How to Cope With the Death of a Dog

By on June 28, 2012

Coping With the Death of a Dog Death Of The Family Pet: A Proper Goodbye To Your Faithful Friend:

As the words of a sad, but sweet, eulogy was echoed over the loudspeaker of a public address system, a spotlight began to slowly illuminate an object in the center of the show ring: a leash, attached to an empty training collar. The Occasion? It was graduation night for an obedience training class.

As the graduating dogs sat silently by their owners, one spot in a row was obviously vacant. One of the dogs who was to have graduated had been struck and killed by an automobile just the night before. The trainer continue to explain to those present that “A new sentry was on duty in Heaven… that the greatest animal trainer of all had seen fit to call little Chu Chu to duty elsewhere.”

And finally, just before the graduation ceremonies began, a trophy was presented to the owner of the missing graduate. The trophy was inscribed, In Loving Memory, Chu Chu, Always First Place In Our Hearts. To some people, this may seem like hogwash. Those types of people, however, have never experienced the joy, devotion, dedication, and unswerving loyalty demonstrated by a dog to its owner.

A family dog is willing to give his all, and he expects so little in return. He will laugh when you laugh, and be equally quick to cry with you. The whole world can turn its back on you and, as you sit wondering where you might find a friend in your dark hour of need, you feel the nose of your dog snuggling close. There he is, your friend! Asking no questions, expecting no answers, desiring only a few moments of your love, a pat on the head, a little praise, is all he ever wants. And if he doesn’t get it, that’s okay, he’ll understand.

He’ll still be your friend because you are number one in his life. His world revolves around you. Where you go, he wants to go, always your constant companion.

The Therapeutic Justice Of Pet Cemeteries Pet cemeteries, which did not exist in the old days, have proved to be the answer to so many pet owner’s prayers. It is impossible to document the feeling of loss when a dog fancier loses his cherished pet. But one thing is certain, each dog owner knows that so much happiness and completeness came to him from his dog, and that to send his remains to the city dump, or to be chemically changed to fertilizer, is completely out of the question.

To offer him a decent burial in payment for the joy and devotion during his lifetime, is fast becoming the most popular answer. Whether it be a modest unmarked grave in the backyard, or a grave site marked with marble, it is only fitting that the one who gave so much be allowed to be remembered with dignity that he so faithfully earned.

These are not monuments of sorrow or tragedy, but rather, monuments to the many years of happiness each and every canine brought to his owner.

Burial Options: Deciding The Right Burial Option For Your Dog

As we spend a decade or more with our dogs, they literally become a part of our lives, a member of our family, and the thought of them not being with us anymore can be too much to handle. Unfortunately, this is something that will happen.

It is inevitable. And while planning for our pet’s final resting place is something that we would prefer not to do, it is wise to decide early on which option is the best. Looking at your choices is difficult and can affect your better judgment when you are in the process of grieving for the loss of your pet. Therefore, deciding on which memorial option is the best for your beloved dog should taken care of long before he or she passes.

Here is a list of some of the traditional ways we lay our dogs to their final resting place:

Pet Cemetery

These are burial grounds that are usually located in a quiet, park-like area. A few of them have a special place where the remains of the owners can be buried alongside their pets. One well known pet cemetery that has been around for about 40 years is located on church grounds in New Jersey.

There are two questions that you should ask before deciding on a pet cemetery:

1. Is the owner of the property committed to keeping the land as a pet cemetery in the future? To find out, contact the county recorder’s clerk and verify that the property is indeed dedicated as a pet cemetery. Otherwise, the company can legally exhume your dog and sell the land.

2. Does the cemetery charge a maintenance fee? This is to ensure proper up keeping of the burial grounds.

Dog Cremation

Three types of pet cremations are available:

1. Individual cremation: Only one dog is cremated and the ashes can be returned to the family.

2. Private cremation: Several pets are cremated but kept in separate chambers so that the ashes can be returned to the right family.

3. Common cremation: Includes several pets and the ashes are not returned. A respectable crematory should offer you a tour of their facility and allow you to be there during your dog’s cremation. Ashes that are returned to the owners can be buried, spread in a special location, or placed in an urn. Body disposal: Your vet will dispose of your dog’s body for a minimum charge. The bodies are either incinerated or sent to a landfill. If your dog is to be cremated, ask for the name and phone number of the crematorium and call to verify that the facility works with your veterinarian.

Can I Bury My Dog in My Garden?:

Check your local authority regulations concerning backyard burials for your pets – it varies from county to county and state to state, country by country.

Consider this question: If you think you are going to be moving in a few years, will it bother you to leave behind your dog’s remains? Turning to Help C.A.L.L.L. (Companion Animal Loss Listening Line) was founded and is run by Christine Hartley.

As a trained nurse spending years in the caring profession, Christine changed direction to focus on bereavement work. Coping With Your Loss To be able to talk with someone that cares and truly understands is so important when the pain of losing a pet strikes. The reasons for loss may vary but they can all result in the devastation of overwhelming grief. I offer support and counselling for all types of loss, not just bereavement, including missing and stolen pets or owners who have become separated from pets in the wake of a divorce or breakdown of a relationship. I also offer support for those caring for pets who are under a vet’s care, or looking after for terminally ill pets.

Sometimes the hardest thing can be just asking for help or seeking out someone who will understand your loss. Often those around us, however well meaning their intentions cannot understand the immense feelings of grief and pain caused by the loss of a companion animal however small, big or even scaly. People often battle with feelings of embarrassment at displaying their grief, hiding it away, or remaining afraid of the reactions of others.

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K9 Magazine is your digital destination helping you have a happier, healthier dog. Here you'll find advice on everything from dog training to dog diet advice as well as interviews with well known dog lovers and insightful features on the broadest range of canine lifestyle topics.

One Comment

  1. Steve Woods

    June 30, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    The types of cremation in your article are incorrect. Private cremation is when only one pet is placed in the crematory. An individual cremation is when more than one pet is placed in the crematory and kept separate from other pets. We use firebrick to separate the pets during individual cremations. The pets are removed one at a time and returned to their owners. These terms and standards are from the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories at iaopc.com.

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