How To Memorialize Your Pet

The loss of a pet can leave you reeling, and wondering why it is not covered under bereavement leave by your employer. While you are still raw from the loss, you are faced with some tough decisions. Burial versus cremation? Communal versus private cremation? One question that isn’t asked but is of paramount importance is How likely are you to move, and would you want to leave your beloved pet’s remains behind?

If you decide to cremate Fido or Tiger, you need to determine if you want the ashes back or not. If not, you can have your pet cremated with other pets and have the ashes commingled (communal cremation). If you do want the ashes, you can have your pet cremated separately (private cremation). Prices vary, but ballpark is $50 for communal and $100 for private cremation.

If you chose burial or communal cremation, there are many products available at pet stores, on Etsy., etc. that will help memorialize how special your pet was to you.

If you choose private cremation, steps are taken to make sure you are truly getting back your own pet’s ashes. For example, a stainless steel ID tag bearing your pet’s unique identifier can be placed by the crematorium with your animal and accompany it through the entire cremation process, including being placed in the urn or box at the end. It can take about a week to get the ashes back. A small cat yields less than 20 cubic inches of ash, and a large dog up to 62 cubic inches in cremated remains.

Now you have more decisions! You can scatter the ashes, put them in an urn or other receptacle, or have the ashes crafted into beautiful keepsakes. Keep in mind there may be others who might want a remembrance keepsake of your pet, like family members, veterinarian, pet sitter, neighbors, groomer, etc. Chances are if you are missing your four-legged friend, others are too. A Google search will help you find just the right way to honor your pet.

So you have made all the decisions, paid the money, and done all the tasky things. Now comes the hard part, living without your beloved companion. When you find a way to do that, please let me know. I still miss my dog! One great source of information is the Pet Loss Professionals Alliance. Their website answer lots of questions about preparations you can make before and after your pet dies.

Thank you to Robyn Calkins of Heavenly Wings Pet Cremation for helping me with this topic.