Do you consider yourself a pet parent or pet owner?  Is your pet your companion or just your backyard pet?

Here are eight signs that your pet is actually your “animal companion” and not just your “pet”:

Do you do any of the following:

  • You often refer to him/her by first name (as you would your BFF, child or spouse) and not “my dog” or “my cat”
  • You constantly are posting pics of him/her on Instagram and Facebook. (selfie anyone?!)
  • You buy Halloween Costumes for him/her.
  • Your friends, family and co-workers think you are talking about your children BUT when you grab your phone to show them a picture… it’s your dog.
  • You own pet insurance
  • He/she has their own Instagram account
  • They constantly travel with you
  • You pay for sitters, walkers or daycare providers to help care for him/her

If you answered yes to ANY of the above then yes your pet is an “animal companion” and not just your average “backyard pet”.  Welcome to the club!!  Times have changed and our “pets” are not just pets anymore; they are family. Common terms used now throughout the pet industry and among veterinarians are “Pet Parent” and “Animal Companion”. It’s a reflection of how we view our “fur babies” and the care/services we come to expect for our pets has to be nothing short of the absolute utmost best! We choose the best food, the best bedding, and the best veterinarian. We have pet insurance, pet clothing, pet sitters, pet boutiques and even doggie day care, let alone the money we invest into our horses! So what does it mean when a “pet” is now an “animal companion”?

What it is to be an Animal Companion:

Now that you have accepted that your pet is not just a pet and is considered a companion, what does it mean to hold that title?  Well, they love us unconditionally, provide emotional support and many times stress relief.  Let’s be honest, that’s probably more than you could say about an ex-partner, spouse or boy/girlfriend.  Yes, they need us to survive…well cats would say otherwise…but we can agree that they do need us. But think about how much they give back to us. Our lives would be quite boring without our fur babies. For many people, who haven’t had children, their pet is in fact their “fur baby”. In the Aftercare Industry, people create Pet Trusts/Wills for their animals, want to be buried with them or cremains spread with them and when our pets pass away we choose their aftercare with personal details—from cremation to urns, engravings, and memorial products.

animal companion or pet

With pets now being referred to as “companions” it also brings new value not only in the literal meaning of the pet itself; but what value this pet brings to our lives. From state to state, court systems are looking at cases regarding pets and are no longer viewing them as “property”. If something bad happens to your “property” you can sue for the value of that said “property”. But now as a companion, if something happens and you go to court, plaintiffs can sue for emotional and punitive damages. This alone is bringing a lot of attention to the pet industry and what terminology we use when it comes to our family pet.

What does this mean for you and your animal companion for end of life care?

My staff and I could tell you countless stories of the human animal bond and how traumatizing it can be to lose this family member.  Chances are that you have been through already at least once in your life.  This is the main reason why we are reformatting our services to encompass a full service pet “funeral home” experience, if you will.  We want to take the worry and stress out of a horrible time and create a safe place where you can honor, celebrate and be supported in not only your time of need but making a plan for when that day comes.  You always give your companion the best in care and now pet parents are paving the way with their veterinarians to be able to provide them with answers to their questions in regards to an aftercare plan.  If they are not getting the answers they desire then they will go elsewhere to find it.  Services like Peaceful Passings – an at home euthanasia plan — aftercare plans — pet wills — memorials– and aftercare arrangements are all becoming the new normal.

My recommendation…do your research, make a plan and ask lots of questions.  Make sure you have a everything you want for your animal companion before the day comes and you are in too much distress and grief to make the best decision.  Until then…enjoy each and every day with your “fur baby”.

Until next time…

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