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Living with Pet
Bereavement

All you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask about Pet Loss...

Burial Information

There are two types of Burial available to pet carers, Home or Pet Cemetery -

Home burial
Most of us at some stage may have experience of a home burial, after our beloved first pet hamster, guinea pig, or budgie, dies and we bury it in the garden. The grave marked with two lollipop sticks stuck together to make a cross. That is still a very apt way to introduce children to the aftercare of a little pet. However, the dynamics change when you are faced with burying a cat or larger dog. Firstly, you need to own your home to bury any pet in the garden. Many local authorities will not allow you to bury a hamster in the garden, let alone a dog.

Finding the right spot is vitally important. Underground utility cables have to be taken into consideration, because if you accidentally sever a cable, you could easily leave your entire neighbourhood without gas and a hefty bill from the gas company to repair the cable. Ideally you have to dig a grave of approx 3 feet deep - that's a lot of digging! There are many other factors that have to be taken into account with a home burial -

  • The time of year and how hard the ground is
  • The time factor of how quickly the grave has to be dug
  • How will family cope emotionally if they move house in the future

All these factors have to be taken into account when deciding on a home burial. Most family's wrap their pet in a blanket or some sort of waterproof lining, however if there is any doubt that the grave will not be permanent, a pet carer can place the pet inside plastic box or steel box which will not degrade should they wish to exhume at a later date. The pets remains will degrade within the container, but actually locating the pets remains, is very much easier.

Pet Cemetery Burial
With private burial, a pet is separately prepared and buried in an individual lot or grave site where memorial markers can be provided for the pet. There are many variants from cemetery to cemetery depending on the geographic location, local regulations, available facilities and range of services. Pet cemeteries provide a wide range of choices, enabling the pet owner to select a casket, vault and plot that meet both emotional and financial requirements. Another option is a woodland burial, these burial sites don't take on the appearance of a traditional pet cemetery - instead of small headstones they plant a tree as a marker for your pet.

Like pet crematoriums, a pet carer should visit any pet cemetery they are considering using. Check to see if they have a Waste Management Licence which is a requirement for a pet cemetery, and visit the cemetery to see if the grounds are well maintained. Pet cemeteries are on privately owned land and not consecrated ground, like a human cemetery, and therefore there is always a possibility that land used for a pet cemetery may be sold at a later date. When land is used for a pet cemetery it becomes virtually worthless, as there are very few prospective buyers who would consider purchasing land that had been used for burial.

Burial can be up to 3 times the cost of cremation and there is usually an annual ground maintenance fee to be paid for the upkeep of the cemetery.