A very difficult thing to do: ask about, discuss, and then decide what to do once our companion has passed.
So we have listed the various choices and what they mean for your private consideration.
Most families will choose a Simple Cremation without the return of ashes; they feel the memories of a life of love and fun are reminder enough.
For some, Individual Cremation, in which the ashes of your companion are returned in a simple but elegant pine urn - is a comfort and possibly the beginning of a special tribute (burial at a favorite shared place of memory) to that special life long friend.
Different urns can be requested, a small gold name plaque can also be requested to adorn the urn of your choice. These can be viewed at the following web site:
Finally, a note from Dr.Corey: "Just as my father did for his beloved dog 'Sill' many years ago," you can arrange formal burials through the above memorial company, or take them yourself to that special place you own, their home away from home, and no one will ever ask where that private place for the both of you is!
If you have lost a loved one and would like to add a memorial, please submit a message and/or photo to be displayed to:
A Poem by Dr. Mary A. Corey
"A Friend's Farewell"
I look at the tiny black and white photo of a small boy, born 1904 in Middletown, New York. He is wearing knickers! A wide brim hat covers his head as an arm surrounds a small dog that I know is "Boots."
I know that Boots once (mistakenly) jumped into the dumbwaiter in the upstairs New York flat where the little boy lived and that Boots wound up three flights downstairs but lived so the tale could be laughed about; I can still hear my father laughing when he recounted this childhood memory.
There is another black and white photo of a tall, handsome Army officer, holding in his hand a small puppy that he had just found; I know this dog's name was "Sill," for Fort Sill, Oklahoma where my father was stationed when he met my mom and found that dog, the first of his adult life.
I have more photos in my album; there is one of my mother, spooning with Sill looking very pregnant, (Sill was before my mother), and a photo of my father laying in the yard of their first home in Silver Spring, Maryland with Sill's puppies all around him playing in the fall leaves.
"Skunky" came into the home in Falls Church, Virginia soon after my oldest sibling was born and never left; it was where we all grew up, where I, the youngest child of three, learned the words to one of Dad's favorite old songs:
How much is that doggie in the window,
The one with the waggly tail?
How much is that doggie in the window?
I must know if that doggie's for sale.
Then listened to his story of how difficult it had been to say goodbye to Sill--Dad's favorite--when a veterinarian (not his daughter) said there was nothing more that could be done for her; she could not walk any longer.
We will forever miss those that loved us and we them, for so long and so well, BUT the memories are a wonderful comfort for our hearts in the early days and even years later...
With our sympathy and shared loss.
Grief is the price we pay for love.
-Queen Elizabeth II
Argus Institute at Colorado State University: Support and resources for understanding and processing grief.
Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement: Professionally trained volunteers in pet bereavement counseling.
ASPCA, Pet Loss: Information and support from ASPCA psychologist and grief counselor Dr. Stephanie LaFarge, PhD. You may submit a question for Dr. LaFarge as well.
Chance's Spot: A "nonprofit organization that assists and supports pet parents and professionals with pet loss and bereavement issues."
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Pet Loss Support Hotline (607-253-3932, Tuesday-Thursday, 6:00pm-9:00pm) and links to "Resources for Grieving."
Grief Online: Tributes, resources, and information about candle-lighting ceremonies.
PetLoss.com: This is a gentle and compassionate website for pet lovers who are grieving over the death of a pet or an ill pet. Here you will find personal support, thoughtful advice, the Monday Pet Loss Candle Ceremony, Tribute Pages, healing poetry (such as "The Rainbow Bridge"), and much more.
Pet-Loss.net: Tips for coping with grief and other helpful information and links.
Rainbow Bridge: Anyone who has ever lost a pet should visit this site; it is a tribute to our lost family members.
Self-Healing Expressions: "Bringing the self to healing, one lesson at a time."
Sunset Pet Services, Inc.: SPSI, owned and managed by pet owners, provides practical and sensitive answers to our pet owners who face one's inevitable passing. SPSI strives to treat each pet and family with respect and dignity during difficult times.
Tufts University Pet Loss Support: Online resources, including support groups and chat rooms. Featuring 24-hour voicemail, their hotline can be reached at (508) 839-7966.
UC-Davis Center for Companion Animal Health: Links to web resources and pet loss support hotlines.
University of Illinois, C.A.R.E.: Companion Animal Related Emotions online resources and Pet Loss Helpline. Helpline can be reached at 877-394-CARE (2273), Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday 7:00pm - 9:00pm.
Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine: "Grieving? You don't have to be alone." Pet Loss Support information, links, and hotline (866-266-8635).
More Support Hotlines:
Chicago Veterinary Medical Association Pet Loss Helpline: 630-325-1600
Michigan State University Pet Loss Support Hotline: 517-432-2696
Consider the illustrated children's book, When You Have to Say Goodbye: Loving and Letting Go of Your Pet by Monica Mansfield, DVM. This book "gently describes the why's surrounding end-of-life issues with animals," and it can help both children and adults find ways to "move through this experience in a positive fashion."