Companion Pet Funerary and Memorial Planning

Companion pet funerary and memorial planning is a stressful subject that many of us do not want to face. Oftentimes, a companion pet death occurs suddenly, tragically and without warning. We are all faced with an onslaught of emotions as to what to do next with our loved ones. Indeed, we have to consider the ongoing emotional toll we may endure and this is why we suggest joining a local pet loss support group in your area.

Several of the items that need to be answered are what to do with the beloved one’s remains? Most importantly, are your plans legal in your state or local vicinity? We suggest you contact a local funeral home that specializes in pet loss, an attorney that specializes in estates, or speak to your veterinarian who can point you to the right resources.

Before you contact them, we suggest forming a few plans for the best aftercare for your companion loved one and plan financially for it.

Would you like to have a memorial service and or plant a tree in honor of your companion pet?

Would you like to bury, cremate or otherwise store your pet’s remains?

Would you like to bury your pet in your backyard, a pet cemetery, or in a plot for the two of you?

Backyard Pet Burial

You need to consider if it is legally allowed. If it is, you need to be cognizant of the laws in your area. Some may require a minimum of three feet from the surface and others may require five feet. Personally, we do not think this is an ideal choice. You may want to do this to keep your pet near you. However, the organization, Creating a Better Pet Euthanasia, makes a compelling argument why you should reconsider this option.

Pet Cemetery

Are there pet cemeteries in your area?

Would you like to be buried with your pet? Some states may have combined areas, but require the pet to have an individual casket.

Another consideration with burial, is that some localities may require the pet to be cremated for this to occur.

If cremated, do you want your companion pet’s remains to be returned to you? This will often depend upon whether the crematory will cremate a pet individually or communally.

Do you plan to be cremated? Are you able to combine your companion pet’s ashes with yours or placed in a columbarium with you?

The options are endless, but you do not want to be charged for unwittingly breaking the laws. This could conjure up emotions that are not yet fully reconciled. The best advice is to think about what you and your companion pet would want.

The International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association’s Pet Loss Professionals Alliance has created a wonderful Pet Loss resource page that can give you preliminary guidance.

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