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Pets getting more mentions in obits

RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A North Carolina newspaper said it has marked a milestone with more than a quarter of obituaries on one day mentioning pets as surviving relatives.

The Raleigh News & Observer said pets are being mentioned alongside surviving relatives so commonly that one day last week saw five obituaries -- more than a quarter of the day's total -- with mentions of animal companions, the newspaper reported Tuesday.

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Deborah Bowen, a social work professor at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and author of "A Good Friend for Bad Times: Helping Others Through Grief," said mentions of pets in obituaries is part of the changing way that people in the United States view their pets. She said families are increasingly paying veterinarians $1,000 or more for medical procedures that were once strictly humans-only.

"If the pet survives you, you put the pet in the obit," Bowen said. "There is that sense of loss for animals, and there is an adjustment. Dogs will grieve the loss of another dog in the house so much that they won't eat."

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