The hardest part about owning a pet is when it is time to say goodbye. Our pets are an important part of our family and are often treated like one’s own children. This difficult time can also bring upon decisions that you may have never had to make before. Whether your pet passes away at home or is ‘put to sleep’, the next step is to decide what to do with the body that remains.
In former times, this could be problematic, especially if you lived in a city without a backyard in which to bury your beloved. If you wanted a proper burial for your pet, you would drive to a family member’s farm or home in the suburbs. Thankfully, those days are past and the options are much easier and more convenient today.
Why pet cremation?
While it is still possible to bury your pet at home or hold a funeral at a pet cemetery, pet cremation services are the most popular option. Pet cremation is convenient and relatively inexpensive. Cost will vary depending on the size of your pet and if you want the ashes returned to you. Most veterinary clinics and hospitals offer pet cremation services through a local pet crematory. If your pet passes away at home, pet cremation services are easily contacted through your veterinarian or via an internet search. They will pick up your pet’s remains and continue the process from there.
What to expect
There are a couple of options provided by pet crematories. It is important to review the options and select the one that is best for your family. If it is really important that you have your pet’s ashes returned to you, be sure that the proper option is selected.
Private cremation services mean that your pet will be cremated alone in the crematory’s chamber. The ashes that are returned to you belong only to your pet. You can select to have the ashes returned to you in an elegant urn. Many people decide to scatter their pet’s ashes in their favorite dog park or on the beach. The choice is up to you when you select this option.
Communal cremation services mean that your pet will be cremated with other pets in the crematory’s chamber. The ashes are often not returned to the owner, meaning that this service is a less expensive option. The ashes are then taken care of by the crematory depending on local or state regulations. Sometimes, the crematory may have a memorial garden or pet cemetery on site where these ashes are scattered.
When the time comes
Don’t forget to ask specific questions about pet cremation when the time comes. This will prevent any miscommunication and further grief regarding your wishes for your pet’s remains. Confirm that the urn selected is the right one and ask about personalization options. The local crematory may also have a pet cemetery or memorial garden on site where you can lay your pet to rest. Also consider donating to a worthy cause in your pet’s memory. Memorial donation towards a charity such as the Morris Animal Foundation will go towards veterinary medical research, service animal training funds and other ways that together, even in our grief, we can make the lives of pets and humans better in the future.