In my family, pets aren’t just animals that live with us; they are part of our family. From the time I was a boy, they were and always will be our family members. So these days I get to spend time with Chloe, Sammy and Brandy. Chloe is a fox terrier – her 14th birthday is today, June 15th, 2014 – as I write this.
Sammy is a 20 pound Chihuahua, and Brandy is a well fed tiger cat. The dogs like to sit on top of the couch and bark at every UPS and Fedex truck that ventures into our cul de sac. Our mailman, Ed, is also familiar with them. Brandy the cat ignores everything, and the dogs know from painful experience not to mess with her.
I frequently get calls asking about pet cremation and the scattering of their ashes. Yes, it’s very common to have your pet cremated and his or her ashes scattered. I’ve scattered the ashes of hundreds of pets, usually with their owners, but sometimes alone. (We don’t charge for scattering the ashes of your pet; just bring or send them to me). And they have come from every walk of life; laborers, doctors, lawyers, and all types.
I remember one day a few years ago a woman called me and asked if I could scatter her ashes with those of her German Shepard. Of course I said yes, but she sounded young, much younger than I am, and so I thought I would never hear from her again. I do get calls from people who are planning their own memorial, but this one was different. She was so young.
A few months later I got a call from her family. The young lady had died from leukemia at the age of 32. Before she died, she told them about me and our conversation.
Her family and I scattered the ashes of her and her dog off the white sands of Clearwater Beach, Florida. It was a beautiful day with a cobalt blue, cloudless sky. The seas were as flat as a mill pond.
You know, you just never, ever know.
And Clearwater Beach is the same place I will be one day, along with Chloe, Sammy and Brandy.
If you or a family member wants to scatter the ashes of a pet – just let us know.
Captain John Polivick
Epitaph: I got a postcard from the veterinarian saying that Chloe was due for her rabies shot. The vet was new, having bought the practice from our regular vet. I took Chloe in for her shot, and she immediately became ill. She died that night at home.
It seemed to be much more than coincidence, so I did some research. Although rabies vaccinations are required for dogs in most every state, many make exceptions for a dog that is not healthy. Here in Florida, our statute 828.30(2) says the vaccines don’t have to be done if the “vaccination would endanger the animal’s health because of its age, infirmity, disability, illness, or other medical considerations.”
I knew that Chloe had an enlarged heart, but didn’t know that the rabies vaccine could hurt her. My research also found that the manufacturers of the rabies vaccine recommend it not be given to unhealthy animals. An enlarged heart should have been a clue to our new vet, especially since she was on lasix for her heart condition. He should of known better. He apparently spent little time reading her chart. And I should have known better.
If your dog is due for a rabies vaccine but is not healthy, check with your vet, and check your state laws. If your vet insists your unhealthy dog should have the rabies vaccine, find another vet.
I had Chloe cremated, and per my instructions her ashes will be scattered with mine. But not just yet.