Although not something any animal lover likes to think about, dealing with your pets remains is not only a difficult decision but also a very personal one.
This decision may well affect other family members so it’s a choice that should be made together. Even children who are old enough to understand may feel comforted to know that their feelings are taken into account.
For most people there are 4 options available…
1 – Leave It To ALL Your Vet.
At such an emotional time, the thought of dealing with home burial or arranging a personal cremation can simply be too much for many of us.
We all grieve in different ways and have different beliefs (which of course can also affect your decision). Many people simply don’t want the memory of burying/cremating their pet and would rather have this dealt with for them.
Even if your pet died away from the vets, they can deal with this for you. Some vetinary practices will also collect your pet from home if you’re not comfortable/able to arrange transport yourself.
There may also be financial implications to think of. If this is a concern for you, then the least expensive method of having your vet deal with this is to arrange transport yourself (if required) and forego any personal service.
Your vet will arrange cremation of your pet and no further input will be required from you.
2 – Leave it To Your Vet With Ashes Returned.
If it’s important to you to have your pets ashes returned your vet can also arrange this. This will be more expensive as unlike the above option, your pet will be cremated separately. But having your pets ashes returned enables you to keep them with you in some form and perhaps feel that they are always close by.
You can either purchase a display urn or bury your pets ashes at home and mark their grave in any way you see fit. This is purely a personal choice as for some it can really help with the grieving process, but for others it is a constant reminder that their pet is no longer with them.
3 – Home Burial
Burying your pet at home is a way to keep them as part of your world even when they are no longer in your life. It also provides you the option of having a family service which can help with the grieving process. It allows you to provide a permanent memorial that you can visit as often as you like. Using a grave marker, a tree, and/or a memorial plaque can help keep your pets memory alive.
Financially it is often one of the least expensive options as you are handling it yourself.
There are some things you need to consider…
Are other animals/scavengers likely to attempt digging the grave? Could rain wash away topsoil?
To avoid this (and potential health concerns), it’s important to ensure that your grave is deep enough. You should make your pets grave at least 3-4 feet deep which will allow for around 2 feet of soil to be placed on top.
Is there a possibility of you moving home in future?
If the thought of moving home and leaving your pet worries you, then a home burial may not be the right choice for you. New tenants/owners may want to remove any kind of grave marker.
Also, if you’re a tenant you should also check with your landlord that they will allow you to bury your pet at home.
4 – Pet Cremation/Burial Service
Having a permanent place for your pet to rest that you can visit can be a lovely solution. Your options may be limited by where you live but most pet Cemeteries/Crematoriums will collect your pet from your home as part of the service.
They can arrange a private burial/cremation service that you and your family can attend if you wish and will provide a number of options for grave markers etc. They will also, if you prefer, provide the service but allow you to take your pets ashes home with you.
A service like this can be a lovely way to say goodbye and avoid all the potential future issues such as moving home. It’s worth noting that this is likely to be the most expensive option and there may be yearly ground fees to pay.
There is no right or wrong way to deal with your pets remains. It’s an extremely personal decision. We all deal with grief in our own way and the choice you (and your family) make will depend upon a number of factors.
Think about how you want to remember your loved one in the long-term. Regardless of which option you choose it’s worth considering some kind of permanent tribute so that in time, you’ll be able to look back at it and trigger your fondest memories.
This could be one of our Personalised slate plaques, it could be a framed picture, You may like to have a A virtual Memorial, or even a heart-felt poem you write yourself. Young children could draw pictures and place them in a special box or even a time-capsule.