It needs to be a family decision…

Before you make any decision about how to dispose of  a pet, make sure that you have considered the feelings and beliefs (and needs) of all family members. 

You may find that while one family member feels that a pet’s body means little after the spirit has gone, another may feel strongly about the need to provide a formal “farewell” in the form of a burial. Conversely, you may find that while  some members of the family want a formal burial service, others shudder at the thought of having a grave or “dead body” in the yard.

It is important to realize that there is no RIGHT or WRONG viewpoint in such a discussion. One’s feelings about death, and about the remains of the dead, are intensely personal  and in a family discussion about how to handle those remains, everyone’s feelings should be respected.

This is why it is so important to raise this issue and  resolve it BEFORE a pet dies. Otherwise, chances are that one family member (i.e., whoever is present when a pet dies or is euthanized) will have to make a rushed, emotional decision  that   may not be the decision the rest of the family would  have chosen. 

It’s not easy to talk about a pet’s death, or use terms like “remains” and “disposal”, while that pet is still alive and very much a part of the family. But avoiding the subject isn’t going to prevent the problem from coming up. It’s simply going to prevent you from being in a position to handle it effectively when it DOES come up. 

It has been said that “funerals are for the living.” When a  pet dies, you’re faced with the need to make a decision that can have a profound impact on how you, and your  family, deal with that loss. Don’t leave that decision until the last minute.

Author’s Note: Since this article was posted, several readers have reminded me to mention that if you choose to leave your pet’s body with a veterinarian or humane society for disposal, you may not have a choice in HOW that body is disposed of.  If you wish to ensure that your pet is, in fact, cremated, be sure to request this option.  If the option is not available, please call us and we will help you to organise alternative arrangements.