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Last Updated: Monday, 16 August, 2004, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
Oh, purr-lease
Telegraph ad
Say goodbye to your border collie in black and white
From Saturday, Daily Telegraph readers will be able to commemorate dead pets in the same manner as dearly departed humans - with an obituary in the newspaper.

Notices will be charged at 18.88 a line - the same as for ordinary obituaries.

Sarah Sands, editor of the paper's Saturday edition, says the idea came to her after she began to realise "how completely grief-stricken" some pet owners are at the passing of their furry friends.

It's the latest, but by no means the most extravagant, example of how owners are seemingly trying to turn their pets into little humans. Here are a few more:

Pet water
Dog's breakfast... and lunch... and tea
1. Bottled water. No parched pooch should be without it, according to inventor Bill Fels. Launched last year in the United States - which, unsurprisingly leads the world in the pet pampering stakes - Petrefresh is a bottled water specially formulated for dogs, cats, rabbits, gerbils, iguanas, pot-bellied pigs and even fish. Sold in regular two-litre bottles for $2.29 (1.25) each, the mountain-spring water is processed using ultraviolet light and ozone, but unlike human bottled water is not "sediment filtered". Rhonda Stoner, who markets the product, says it's "not a luxury item".

2. Dog yoga. When a walk in the park just won't do... Dog yoga, or "Doga", debuted on these shores last month as a means of instilling some inner-calm in unruly pets. While the canine chassis isn't entirely compliant with the lotus position (is the human's for that matter?) "their breathing really did seem to be in synch with their owners," said animal therapist Dan Thomas after instructing the first Doga class.

Dog Yoga
Stretches the imagination as much as anything
3. Insurance. Vet bills have the potential to drain a savings account overnight. Which is why several big insurers now have pet policies. Schemes start at about 6 a month but the more expensive policies tend to pay out for treatment for longer and have fewer exclusions. How long until Bupa muscles in on this market?

4. Cat toilet seat. Those who treat their pet like royalty can now let the family cat share their throne. The Feline Evolution Catseat sits on top of a normal toilet seat and Muffin's "little messages" fall on to a tiny tray beneath, which are then bagged and binned (the final stages require human intervention). Inventor Kevin Rymer says the device eliminates cat odours and saves on litter costs, and insists there are no health risks with cats and humans using the same toilet.

Cat loo
A message for you
5. Pet DNA. The Missing Pet Bureau offers hope to those whose furry sidekicks have a tendency to go Awol. Through the service, pets are implanted with a microchip that carries the owner's contact information. For 50 they even throw in a DNA identification kit that includes a swab, for taking a DNA sample from the inside of a dog's cheek, which is then wiped on an ID card which is stored by the bureau.

6. Dog sunglasses. Another "health product", sunglasses, such as Doggles, claim to keep out 100% of UV light and "foreign objects" and attach with a rubber headband. Oh, and they also happen to look funny.


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