Losing a Furfriend

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. It isn’t any different with our furkids. What IS different are the reactions of some friends and relatives to our grief when we lose a beloved pet. Fortunately, that is changing.

Having lost my share of pets over the years, I’ve encountered just about every type of reaction imaginable. While most people understand grief, there are those who think we’re nuts to cry when our pet dies. After all, “It’s just a pet,” right? WRONG. Grief isn’t quantifiable. For instance, there’s no way to measure whether my grief for my 16-year-old kitty was more than your grief for your favorite uncle. Grief just IS. And everyone has their own way of dealing with it.

Unlike attending funeral ceremonies held for humans, pet owners tend to grieve alone. These days, more and more of us are finding new ways to memorialize our beloved furkids. We’re also looking to pet retailers to offer items that can help with the grieving process. The fact of the matter is that our pets die. And when they do, we need an outlet for our sorrow, similar to attending a funeral for people. I discovered there are many services available for someone who’s lost a furfriend. A quick Google search will help you find support in your area.


© Copyright 2006-2007 Furfection, Inc. All rights reserved.


Necessity: Pet Name Tags

Last week, a friend found a Cavalier King Charles spaniel puppy alone on a neighborhood street. He guessed the pup to be between 8-10 weeks old. After knocking on a couple of doors, trying to find the pup’s owner and having no luck, he took the puppy home with him. The next day, my friend went back to the neighborhood where he’d found the puppy. This time, there were “Lost Puppy” signs everywhere. He called the number on the sign and located the pup’s owner. She said the pup had just arrived from Ireland the day before my friend found it. She had been working in the yard and the pup managed to wander off.

Cheeto, Furfection “Spokescat”

Obviously, in a case like this, a name tag could have prevented a lot of stress for the puppy’s owner. Even though she’d only had the pup a couple of days, it would have been a good idea to have had a collar and ID tag waiting for the little guy’s arrival.

Responsible pet owners know that microchipping is one of the best ways to help identify their pets should they ever become lost. Unfortunately, if the pet isn’t wearing a collar with an identification tag, the finder of the lost pet has to take the pet to a vet’s office to have the chip scanned.

All four Furfection “spokespets” wear collars and name tags 24/7. Even though our felines, “Cheeto” and “Sophie,” are indoors only, we feel that’s yet another reason to have them wear name tags. If they managed to “escape” sometime when the dogs were going out or coming in, at least people would know they already have a home.

Sophie, Furfection “Spokescat”

Today’s pet owners have so many choices when it comes to name tags. Don’t risk losing your precious pet. Tag ’em in case they happen to wander off. Every little bit helps when it comes to protecting our furkids.


© Copyright 2006-2007 Furfection, Inc. All rights reserved.

Petastic™ vs. Nature’s Miracle®

Those of us with pets have learned to rely on odor-killing products such as Petastic™ and Nature’s Miracle®; however, most of us have no idea what the difference is – or if there IS a difference. We’re still house-training Bono, so we go through a lot of Petastic™.

“Bono” (BONN-oh)
Our current housetraining challenge

Long ago, I heard that, although Petastic’s™ manufacturer, Venus Laboratories, was the originator of the legendary odor remover, they had sold its name, “Nature’s Miracle®,” to a company called Pets ‘n People, Inc. The original formula, however, stayed with Venus Labs and became Petastic™. Are you confused yet? Sorry, it only gets worse.

On the label of the Petastic™ bottle (or gallon jug, in our case), is the following message:

Nature’s Miracle® is a registered trademark of Pets ‘N People, Inc. Venus Laboratories, Inc., is the creator and owner of the formulation previously supplied to Pets ‘N People for its Nature’s Miracle® brands of stain & odor removers. Venus Laboratories, Inc., is now marketing the formulation under the brand name Venus Pet Products stain & odor removers. Venus Laboratories, Inc., is not affiliated with Pets ‘N People, Inc.

I had to read this a couple of times to make sure I understood it. Basically it was the same thing I’d been hearing for so long. What I still wanted to know, however, was did the formula change after it was sold to Pets ‘n People, or were Petastic™ and Nature’s Miracle® the same product? After searching online for a definitive answer and not finding one, I sent an email directly to Venus Laboratories with the following question:

Are Petastic™ and Nature’s Miracle® the same formula? I’d like a definitive answer, please.

Not more than an hour later, I received this response:

The people that make Petastic™ made the original Nature’s Miracle® formula, which they own. The current Nature’s Miracle® formula is not the original formula. Petastic™ stain & odor remover is the original formula. So the short answer is no.

So what are the differences? That’s impossible to determine, since Petastic’s™ ingredients include “unique blend of proprietary enzymes, detergents and odor counteractants,” and Nature’s Miracle’s® ingredients are listed as “water, nature’s enzymes, isopropyl, alcohol, natural citrus scent.” In other words, the formulae are proprietary. That’s fine; we don’t share our proprietary formulae, either.

We don’t recommend one product over the other, and we’re not implying that one is better than the other. We’re just sorting the information for consumers who believe they’re buying one thing when, in reality, they’re buying something different. There are numerous posters on many different discussion forums who believe they’ve been using the same Nature’s Miracle® for the past 20 years. Sorry, but that can’t be. Venus Labs sold the rights to the Nature’s Miracle® name in 2003; they didn’t sell the formula.

Just so you know….


© Copyright 2006-2007 Furfection, Inc. All rights reserved.

First-hand: "Greenies®"

For most of “Casey’s” 2.5 years, “Greenies®” have been his very favorite treat. He could hear the word “Greenie” from 500 yards, or at least it seemed like it. When we gave him one, he’d take it under the dining room table and savor it for a long time before actually eating it. We called this his “dining experience.”

Case has had some unusual, painful incidents during this time, and only last week did we discover their cause. These incidents were almost identical, so I’ll only describe the latest one.

As I stepped out of the shower one morning, I heard a blood-curdling “Casey scream.” I ran to the living room, dripping all the way, and found Casey sitting there, looking at the ceiling as he continued to scream. I picked him up and looked him over for any sore areas or any places sensitive to my touch. There were none. When I put him down, he went into a “play bow,” but I knew he didn’t want to play. He kept his rear up in the air for quite a while, then he seemed to feel better. Bono encouraged him to play, and the two of them headed outside. I still kept an eye on them from the window.

Casey’s prize-winning photo

Later that day, as we were walking through the park, Casey relieved himself in his favorite spot. As I cleaned it up with a plastic bag, I saw at least 1/4 of a “Greenie®” – undigested. Through the plastic, I pinched it to see if it was soft. It wasn’t; it was as hard as when I originally gave it to him.

Casey weighs 12.5 pounds, and I can only imagine how painful it must have been as that chunk of a petite* “Greenie®” moved through his system. Fortunately, there haven’t been any further screaming episodes, but he hasn’t had any more “Greenies®” since then, either.

I mentioned earlier that Casey had had this type of episode a few times in the past. During those times, I had assumed he had gas, because it always seemed to pass without needing a trip to the vet. It never occurred to me to check his “output” for chunks of “Greenies®.” While I would never tell anyone not to feed their dogs these treats, I will tell you Casey and Bono have had their last “Greenie®.”

*Even though “Greenies®” website recommends the “Teenie” size for dogs 5-15 pounds, they sent us the “Petite” size as a prize when they chose Casey’s photo for their 2006 calendar. That’s the same size we’d been giving him and Bono.


© Copyright 2006-2007 Furfection, Inc. All rights reserved.

Spotlight On: Pet A Rock

I’d like to share the URL of an incredible painter named Patty Donathan. Patty paints pets’ (say that quickly, three times) images on rocks! Mine arrived just yesterday. It’s so beautifully done! I sent her numerous photos of our kitty, Sunny, who died recently. She captured his expression amazingly well. Here’s a photo….

“Sunny” by Patty Donathan

Didn’t she do a fabulous job? Check out other examples of her work. In addition to being extremely talented, Patty is a sweetheart to work with. What can we say; we can’t recommend her highly enough!


© Copyright 2006-2007 Furfection, Inc. All rights reserved.

FAQ – "Natural" vs. "All-Natural" Shampoos

The pet industry is a 37.9-billion-dollar industry, and the number of competitors for each pet owner’s dollar is huge. Following in the footsteps of the so-called “genius” marketer that originated the “Lather, rinse, repeat” instructions for shampooing, other marketers have created the imaginary differences between “natural” and “all-natural” shampoos, hoping to differentiate their products from the rest of the pack. This leaves consumers with the responsibility of sorting through the chaff to find the real “kernel of truth” behind this dirty little secret.

Is there a difference between “all-natural” and “natural”?
“All-natural” shampoo products shouldn’t contain ANY synthetic ingredients, while “natural” products can be made with both natural and synthetic ingredients. Since there is no law regulating use of the terms “natural” or “all-natural” in product labeling, a “natural” shampoo can be sold as “all-natural” without any legal ramifications.

So are Furfection Naturals™ all-natural or natural? This is really confusing!
And that’s just the way marketers like it. Furfection Naturals™ are “natural” shampoos, and here’s why. U.S. consumers believe that if a shampoo doesn’t lather, it isn’t working. This just isn’t true, but consumers refuse to be convinced. So in order to manufacture a product people will buy, it must make lather. There are no all-natural ingredients to make shampoo lather, so a synthetic has to be used. (More about synthetics in a bit.)

The second reason is that shampoos have to have a preservative or they wouldn’t last any longer than about a month or so on the shelf. Again, there is no all-natural preservative that’s effective for any length of time, so a synthetic is needed.

The synthetics needed for creating lather and preserving the products – how do you know they’re safe?
Consumers are of the opinion that “anything natural is better than anything synthetic.” This is just not true. Synthetics are used in the vast majority of pet grooming products. Why? Because they’re more effective and beneficial than some natural ingredients. Unfortunately, marketers have been unable to convince consumers that synthetics aren’t “bad.” Where their customers are concerned, this is a case of “ignorance is bliss,” or “what they don’t know won’t hurt them.”Based on our research, over 90% of the shampoos available – both human and pet shampoos – contain many of the same ingredients (maybe in differing amounts) for creating lather. They’re effective, they’re harmless and they’ve been used for more than 75 years. (Of course, ANY substance used in excess could be harmful, e.g., using 10 times more of any ingredient than what’s actually needed.)

Recently, on one of the pet-industry-related discussion forums we belong to, someone asked for a recommendation for “all-natural” shampoos to carry on his website – “ones that don’t contain SLS,” he wrote. SLS is short for sodium laurel sulfate, or sodium laureth sulfate. It’s one of the most common shampoo/cosmetic ingredients in existence. We researched this ingredient to the nth degree before we formulated Furfection Naturals™, and we know there’s NO reason to avoid products that contain it.

We posted on the same board and asked what people thought of SLS and why they would want to avoid it. The next day, the same poster that originally wanted recommendations for shampoos without SLS responded, saying he made it a point not to sell anything on his site that wasn’t holistic. He said that although he didn’t have anything against products that weren’t holistic or contained SLS, they just “weren’t right” for him.

We went to his website to see exactly what types of products he currently carried, and there was a VERY well-known brand of “natural” shampoos – that contain SLS. This guy was selling them as “all-natural, holistic” shampoos. It’s just further proof of how out-of-hand the whole “all-natural” vs. “natural” thing has gotten.

Recently, we contacted an “all-natural” pet shampoo manufacturer to ask what ingredient(s) they used to get their baby powder scent. (Baby powder does not occur naturally.) They sent a response saying they used “pure essential oils” for the scent. We emailed back and asked where they found a “pure baby powder essential oil,” and we weren’t surprised when we didn’t hear from them again.

Our opinion, for what it’s worth, is that it boils down to truth in advertising. Not long ago, we were interested in advertising in one of the most popular dog magazines. One of the first things the ad rep asked was why we were calling our products “natural” instead of “all-natural.” We said, “Well, because they aren’t ALL-natural.” He asked what they contained that kept them from being “all-natural,” and we told him. (BTW, the synthetic ingredients for lathering actually come from coconut, so technically, we could bill Furfection Naturals™ as “all-natural.”) He spent at least 15 minutes telling us how we were limiting the sale of our product line by not using “all-natural” in our advertising, because that’s what people wanted. He said we should take time to think about what he’d said and to call him back. Well, we did think a lot about it, and our thoughts were that we never wanted to advertise in a magazine that claimed to be an “expert” in all things “dog,” knowing they’d do anything for a dollar. (We went a step further and didn’t renew our subscription when it expired.)

Furfection, Inc. is about making a difference in people’s and pets’ lives. It’s also about sharing useful information. There’s nothing in our products that we can’t be proud of. Even more important, we won’t sell anything we wouldn’t use on our own pets. When we say, “It’s all about loving ‘em,” we mean it.


© Copyright 2006-2007 Furfection, Inc. All rights reserved.