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Pet Crematory Operators Attend the 38th Annual Convention of the IAOPCC in New Orleans (September 2009)

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Marilyn George and Steve Hellus of White Rose Pet Memorial Services, a pet crematory in Brattleboro, Vermont, recently attended the 38th Annual Convention and membership meeting of the International Associaiton of Pet Cemeteries & Crematories (IAOPCC), held in New Orleans.

Keynote speakers were veterinary technicians Christine Robinson and Annette Pecak, of Cambridge Ontario, who delivered a heart-felt account of their experiences in New Orleans as volunteers with the animal rescue effort following Hurricane Katrina.

The goals of animal rescue operations were to care for those animals that were left behind, and also to reunite them with their owners whenever possible. During intake, each animal was photographed and given an identifying microchip. The address at which the animal was found was also noted. The animals were then registered with Petfinder.com, a Web site that helps owners search for lost pets.

Robinson and Pecak helped with medical treatments for animals that were injured or sick with infections. They encountered a large number of gastrointestinal problems in animals that had been left to scavenge for food and to eat whatever they could find, including garbage. Each night, mobile triage centers were set up for pets that had been rescued throughout the day. Statistics show that approximately 250,000 pets were left trapped in the city; about 15,000 were rescued by various animal welfare organizations; and roughly 3,000 have been reunited with their families.

George and Hellus also toured Heaven’s Pets at Lake Lawn Metairie Cremation and Bereavement Center, hosted by Brian and Jen Melius. Heaven’s Pets is located on the serene grounds of Metairie Cemetery and Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home in New Orleans.

George and Hellus welcomed the opportunity the convention provided for them to meet other pet loss professionals from around the country and to discuss with them issues relevant to the pet loss industry.

White Rose provides cremation services directly to pet families and through area veterinarians. Visits by families are encouraged. All appointments must be scheduled, assuring complete privacy with one family at a time. White Rose may be contacted by phone at 802-254-4749 or by e-mail at whiteros@sover.net. Its Web site is www.whiterosepet.com.