I was around eight years old when I moved into a new family home. As I explored the property, I came across the grave of the previous owners’ beloved family dog. There was a simple stone marker engraved with the pet’s name and birth and death date. I remember standing above the stone, picturing the dog joyfully running around the property. I immediately felt a responsibility to honor that simple grave. Today, home burial is still an option for many people.
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7 Options For Pets After They Die
1. Home Burial
Many people still choose to bury their pet at home. It’s important that you review your municipality or state’s regulations. Some factors that may be considered are the nature of the animal’s death, the type of soil surrounding your home, and the depth of the water table.
Pet ownership has continued to increase over the years. Today, Sixty-eight percent of U.S. households, or about 85 million families own a pet. That means there are 89.7 million dogs and 94.2 million cats in our homes. What additional options are available to pet owners today?
2. Pet Cemeteries
With more pets being enjoyed in urban areas, home burial may not be an option. Like human cemeteries, many pet cemeteries offer full burials and cremation services, including transportation services. Some will even provide catering after a memorial service. Before choosing a pet cemetery, conduct some research. Make sure it is on dedicated land so that it is permanently zoned for pet remains.
Because it is easy and affordable, most pet owners choose cremation. When I’ve lost pets in the past, I chose to have the veterinarian make the arrangements for cremation. If you choose to contact the crematorium directly, many will pick up the remains and return the ashes to you. There are several types of cremation available. Costs depend on the following and many crematoriums will offer packages:
- Size of the Pet
- Type of pet
- Cremation type
- Choice of memorial product such as an urn
4. Private or Individual Cremation
This is the most expensive option since the pet is cremated individually. There is only one pet in the chamber at a time. A private cremation ensures that your pet’s remains do not get mixed in with any other remains.
5. Semi-Private or Partitioned Cremation
With this option, your pet is still cremated with other animals but is placed individually in a partitioned space. The physical divider may be bricks or trays. This option is less expensive than private cremation; however, there is a possibility that remains could mix.
6. Communal or Group Cremation
The pet is cremated along with other remains, and the ashes are not returned to the owner. Communal cremation is the least expensive option.
Although it is not a common practice, it is possible to donate your pet’s remains to science. This service is provided by some universities and veterinarian colleges. The animal’s remains are often used to study anatomy. Recently, there have been major advances in organ and tissue transplant for animals. Several programs exist where owners can donate specific tissue and organs. If you are in the Kansas City area, check out cherishope.org, or if you live in Washington State and Northern Oregon, there is an organization called Veterinary Transplant Services.
“Our animal friends teach us more than we could have expected and loved us more than we could have hoped… that’s why we miss them more than we could have imagined.” – Unknown Author
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