It is never easy to recover from the loss of a pet. Your pet is a member of your family, and you miss him or her. To make matters worse, you must find a way to bury your pet. But before you bury your pet, you must make a few decisions.
Method 1 Taking First Steps
1. Examine your pet. Check for a pulse and feel around to see if she’s still breathing. She may be in trouble, but she is not dead. Call your veterinarian and ask her to help you figure out what to do next.
If your pet is still alive, take her to a nearby emergency vet.
The inner thigh, where the leg meets the body, is the best place to check for a pulse in a dog or cat. The femoral artery is what you’re looking for. To check for a pulse, use two fingers (not your thumb). It may be difficult to detect on a cat.
If you feel a pulse, have someone time you for 15 seconds while you count your beats. Multiply the number by four to get the beats per minute. If possible, your vet will want to know the beats per minute.
2. Take action within the next day. Because the body decomposes quickly, usually within a day, you should bury it as soon as possible. If you must keep the body at home, you can take a few precautions to keep it from decomposing.
You can wrap the body and place it in the refrigerator, but you must act within a day. You can also put the body in the freezer to keep it from decomposing for as long as possible.
If neither of these options are available, leave the body unwrapped on concrete, which will draw the heat out.
3. Notify everyone. You may not remember everyone you need to tell during your grief. For example, it is critical to notify children who were away at college when the pet died. If you have children, you must also devise a method of informing them.
When telling children, avoid using euphemisms. For example, saying that the pet has been “put to sleep” can be perplexing. Inform the child that the pet has died and explain what this means in simple terms. For example, you could say, “I’m sorry to break the news to you, honey. Kitty, our pet cat, died today. That is to say, she stopped breathing and moving. She will not be returning to live with us.”
It can be beneficial to allow the child to see the body, though it is acceptable to soften the blow by partially covering the body with a blanket or placing a favourite toy nearby.
Answer any questions your child has as honestly and directly as you can, even if you don’t know the answer. Also, be prepared for the various manifestations of your child’s grief. Some children may wish to send letters or leave flowers. Others may prefer some alone time, while others may require more cuddles.
4. Allow your pets to inspect the body. Allowing your pets to inspect the body, sniff it, and interact with it can help the pet find closure. If they can see the dead body, they might not spend as much time looking for the pet after she’s been buried.
5. Check the laws in your area. You may or may not be permitted to bury your pet on your own land. Burying in a public park is usually not permitted, but you may be able to bury your pet on your own property.
Call your veterinarian to see if she is familiar with the local laws. You can also inquire with your local humane society.
If you’re still unsure, contact your local police department.
6. Choose a burial location. You may decide to bury your pet in your yard once you know whether you are permitted to do so. You do, however, have other options. Some cities, for example, have pet burial parks where you can purchase a plot for your pet.
Consult your veterinarian to locate a pet cemetery. You can also search for “pet cemeteries” in your area.
Cremation is an alternative to burial. Cremation services are available at some veterinary hospitals, while at others, the crematory is a separate service.
You should be aware that you may have the option of individual cremation (in which you only receive your pet’s remains) or group cremation (where your pet is cremated with other animals). Individual cremation is more costly.
Method 2 Burying at Your Home
1. Inquire about utility lines. When digging in your yard, you should always check for buried utility lines first. You won’t run into them while digging, which could cause problems.
2. Take into account other aspects of the location. If you want your pet to decompose, for example, choose a high, dry location. Furthermore, choose a location that is downhill from a well and at least 50 feet away, though 100 feet is preferable, as well as 50 feet away from other types of water such as ponds, rivers, and drainage ditches. Choose a location that is not shallow to the bedrock below (that is, check to see if you hit rock below where you are digging), as the pet’s decomposition can leach into the water.
3. Protect your pet. First, locate a heavy-duty plastic bag that is large enough to accommodate your animal. Find a box next. Because it keeps the pet contained, wood or metal is the best option. If you want, you can also decorate it.
You should not cover your pet with anything if you want it to decompose into the earth. You should only let your pet decompose in the earth if he or she died naturally.
However, if your pet was euthanized, it is not safe to let her decompose naturally in the soil, so you should cover her.
4. Make a hole. The hole should be at least 3 feet deep for a larger pet. If the pet is small, you might be able to get away with two feet. Keep in mind that depending on the size of your box, you may need to go deeper. Make sure the hole is big enough and long enough to fit the box you’re going to put your pet in.
If you want your pet to decompose into the soil, bury it in a shallower grave. The hole should be about a foot and a half deep, with about a foot between the top and the bedrock below. Make sure there’s at least a foot and a half of soil above the pet, even if you have to mound it up a little.
Making the grave shallower allows the body to decompose.
If you can’t dig in your soil, you can “bury” your pet above ground. Simply place your pet on the ground and cover it with soil in an 18-inch mound.
5. Put the box down on the ground. In the box, lower your animal into the ground. Fill the box with dirt, packing it down as you go. If you don’t have a box, simply place your pet on the ground. You can also bury your pet with a flower or some of her favourite toys.
6. Consider holding a ceremony. You can make it more formal by reading a poem or saying a few words. In addition, you could light candles in your home in memory of your pet. A funeral, even if it is small and held in your home, can help you and your family say good-by to your pet.
Consider what you would do at a funeral. For example, you might want to have someone read a short storey or offer a eulogy to your pet.
Involve your children. Allow them to read a favourite poem, storey, or piece of writing they wrote for the pet.
You could also listen to a favourite song or eat “human food” that your pet enjoyed.
7. Include a few stones. Stones will be used to mark your pet’s location. They do, however, serve an equally important utilitarian purpose: they keep scavengers from digging up your beloved pet.
As a headstone, you can select a decorative stone.
You could also plant something in memory of your pet, such as a rosebush.
8. Understand your other options. If you are unable to bury the pet yourself, some areas will allow you to place it in a (closed) trash can after wrapping it in an old t-shirt or plastic. Another option is to call animal control or a service, and they will come pick up your pet.
Animal carcasses may also be picked up by your local sanitation department.
While it may appear sad to dispose of your animal in this manner, remember that you loved your pet while it was alive. All that’s left is the body, not the pet you adored. Consider putting a stone in your yard to remember your pet by.
Method 3 Burying in a Pet Cemetery
1. Choose a cemetery. If you have several options, you should think about a few things. Price is, of course, a consideration when deciding what to buy. You might also prefer a location close to your home. Finally, you should inquire as to whether the cemetery is dedicated. That is, the deed states that it will always be a cemetery, even if the land is sold to someone else.
2. Choose between a group burial and a single burial. In some cemeteries, you can choose between an individual and a group grave site. In a group cemetery, your pet would be buried alongside other pets.
You may also have the option of burying your loved one in a grave, mausoleum, or crypt.
In some areas, group burial may be the only option.
3. Choose a plot. If you choose an individual site, you will most likely have the option of selecting a plot, just like in a regular cemetery. You’ll collaborate with the cemetery manager to find the one you’re looking for.
Before your pet can be buried, you must pay for the plot. You can also purchase one ahead of time before your pet passes away.
Keep in mind that if you have a pet plot in a cemetery, you may be required to pay a maintenance fee each year.
4. Select a headstone. Headstones are available, just like in a regular cemetery. Work with the cemetery to find a suitable location for your pet.
5. Make a funeral plan. Many pet cemeteries will work with you to arrange a funeral if you so desire. However, if you don’t want one or can’t afford one, you don’t have to have one.
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