Honoring a Departed Pet

Many people don’t understand the importance of pets. When a beloved pet dies, coworkers may snicker at your downcast face. “It’s just a cat,” they’ll say. “Just a dog.” While their insensitivity is brutish, know that you’re not alone in realizing that pets are much more than an animal. They are friends, teachers, and comforters. They see the best in us and teach us to be better people. A pet is a beloved gift and lifetime treasure.

If you’re grieving the departure of a pet, now is the time to decide how you will lay them to rest. As you learn to grieve their loss, how you bury them will have a huge impact on your process of letting go.

When we were kids, we may have buried a goldfish or two in a paper box in the backyard. While this burial rite was enough for fish, it seems weird to do now. We don’t want to bury our pet in the backyard–depending on where we live, this can be illegal, or we may worry about other animals trying to dig them up. When we move from our current location, the grave stays. It’s not a situation that feels right this time around.

Rather than burying your pet, you can consider cremation. Cremation can be a beautiful part of your grieving process for your pet. You can take their ashes to favorite spots and lovingly scatter them. You’ll know that flowers and grass, catnip or future spot-marking trees will grow and be nourished. Instead of making a grave where your pet stays, you can let them go more easily by watching new life spring up from their remains. Taking time to scatter their ashes in favorite locations also means taking time to grieve, and since grieving is a process that only lessens when processed, it’s important that you set time aside to mourn for your furry friend.

Since your pet contributed so much to your world, you know they’d prefer to contribute to the world one more time. Aquamation vs. traditional cremation is a far more eco-friendly alternative. Using water to complete the process, cremation is achieved in a beautiful process that doesn’t harm the environment. It also eliminates black carbonized ash, so the ashes you receive are more like clean sand. Cat cremation, dog cremation, rabbit cremation, and more can be done in this respectful, Earth-honoring way.

While this is a difficult time, making the right decisions will help ease your pain and elevate your grief. Honoring a pet through cremation and the restoration of new life may be a comfort to you, a way to process your painful feelings. Whatever options you choose for laying your pet to rest, know that their love will be with you forever, and the gift of the time you had with them can never be taken away.