The death of a family pet is an event that brings with it a special sorrow. Making this mournful period even more stressful is that fact that the owner is immediately faced with the decision of what to do with the remains of the loyal friend. While a pet cemetery can be a viable option, costs can range from $500 with a simple plastic casket and stone marker or more elaborate burial packages of $2000 or more, which may not be within the budget of most pet owners. A veterinarian’s office can dispose of the remains for a nominal cost but such a choice may seem cold hearted. For most people, a simple backyard burial or cremation remain the only viable alternatives, but which one is the best choice?
PROS – Given the necessity to quickly provide a final resting place for a treasured pet, burial on or near the owner’s property is the most popular choice made by pet owners.
Not only is this method relatively inexpensive, but it can also provide the grieving owner with comforting closure in knowing that the pet has received a final resting place near their home. The addition of a memorial stone, engraved marker, or wind chime on or near the pet’s grave adds a lasting remembrance and memorial to the beloved pet.
CONS – Unless you live in a rural area, local city laws and/or home associations may limit or even bar pet burials on an owner’s property. Even if burial is allowed, special care must be taken, not only to prepare a hole deep enough to discourage scavengers, but also in cases of large pets, to use a proper container so as to prevent a depression in the grave once decomposition begins.
PROS – When the cremation option is chosen, the grieving owner is spared the grief of handling the remains, checking the local laws regarding pet burial, and digging the plot. (This would be a particular advantage during the winter months.) Most veterinarians will be able to either handle the cremations themselves or make arrangements to have the procedure performed elsewhere. The ashes can either be kept in an urn next to a framed picture of the beloved pet or scattered in a yard that the animal loved to play in. If so desired, a small portion of the ashes can even be put into a tasteful piece of memorial cremation jewelry.
CONS – Depending on the size of the animal, the costs of “Private” pet cremation (one pet only, rather than communal) may range from $75.00 to $400.00, depending on the size of the animal. Some crematories may charge extra fees for services performed after hours and on weekends. There may also be some laws in the owner’s town that may limit the scattering of the ashes.
The choice between a yard burial and cremation is not an easy one for a pet owner to make. While the factors of cost and convenience should be considered, ultimately it will be the heart of the pet owner which will decide upon the final resting place for their lost companion.