners in the practice of yoga, supporting each other in their poses. Many cities do not have doga classes, but the book Barking Buddha: Simple Soul Stretches for Yogi and Dogi can give human and dogs an introduction to it. Doga is a great example of the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach to sharing the floor with your dog.

There are other activities besides stretching that become more challenging due to the presence of dogs. Playing monopoly is easier on the coffee table than on the floor. Bending over to look under the couch for a lost item is no longer a solo activity, and a dog is bound to show up to participate. And, of course, kids are generally better off snacking at the table rather than taking their food with them while they play on the floor.

In what ways has the use of your own floor been changed by the presence of a dog?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
McQueen Leaves Large Sum to Dogs
The late fashion designer left money to his dogs and pet charities

Leaving money to pets and animal related charities is nothing new, however the topic was catapulted to popular discussion four years ago after Leona Helmsley left millions to her pup. Although I fully intend to set aside money for my pets, I imagine that the modest sum will hardly be controversial.

Last week it was revealed that Alexander McQueen also left a less contentious sum to his dogs and two animal related charities. His pets were so important to him that his suicide note specifically asked his family to look after his dogs.

The late fashion designer left £50,000 ($82,000 USD) to ensure that his canine family, Minter, Juice and Callum, would be well cared for after his death. McQueen also made a generous donation of £100,000 ($164,000 USD) to the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and the Blue Cross, organizations that help homeless animals in the United Kingdom.

Rich celebrities aren't the only ones including their pets in their will. According to Petriarch, 25 percent of pet owners have provided for their pets in a legal document, such as a pet protection agreement, pet trust or will.

In a survey by More Than Pet Insurance in the United Kingdom, 35 percent of respondents planned to leave their pets more than £10,000 ($16,400 USD) in their will, with some 37 percent admitting they intend to leave more to their pet than to a close relative or friend.

With the cost of quality pet care increasing every day, it's becoming even more important to set aside money for your furry family members.

Are your pets included in a will or pet trust?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Man’s New Best Friend
Do we rely on PCs more than our pups?

Has the computer replaced dog as “mans best friend?” Computeractive magazine and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) surveyed over 2,000 people in Britain to find out.

A whopping 67 percent of respondents believe that most people rely more on their computer than their dog. The number is lower for people who actually have a dog, but higher if the respondent was between the ages of 18–24 years old. Interestingly, men are almost twice as likely as females to rely more on their computers.

I depend on my computer for almost everything I do—editing spreadsheets at work, buying clothes and books online, mapping directions and watching movies, just to name a few. And of course, I use my computer to do lots of dog-related activities—researching dog food, buying pet supplies and entering agility trials. Lets face it, we’ve come to rely on computers for almost every aspect of our lives.

But there are many things that my computer will never be able to do. My dogs make me laugh when I’m down, get me outside to exercise when I’m feeling lazy, and help me meet new friends when we’re walking in the park.

A dog is always happy to see you and has so much love to give. As useful as my computer is, it can’t come close to the relationship I have with my dogs. So it’s safe to say that no technology will be replacing my pup as my best friend!

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Pet-Friendly Apartments Are Lucrative
There are many benefits for landlords that welcome pets

When I rented my last apartment, pet-friendly buildings were, on average, more expensive than the ones that didn't welcome pets.

It's unfortunate that a few irresponsible people seem to have given pets a bad name. In my search, I even found that many landlords stopped allowing animals because of property damage or complaints about barking. I've seen this with hotels too.

However, in these hard economic times, some real estate experts are recommending that non-pet-friendly landlords consider reversing their policy. According to the National Association of Residential Property Managers, upwards of 70 percent of tenants have some kind of pet. So clearly non-pet-friendly landlords are losing out on a large market.

A 2003 study by the Foundation for Interdisciplinary Research and Education Promoting Animal Welfare (FIREPAW) found that pet friendly apartments actually gained an average of nearly $3,000 per apartment, per year. Additionally, welcoming pets allows landlords to be more selective, since they're picking from a wider pool of prospective tenants.

While the study is a bit outdated, the statistics are compelling and makes a good case for landlords to become pet friendly.

  • Vacancy rates for pet-friendly apartments was 10 percent versus 14 percent for non-pet friendly units
  • Pet friendly apartments rented in an average of 19 days versus 29 days for non-pet friendly places
  • Tenants in pet friendly rentals stayed an average of 46 months compared with 18 months for non-pet friendly apartments
  • Pet friendly apartments were able to charge 20 to 30 percent more in rent than non-pet-friendly units
  • When controlling for children, apartments with pets cost landlords less in damage than rentals without pets

I understand that there are other factors to consider, like insurance issues, but I hope that more landlords will see both the economic incentives for changing policy and the many responsible pet lovers out there.

Have you found that landlords are more pet friendly these days?

News: Guest Posts
Foodie Poodle Cooks Noodles
Francis is the well-behaved host of a Japanese cooking show on YouTube

Dogs like to help out around the house, from working farms to high-rise apartments. There’s one room, however, where they aren’t typically welcome: the kitchen.

Try telling that to Francis. He’s the miniature-poodle “host” of Cooking With Dog, a Japanese YouTube series. Over a Chopin piano soundtrack, Francis “narrates” each episode as a chef prepares classic Japanese meals. He gives measurements and advice, and rounds up the show with the full recipe. Naturally, his favorite movie is listed as Ratatouille.

Most of the time, Francis is a silent and still observer, perched politely on the counter. Occasionally, he changes position or gives an especially interesting ingredient a curious sniff, but Francis largely stays on the sidelines. He gets a little sleepy at times and, incredibly, nods off, even in the face of pork belly.

There’s at least one episode where Francis loses his cool, though: When his chef pal finishes making okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake, Francis can’t contain a little, pleading whine and impatient foot-stomps (watch below). It just looks that good.

Francis’s restraint in the kitchen is impressive. Tasty food constantly passes within inches of his snout, but he manages to stay calm—that’s some solid training. My dog, Daisy, could take a lesson or two from Francis: She loves to be my “sous chef,” but isn’t nearly so patient and unobtrusive.

Does your dog like to “help out” in the kitchen?

News: Guest Posts
Dog (Price) Tag: $230K
One man's dog cost more than a house
german shepherd dog foster breed rescue help shelter adoption fee

The most I paid for any of my dogs was $75. That was the shelter pull fee for my late Catahoula, Desoto, from the Louisiana SPCA in New Orleans. Needless to say, he was priceless.

As a breed rescue volunteer in the Chicago area, I have seen adoption fees range from $200–$350. This includes spay/neuter, vaccinations, one month of heartworm and flea/tick preventative, and basic obedience training in the foster home. Yet some prospective adopters protested what they perceived to be as an exhorbitant fee for a secondhand dog.

Some of my dog training clients purchased purebred and designer puppies from a chain pet store, paying upwards of $1,500. One of them paid for her Cocker Spaniel puppy in monthly installments.

Agility friends of mine have paid $1,200–$1,800 for the performance puppy of their dreams. They diligently researched pedigrees and breeders, and felt fortunate to get on a waiting list that could last one to two years.

Minnesota businessman John Johnson paid $230,000 for his three-year-old German Shepherd, Julia. Granted, this beautiful “executive protection dog” offers an exemplary pedigree and proven Schutzhund skills. She certainly sounds exceptional, but I would argue that my $75 Catahoula protected me just as well. 

How much did you pay for your dog?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Famous Namesakes for Canines
Celebrities serve as an inspiration for naming our pets

Lately, New York is in a bit of a Derek Jeter fever since he became the first Yankee in the team’s history to reach the 3,000-hit plateau. The shortstop has always been popular, and I know several people who’ve named their pets after him.

According to the New York Times, there are 33 dogs in New York City registered under the name Jeter, but I’m guessing there are many more Jeters who are not officially accounted for (I've heard that as little as 20 percent of dogs in the Big Apple are registered).

It’s always been popular to name pets after celebrities or athletes.  My cat, Izzy, is named after former New York Islanders left winger, Brad Isbister, and my Sheltie’s registered name is Ya Gotta Believe, a nod to the New York Mets’ rally call, so you can imagine that Jeter didn’t cross my mind!

For his “call name,” I stayed away from sports all together and went with the title character from the movie Finding Nemo. Keeping with the Pixar theme, my newest puppy, Remy, is named after the main character from Ratatouille.

Are your pets named after a celebrity or famous character?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Company Offers Pet Burials at Sea
Another sign of love for dogs

How people say good-bye to loved ones is a strong indication of how much they were valued. Meaningful or elaborate ceremonies as well as permanent tributes are ways that people show how important someone was to them. Whether it’s the Egyptian pyramids of Giza, King Tutankhamun’s tomb, the mausoleum that includes the Terra Cotta Army of the Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang or the Taj Majal, people have often demonstrated great love and respect for someone who has died.

In recent years, dogs’ places in our hearts and homes have become every more solidified, and the way that we mourn them is keeping pace. It is now common for people to make donations in deceased pets’ honor, to bury them near the rest of the family, to attend grief support groups and to make memory books to help cope with the loss. It’s in keeping with the increased status of dogs as members of our family that it is now possible to conduct burials at sea for dogs.

The company New England Burials at Sea offers services for pets complete with ash scatterings at sea. A typical service may follow the scattering of ashes with a poem and placing flowers or wreaths in the ocean. People then receive a sea burial certificate on which the time, date, and latitude and longitude of the ash scattering are recorded. If desired, a picture of the pet is also on the certificate.

As dogs’ place in our hearts and lives continues to expand in today’s modern society, so does our respect for them in death. A proper, meaningful good-bye allows people to acknowledge the magnitude of love they have for their dogs. Hopefully, this helps with the grieving process.

How have you bid a fond farewell to a beloved pet?

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Vintage Finds: Dog Wallpaper Decals

The instructions were easy: “Damp gummed side with a wet cloth, wait 30 seconds, place in position and rub down gently.”

Wallpaper Decals were popular from about the 1930s into the ’50s and were mostly used to decorate a nursery or a child’s bedroom. They were also used to decorate furniture. These dogs were drawn by British artist Lucy Dawson (ca. 1870 to 1954) who was well known for her dog art, and were used to make decals by Butterfly Brands, a popular wallpaper maker in the UK. With luck, you might be able to find some on eBay, other auction sites or flea markets. We have a longtime Bark reader to thank for these examples.

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