National Pet Memorial Day

More than 40 years ago, the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories created National Pet Memorial Day, held on the second Sunday in September, to honor pets both past and present. Pets, in their many shapes, forms, and personalities, undoubtedly and significantly impact our lives and hearts. To celebrate these wonderful furry family members after their passing, we can pay tribute to them in a number of ways. Here are a few:

  1. Ashes. A number of sites offer an impressive array of urns, boxes, and other containers, including jewelry in which your pet’s remains can be stored and cherished.
  2. Photos. Take a particularly memorable or professional photo of your pet, have it framed, and place it where it will bring you comfort. Showcase a collection of representative photos (pets doing different activities, at different ages, at special locations, etc.) in a scrapbook, collage, or matted collection.
  3. Portrait. Get your pet’s portrait painted! Often pet portrait artists work off a good photograph, so this ties in nicely with #2.
  4. Get crafty. Ideas: transferring a pet’s photo onto a needlepoint canvas or painting ceramics.
  5. Write it down. You compose a poem, a letter (to your pet or “from” your pet), a chronicle of your pet’s life, or a written family project. The point is to express your feelings and memories of your furry companion.
  6. Cyberspace. You can post your tribute online. A number of sites offer this service for free too. On social media, you can share photos, written tributes, and your memories. Use the hashtag #NationalPetMemorialDay.
  7. Plant a tree or shrub. For example, Treegivers offers the service of planting a tree in your pet’s name. You can also plant a tree or special plant, like catnip, in a memorial garden or city park.

When Nala and Boudicca passed, I had their ashes placed in a nice box and set their collars on top of the boxes. I put Nala’s box in the living room overlooking her usual spot while I put Boudicca’s box on a shelf in my office overlooking her office supurrviser spot (her bed). I also have a bit of Queen B’s fur in a sachet.

Listed above are only a handful of ways you can remember your beloved pet. There are many more specialized ways of doing this. For example, my mother made a lovely memorial collage quilt composed of the bandannas the Schnauzers received after they were groomed. Be creative! For more information, check out tips from Pet Loss, the Dog People, UF’s Small Animal Hospital, and the Huffington Post.

How have you memorialized your pets? How do you celebrate and remember your pets past and present? Share in the comments!

National Hug Your Hound Day

National Hug Your Hound Day was created by the author and canine behaviorist Ami Moore, the “Dog Whisperer of Chicago”. The holiday is observed annually on the second Sunday of September.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

National Hug Your Hound Day is about “truly observing your dog (from his point of view” in his environment and everyday life”. Like a number of other pet-themed holidays, it focuses on the happiness and health of your pet. Oh yeah, it might also be a perfect excuse to ensure your dog is sufficiently hugged!

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Happy Cat Month

I’m sure that Happy Cat Month occurs at my house every day (or at least I truly hope so)! The CATalyst Council created Happy Cat Month to educate cat owners about what they can do to ensure their fur person is indeed happy, healthy, and thoroughly loved. There are four themes throughout the month, as follows:

  • Happy Healthy Cat: September 1-5
  • Happy Enriched Cat: September 6-12
  • Happy Multi-Cat: September 13-19
  • Happy Valued Cat: September 20-30

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Isn’t that neat and comprehensive? For more information, check out the CATalyst Council’s Facebook page!

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Ginger Cat Appreciation Day

Happy Ginger Cat Appreciation Day! Did you know that all orange cats are tabbies and 80% of them are male? I was fortunate enough to have raised and loved a bicolor orange tabby girl, Nala, who has since passed over the Rainbow Bridge in 2017.

As you can see here, Nala was mostly white but had orange tabby splotches on her head, back, hind legs, and tail. Her orange fur seemed to grow browner with age.

Nala believed that sinks were her personal beds. She loved water!

Other cool facts about orange cats:

  • Famous orange cats include the animated Garfield, Tango (Winston Churchill’s cat), and Marmalade (of Cole and Marmalade fame)!
  • Tabbies are not a breed but rather a type of coat marking. Orange tabbies can be Maine Coons, American Bobtails, British Shorthairs, Persians, Abyssinians, Munchkin cats, and Persians.
  • There are four tabby patterns: mackerel (the most common), classic (aka blotched or marbled), spotted, and ticked.

Photo courtesy of Pexels. This cute little fuzzball is an orange mackerel tabby.

Photo courtesy of Silver Short Hairs. This gorgeous cat is a long-haired classic tabby. Garrus, though not orange, is a classic tabby, though the black markings on his back smudge the distinctive swirl on his sides.

Photo courtesy of Feral Front. These two are lovely spotted tabbies! Charlie, though not a ginger cat, is another example of a spotted tabby.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest. This is an orange ticked tabby (and a Maine Coon to boot–check out that magnificent tail!)

Do love orange cats too? Give them an extra helping of love today. Please share stories and photos of your ginger cats in the comments!

National Holistic Pet Day

When we humans think about our health, we think of mind, body, and spirit or heart. We strive to be healthy and find fulfillment in our lives. As responsible pet owners, we can extend that kind of thinking to our pets as well. When I say “holistic”, I’m talking about the whole, as in the mind, body, and spirit or heart of your pet.

Holistic health begins with good nutrition, physical exercise, and mental stimulation. Is your pet at a healthy weight? Does your pet get enough exercise? Do you think your pet is bored? These are only three questions to consider. As a caring and responsible pet owner, having a healthy and happy pet probably means that you’re happy for your pet too. Everyone wins.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Here are some activities you can do today to celebrate National Holistic Pet Day:

  1. Have an adventure. Take your dog to a new park. Arrange a playdate with a new doggy friend. Bringing your dog to new places, combined with reinforced training, help your dog to be well-socialized and more confident.
  2. Play, play, play. Exercise can be therapeutic for pets and beneficial mentally as well as physically. By regularly playing with your pet, you strengthen pet-owner bonds, let your pet hone skills (fetching, tracking, pouncing, hunting, etc.), and reduce stress.
  3. Enrichment. Mixing things up a bit and encouraging pets to use their minds as well as their paws and noses can help pets, especially indoor ones, stave off boredom. Consider these ideas: food-dispensing puzzle toys; sensory enrichment (i.e. window perch for birdwatching, pet-directed videos); climbing posts, trees, and shelves for cats; novel objects like boxes, paper bags, pop-up tunnels, and bacon-flavored bubbles for dogs. Seriously!

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day

Losing a pet is the saddest part of pet ownership. Mourning the loss of a pet and dealing with grief is indeed a process, sometimes a very painful one. Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day is a way to cherish and celebrate the memory of the beloved pets we’ve lost and to continue healing.

Queen Boudicca Mata Hari Sophia (circa May 2000-May 25, 2018). For 18 years, she was my cat-dog, googly girl, reading buddy, and dedicated office supurrviser. I miss my darling Queen B.

Princess Nala Artemis Fae (circa April 2001-January 21, 2017). She was my bottle baby and windfall kitten. In the last few years of her life, Nala ultimately chose Aaron as her Chosen person (in her mind he became HER boyfriend) and, accordingly (in her eyes), I was demoted to pet status .

This is Pelota. My parents opened their home to this lovely Ragamuffin rescue in 2010. Her original name was Trixie but we quickly renamed her Pelota (Spanish for “ball”). She was incredibly docile and a thoroughly sweet, affectionate cat. Her soft belly was never a trap! Sadly, in 2012 she passed away at the age of 10 from a rare condition, a spinal cord embolism.

Here are a few ways to celebrate Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day:

  1. Take time to enjoy memories of your late pet. Look through pictures and videos.
  2. Talk about your pets, both current and past. Remember the little things that made you smile. Record them in a journal or on social media if you wish.
  3. Thinking about getting a new pet after losing one? Consider a visit to your local animal shelter or animal rescue group if you feel ready. Volunteering or fostering may help you adjust.
  4. Use #RainbowBridgeRemembranceDay to share on social media.

How do you remember your pets that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge? Share your stories in the comments.

National Dog Day

Today is National Dog Day! While I may have cats currently, I am in fact an equal opportunity pet enthusiast. For many years my family had Miniature Schnauzers and I still harbor an enormous soft spot for that breed. Dogs do so much for their humans, so it is only natural that we take some time today (and every day!) to celebrate and love our canine companions.

My parents now have two rescue dogs: Chiquita (aka Chica and Pretty Girl), a Kooikerhondje, and Chiya, a Tibetan Spaniel.

Look how cute they are! Chica is an extraordinarily good girl with great manners and an earnest, loving personality. Chiya is a sassy little diva. Both are highly snuggleable, as I can attest.

In addition to their two cats, my Aunt Rebecca and Uncle Jan have an unlikely trio of rescues: a Border Collie (Legend), a Great Pyrenees/Lab mix (Storm), and a Great Pyrenees (Kuma).

Legend is…enthusiastic to say the least. Who could resist that face?

Storm is a big, lovable galoot. His tail can clear a coffee table in one swipe. He thinks he’s Chiya’s size, which leads to hilarity.

Kuma (Japanese for “bear”) looks like a canine polar bear! Check out that fluff!

Do you have dogs? What do you love about them? Please share in the comments!