Grieving For and Commemorating Your Pet

After a decision has been made to euthanize your pet there are a few options open to you about handling his/her remains. You may feel it is easier on you to leave your pet at the clinic for disposal, and that is fine.

A popular option is to take your pet’s body home to bury in your garden. This is appropriate for those who own their own home. However check with council regulations because sometimes such pet burials are prohibited. If you are renting, or move house frequently this is not a good choice.

Pet cemeteries are another option. The surroundings are usually serene and the site is looked after. There is a sense of dignity, permanence and security with this option. Prices will vary depending on the services you want and the type of pet you have.

One decision that helps with what you want is whether you want your pet cremated. This option is less expensive and enables you to choose what you will do with your pet’s remains and how you want to, or where you want to, scatter them.

For many owners they will already know what their pet’s favourite spot is and it is relatively easy to scatter the remains. If scattering the remains is not a choice then it is possible to keep them in an urn. There are a wide variety of decorative urns, or possibly you could decorate it yourself.

Each of these options allows you to commemorate your pet in a personalized way. Preparing a little service where you can talk about your memories can be very therapeutic in the healing process. Regardless of which option you choose you may like to buy something, like a plant, that you can keep in the yard or in a pot if you move a lot. This may sound like a strange thing to do but as the plant flourishes it is a loving reminder of your baby.

Some people may want to buy another pet straight away but this is not always a good idea. Challenges that you will meet include building relationship with another pet while you are working through your own grief and loss – you may not feel you have the time or energy needed to help your new pet in his/her transition into a new home; comparisons made between the old and the new; if children are involved the feelings of disloyalty; and your heart just will not be in it. Each of these challenges makes it unfair to your new family member if your timing is not appropriate.

There will come a day when your heart, and you, are ready to adopt or buy a new pet. Give yourself time to heal and you will be able to enjoy your new pet without the pain. Your new pet will thank you for it, your previous pet would understand, and again you will find that your pet leaves paw prints on your heart.