When the time comes to say goodbye to our furry friends, there are often several decisions that need to be made all at once. It’s never easy saying goodbye to the pets in our lives, and we often want to do something which will recognise the special place they hold in our hearts.
We’ve outlined the main options for remembering your pet below to help you when that difficult time comes.
Pet burial (home or pet cemetery)
Whether your pet passes away at home or at the veterinary clinic, burial is always an option. Pet cemeteries exist in most towns and operate much like human cemeteries. They provide a permanent resting place for your pet as well as a headstone that you can visit. Most veterinary clinics will have contact details for the local pet cemetery and can help you get in touch with the company.
Some people opt to take their pet home for home burial as well. If your pet was euthanised at the veterinary clinic, a strong anaesthetic drug would have been used to induce a peaceful sleep prior to death. This drug can last for up to a year in the body of euthanased animals, so it is vitally important that all animals that were euthanised by a veterinarian are buried deeply and are completely inaccessible to other animals.
Check with your local council first if they have any rules about burying pets in the backyard and always check before you dig to avoid contacting underground pipes or electric wires.
Cremation for pets
An increasingly popular option for remembering your pet’s life is to cremate them once they pass away. Most veterinary clinics will be able to help arrange cremation for your pet, with pricing by cremation companies generally based on the weight of the animal. Once your pet’s ashes have been returned, they will be in either an urn or a box. You can either keep the urn in a special place or scatter the ashes in your pet’s favourite place.
There are several alternative options to the ones listed above. Donating your pet’s body to science via the local veterinary school will ensure future generations of veterinarians get the opportunity to learn and become better clinicians. Taxidermy is another option people may consider to remember their pet.
In addition to deciding what to do with your pet’s remains, it can be helpful when you’re grieving to conduct a memorial to remember your pet’s life. Holding a funeral service in the backyard, asking friends to send through their favourite pictures of your pet or getting a portrait commissioned of your pet can all assist with remembering your companion. Other options include planting a tree in remembrance, getting a cast made of your pet’s paw print or donating money to a local animal charity in recognition of your beloved pet.