The relationship between people and their animals is a unique and wonderful thing. Any one who has ever had a treasured pet will remember their foibles, their particular personality, their transgressions, their heroism. When a pet dies, especially a child’s pet, the grief for the pet can be quite intense. This may often be the child’s first experience with death and it can present as an opportunity to talk about death to the child and introduce them to the concept of reverent burial. Children and adults benefit emotionally from taking care of their pets body and burying it with love and care.
As an officient I can help you bury your pet with stories befitting the life you led together, which greatly assists the grieving process and acknowledges the benefits you both received from the relationship.
Pet funerals are an extremely personal and individual matter. While some people may want the catharsis of a full‑on funeral with family and friends, with scripture readings and prayers, others may feel more comfortable with a simple burial and only family and perhaps other pets in attendance. For large animals, such as large dog breeds, it may be more practical to have the body cremated (local veterinarians will know about businesses that do this) and then bury the ashes.
Most people think of their pets as full‑fledged family members, and even when an animal is old and death is expected the mourning and grief can be intense. It is not necessary or healthy to try to pretend that nothing happened, particularly around children. They need to know that their grief is perfectly appropriate and part of learning to accept the inevitability of death.
Many people feel that providing a dignified burial or cremation for a pet is a final, fitting act of farewell. They feel that it is the last act of love that they can offer a pet, and it is also, quite often, an important act of closure. Actually being able to view, touch, and say farewell to a pet’s body can help one accept that the pet is really dead, that it is not going to come back — and also that it is not suffering in any way. If it is important to you to see that your pet’s remains are treated with the same concern and care that you gave your pet during its life, then you should look into home burial, pet cemetery burial, or cremation through a pet crematory. Here’s a closer look at these options:
1) Home Burial. Many people choose to bury a pet at home as a way of keeping it close ‑‑ a part of one’s world, even if it isn’t a part of one’s life. This can also provide a way for you and your family to celebrate a funeral and memorial service, which in themselves can be powerful coping tools. Some pet owners have also reported that their surviving pets seem to understand that their companion is still “present”, and report that those pets may spend time visiting the gravesite. Home burial provides the opportunity to create a permanent memorial to one’s pet — a grave marker, a statue, or perhaps a tree planted over the pet’s grave to serve as a living memorial. (Others choose to bury a pet under an existing shrub or tree that the pet liked to sleep under.)
You also might not wish to bury a pet at home if you rent, or if you are likely to move away from the property.
2) Cremation. If you would still like to keep your pet’s remains on your property, but don’t have a place to bury an actual body (especially that of a large pet), consider having your pet’s remains cremated and returned to you for burial. You can keep the pet’s ashes in a decorative urn or container; you’ll find a wide range of such products in the classified ads of any pet magazine.
Many pet owners choose to scatter a pet’s ashes rather than preserve them. Some choose to scatter the ashes in the pet’s own yard, where it lived and played; this is another way of bringing the pet “home” one last time. Others choose to scatter the ashes in a way that symbolizes setting the pet “free” for its final journey ‑‑ such as in the woods or over a body of water, or just into the wind.
3) Cemetery Burial. You’ll find pet cemeteries in nearly every province. For many, a formal cemetery burial seems a more fitting tribute than an informal “backyard burial”. Burial in a pet cemetery also ensures that your pet’s remains will remain undisturbed, and cared for, “in perpetuity.” You will not have to worry about what will happen to your pet if you have to leave the property on which it is buried; it will be cared for, no matter where you go or what happens to you. Cemetery burial can be a costly option, but many find it a comforting, secure way to handle a pet’s remains. A pet cemetery will usually be able to pick up your pet from your home or from a veterinarian’s office. If you wish, you can make arrangements for a complete funeral and memorial service.
Maureen will help you customize the tribute approach that most reflects your wish to honour your animal companion. Simple or complex, your personalized ceremony will reflect the memories that you, your friends and family share about your loved companion animal.