If your beloved pet has passed away at home, or if you've put him to sleep at the veterinarian's office but can't face the idea of leaving the body behind, you're going to need to bury him yourself.
As a child, I'd buried hamsters and gerbils, but I'd never buried an animal that I'd been particularly close to until a week ago when I had to bury my kitty cat. This article is going to cover the practical aspects which sometimes go unrealized during our grief, but it will also cover the spiritual benefits you will reap should you decide to bury your pet yourself.
Losing a pet is very difficult for anyone whose loved one, but I've found that laying mine to rest myself was the best thing I could have done for myself and for her. That's not to say that not doing so is the wrong choice — everyone and every pet is different. This is just my personal experience.
Reasons Why You Should Bury Your Pet Yourself
I honestly wasn't sure I'd be able to handle doing this myself, from an emotional perspective, but I decided that I owed it to my cat. I was also pretty sure I'd have a lifetime of nightmares if I just left her body behind at the vet. I am so very appreciative of the decision I made to bury my cat myself, and these are the reasons why:
It's an emotional outlet.
I was, of course, rather hysterical during the moment she was euthanized, but during the ride home, I went incredibly numb. I had a very, very heavy heart, and I periodically burst into uncontrollable tears due to the feelings I was having. The physical exertion I underwent — carrying her body out to the woods, digging the hole, filling it up again — this was a very appropriate form of energy release for me. I felt 1000% lighter by the time it was done. I wasn't happy, of course, but I was in a much better position to cope at that point.
It brings closure.
Ask any shrink, and they'll tell you how often people torture themselves over lack of proper closure. Putting the body of your pet to rest yourself is, for lack of a better phrase, something that feels right once it's done. As I stood there looking at the grave when it was finished, I knew I'd never have gotten that type of closure any other way.
Where to Bury Your Pet
- If you've got a garden or backyard, you may want to bury them at home. I have a beautiful national park across the street, and I decided to bury my cat there. If you do this where you live, make sure you are not violating any rules in doing so.
- Choose somewhere you can visit easily. It may be a lovely thought to bury your pet at the top of the highest hill, but that will likely prevent you from visiting as often as you'd like to.
- Choose somewhere that makes you smile. Don't choose some dreary location that will depress you every time you visit. I chose a place with a lovely view for her, and even though that may sound strange, I like to think she appreciated it.
- Some places have restrictions on burying pets in public places. I'm fortunate that this country only dictates that you have to be a certain distance from a water supply. If you think it may be illegal to bury your pet in a public park, you should contact your parks and recreation office to determine what you're allowed to do.
What You'll Need
- Firstly, you're going to need a pet casket of some sort. You can make one yourself out of a box, or you may want to invest in a professionally hand-crafted pet casket. I didn't have the second option, but I was quite happy with the one I made myself. You do not need to buy one, but they are there for those who feel drawn to them.
- Secondly, you're going to need a proper shovel that you can stand on whilst digging. If you're burying a very small box, and if the ground is very soft, you might be ok with a small shovel — but if I'd only had something small, I'd have been digging the entire day.
- Thirdly, you're probably going to need a second person. This hadn't even occurred to me, and I'm lucky that I had a friend who volunteered to help me. In my case, I had to walk and carry my cat into a National Forest — by the time we got to the place of my choosing, I could barely lift my arms. I would never have been able to carry the shovel; this is why I say you should plan to have a second person if it all possible.
- Lastly, you need to be prepared for a long and strenuous dig. This is another reason you may want to have a second person with you. In my case, I picked a spot that I was drawn to, and after 10 cm or so of digging, the earth was very hard, rocky and full of tree roots that had to be dug through. I was determined to bury her in that lovely spot, and it took me 3 hours to dig an appropriately sized hole. If you're digging somewhere else, you may not have that problem. But all I can tell you is that it was very hard and I wish I'd brought water with me because I was exhausted by the time it was done.
How to Create a Memorial for Your Dead Pet
You may want to create a headstone, or you may only want to place a medium-sized rock at the location. If you've got children, I recommend creating a memorial stone with them, but you may prefer to purchase a memorial headstone. Or you may not want to put anything there at all, if you can remember where it is. But don't be afraid to put flowers there once or twice a year, perhaps on your pet's birthday or Christmas, to remember him or her. If you've got children this can be a very good method of helping them to feel like they are still connected in some way.
© 2009 Isabella Snow
JD on February 23, 2020:
I have been trying unsuccessfully to find a recommendation for the direction in which I should bury my recently deceased pet rabbit.
Jacqueline on October 25, 2019:
Such a beautiful article, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to share this. My bf & I are planning to bury our beloved ratty and this just gave me so much peace of mind. Do you mind my asking where you live? We are in California and have picked out a place in the Sierras.
Min on February 02, 2019:
Hi Isabella my cat of 15 years passed away naturally at home yesterday afternoon. We knew he probably wasn’t going to make it but we hoped he would recover and we turned down euthanasia. His condition got worse and by the time we requested the vet to come out to euthanasie my cat began dying it was around 10 minutes of meowing and spasms which was really hard for me and mum to witness. We were by his side and kept telling him we love him until the very end. Because we so distressed we couldn’t think of anything else to do other then go to a warehouse and buy a huge pot and soil. We buried him inside and put some white plants on top. Because we live in a unit he is on our verenda and we were wondering if that’s a bad idea will he smell?
Sarah on August 04, 2018:
Great advice thank you
Jo on June 19, 2018:
My Ramona has cancer in her mouth. I didnt think she’d still be with me. The vet said 3 mths and it’s been 9 mths. All she eats now is meat baby food. I can tell she doesn’t feel as well as used to but I don’t think she’s miserable. She loves to go outside, she still has an appetite & she still loves to lay on my lap. She’s the first cat (I’m 58) I’ve had from baby kitty to grown cat. She’s now almost 14. I have another cat, Bella, who is 9.
I’ve come into some hard times & I’ll be basically homeless by the end of the month. I know I’ll have a home again but many rentals only allow one pet. A friend is going to let me sleep in an extra bedroom.
I feel like Bella will adapt. We’ve moved two times & Ramona had a hard time adjusting. She’s always been high strung. Since the cancer diagnosis I’ve watched her carefully because I don’t want her to suffer. I was hoping she could live out her days with me unless I felt she was in great pain. I would never let her suffer.
The point is moot because I must have her put to sleep before the 30th. How do you pick a day for your cat to die? I feel bad because my living situation is affecting her life but yet I know her time is coming, one way or another. I just so wanted to keep her with me until the end.
I wish I could afford to cremate her. My son is buried at our local cemetery & I own the lot next to him. I would give anything to be able to place her ashes there.
My friend has offered her yard & ive thought about making a box so I can bury her. It just sucks.
I am a mess. I love my Ramona. I can’t imagine my life without her in it. I know that this is the price we pay for the love of our pets. We will always outlive them. I know it has been worth the pain; she has been a wonderful companion. But I am still so sad.
Ronin on May 02, 2018:
My wife's dog passed in my arms and I made a box casket out of a cardboard box and we filled it with treats toys and her sweater she wore. We burried her on our favorite walking trail and made a burrial mound with large rocks and a wooden marker so we can cost her on walks. Pick somewhere that is special to you and that you think they would be happy.
Barish on December 15, 2017:
My little friend Musti had suffered plenty of tragic accidents and attacks and each time we two managed to make it through. He was just 5 month old when he was attacked by 5-6 street dogs and it took him a long while until he completely recovered from his severe injuries. Then I had made him a promise that I'd never leave him until his/my last breath, and that I'd not be his owner, but rather his best friend. Unfortunately Musti has died of high-dgree anemia due to liver failure this morning around 03.00am, I had the chance to kiss his forepaw and say "goodbye" before he passed away. The vet told us that they would take care of the body if I and my family would like to, but I and my elder brother felt that it would not be the final goodbye that Musti has ever deserved, and we took the body and went to the small forest we have nearby. We digged a deep hole as Isabella indicates above, we put Musti into a casket, wrapped into a big piece of clot, we said "Goodbye dear Musti, rest in peace my friend" and closed the casket tighly. We put Musti into the hole we had digged, then put some soil, then some stones, then soil again, and stones... Finally we filled the entire hole so firmly, and we put also some big stones on the surface of my dear friend Musti's grave. I will never be easy to continue living without his presence and I'll definitely miss him so much, but in a way I feel a little peace in my heart because we've made what Musti really deserves... I love you so much my dear Musti, I'll miss you so much, and I do hope you and I will meet oneday in a better world. Rest in peace my dear Musti.
Hariharasudhan on December 03, 2017:
I am posting this with a heavy heart My cat MILO was 2 and half years old when he left me. He drowned in a over head water tank. I felt very bad and i dont know wat to do. I felt extreme sorrow and pain. Actually it was an accident the lid for the tank is broken i forget to repair it. I also said to my father to repace it because hes the one who check the water level in that tank daily poor old man he also didnt change it because he was lethargic and never thought our milo would jump there. Now i feel terible and angry oppon him and my self. If only i had repaired it my angel MILO would have been alive. Finally i burried him in my back yard after performing all final rites which we do i our relegion. RIP MILO.
alina q on December 29, 2013:
My oldest friend manuel left us a couple days ago. the hardest part is that i am visiting family for the holidays. my friend told me he wasn't doing well and they took him to the vet. i was on the phone with them, they took an xray and discovered his lungs were 80% full of fluid from a tumor. they put on oxygen and he wouldn't make it without it. i thought how could this be? He seemed fine, even at 16years old. i had to make the decision to have him euthanized and my friend was with him. i spoke and cried to him on speaker phone and my friend said he recognized my voice and seemed at peace finally, put his head down and closed his eyes. my baby boy has been with me every step of the way, we have moved so many times and been in strange situations together. i just wanted to hold him while his spirit left, and that is the hardest part about it. i go back home to an empty house and will bury him in the mountains on new years day. goodbye darling manuel. I must let your spirit go back into the loving arms of yhe creator.
dan on June 25, 2013:
rascal was a wildcat when it was 4 degrees outside when I moved n she stand with me n winter&rain sleeped sometimes with me,but mostly outside hunter I never tried to break her spirirt . hit by car n front of me I was n shocked I buried her by cat litter&wild food her sun shine place could only dig to stones because of city sewage pipes about 3-4 ft. I wish it was deeper next to house&home litter on top to keep other animals from digging her -up when I find stones I will cover up could her decomplation began to swell?if so I will put more soil on top. 1st.cat &friend.
Freddie on May 13, 2013:
My Sweet sweet siamese. Mousie Tung was chased, cornered and killed by a pit bull that was off leash. She ran away but got cornered by a fence and the dog crushed her in his jaws. I couldn't save her as much as I tried and she bled to death, so so scared. I can't stop crying over her. She was my friend. confident and loved to lick me and clean me for as long as I would let her. God she was so so smart and always had to have the last word in the conversation. She always knew what was going on, She loved to eat. I mean, this cat LOVED to eat. So yes, she was a little overweight but she was such a happy cat. She so loved Sylvia and I and would always run in front of of and plop on her belly when we came home. I don't know where to bury her, I just got her remains and they sit beside me. I still see her at night out of the corner of my eye. I miss her so.
I will find a place to bury her this weekend. Somewhere where she will be happy and warm and have the sun on her warming her as she so loved that in life.
applenchica on September 22, 2012:
I rccently lost my baby Apple,a few days ago. I wasn't thinking clear when my husband burried her and he burried her in the wrong spot, is it bad to move her. I wanted her closer. It's real hard for me to deal with the lose.
Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on June 06, 2012:
I was googling today and found this hub. It must be very helpful to a lot of pet owners, as I see from the comments. I wish I could read them all, but I'm too sad to do that. I had to bury my cat today. My niece helped me. I found a nice spot by the back fence that looks peaceful and where I can continue to keep an eye over him as I did since he was a geriatric cat that I took in his final two years of life. I miss him so much. Thanks for this helpful hub.
Keith77 from Edinburgh on May 13, 2012:
Sorry to hear about Indiana. I never realised just how close our pets are until we loose them. It was really hard when we lost 'Salem'. Burying him was the hardest thing I've ever done.
Talking about it helps a lot. Take it easy and keep your chin up.
Carey on May 12, 2012:
I came home from work tonight to find my favorite cat, Indiana, unresponsive. After getting her to a late night emergency care clinic half an hour away, I decided, through sobs of grief (I could barely even talk without breaking down), to have her put to sleep. I'm debating even four hours later here if it's the hardest thing I've ever had to do!
Indiana, and her sister JuJu, are both rescue kitties. They have lived with me in Tennessee and Virginia, then up to the beach in Maryland and Delaware, then down to the country in Georgia, up to the suburbs in Ohio, and then back to Georgia. And I'm working on making it to California. She was supposed to make it with me and her sister...
Once, Juju was missing. Indiana would meet me at the door when I'd get home from work and walk around the block with me at night looking for Juju. We'd walk to a house, and Indiana would dart down the driveway, "meow" around in the back yard, then come back. She'd repeat this at every house, every night we went out. I've never seen behavior like that out of a cat.
She's sitting beside me right now in her little cardboard coffin. I'm burying her tomorrow. I keep falling into uncontrollable bursts of tears as I reflect on what she's been to me. I can't seem to reach any of my friends and feel so totally alone right now. But I found all of your stories while checking to make sure she'd "keep" til tomorrow, and it helps seeing so much concern and empathy in these posts. They've truly helped ease the incredible, almost unbalanced, pain I'm feeling right now. I miss you so much already, Indiana. I love you forever and thank you for what you brought into my life.
Thank you everyone for sharing your stories. Our lives will be forever altered in the best way for being open to and accepting love from our pets. I'm proud to say I'm a cat guy. It takes a truly kind and open heart to fall in love with your pet. And those that do are rewarded. I love you, Indiana...
Patrick R on April 01, 2012:
My poor old whiskers died last night, she was almost 20. I still remember the first day I brought her home to the kids she was so playful and fun to have around. Whiskers I will miss you and will think about you everyday. Love you girl...
Geena on March 29, 2012:
My beautiful cat Jack was found passed away today. He had been missing for 5 weeks and we were all beggining to lose hope. But then after I got home today someone had spotted a
Isabella Snow (author) on March 27, 2012:
It is quite sad... I read all of them myself, too.
Keith77 from Edinburgh on March 26, 2012:
I keep checking back here after writing a post about our cat 'Salem'. It's sad to read about the loss of other peoples pets. It does get easier over time. All we can do is cherish the memories that we have.
Mike on March 24, 2012:
We woke up this morning only to find our loving Penny dead. She was never sick and always healthy as a horse. We rescued her from a shelter 11 years ago. Very smart, already housebroken, and to this day cannot imagine anyone abandoning her. I guess she was meant to be part of our family. My three boys loved her and she was a constant companion to all of us. I knew she would not be here forever, as I have had dogs growing up, but she was OUR first. My wife never knew she was a dog person until Penny came into our lives. It has been a tough day for me so far, I buried her in her beloved yard where we spent so much time together playing and gardening. This was HER yard. I could see no better place to lay her to rest. We have a huge yard with many trees, about 80 or so. I layer her in a hole near the biggest oak, probably some couple of hundred years or so. She had a great last day, we went to bed with her safely sleeping, maybe just watching us, on her pillow. That was her spot and now it is empty and makes me sad. As I was covering her body with earth I kept saying "Good doggy.". I wanted her to know how much we loved her. That was way harder than I expected, I could hardly keep my composure. Reading your stories of your pets has helped. There os a big hole in my heart right now but in time it will heal but the hole is the size of a Pennydog. So we need to get the boys home and have a toast to this wonderful animal who for the past 11years gave us so much joy. Good doggy, I miss you.
Gordon on March 20, 2012:
Do check for utility lines before digging. Grief can make us have some unfortunate accidents if we don't plan.
modernmedevilwoman on March 16, 2012:
Our Family Pet Henry VIII the chinchilla was with us for 6 years. He was the most loving and adorable pet. He was my daughters first pet and she grew up with him. He began to show signs of distress and became extremely lethargic. He stopped eating and drinking and we made an appointment for the vet. He died the night before. I discovered his passing at 3am and worried about my daughter finding him in his cage in the morning. I decorated a shoe box and placed him gently in. She was devastated. We are going to bury him in the park. We will miss him and we are planning on donating to Chinchilla rescue reliefs in his honor.
hond begraven on March 14, 2012:
I have my dog ??buried in a casket purchased from www.liefhuisdier.nl my children have made drawings ??that we have done in the coffin. the loss of your pet is an emotional event. sammy our beloved dogg we have buried in our own garden in a decent coffin we had a beautiful farewell to her.
Philip on March 06, 2012:
Our Ruffles, a four year old male cat died suddenly on Sunday morning. I found him after waking in the night. I woke the family. Later Sunday morning we laid him to rest in our flower bed. Later that day we memorialized him with a potted plant with pink flowers, as his nose and paws were pink. He also loved to chew on flowers. The pet funeral was good for us and while it is hard, it provides reflection and closure. He will be missed!
Emma on February 25, 2012:
my 8 month old kitten Dillon literally dropped dead yesterday. she'd been abandoned at an early age and had always had problems, but i thought we had helped her over the worst of it. we buried her in the back garden with her toy. i'm still crying.
John on February 24, 2012:
Sad reading all these stories about pets that have passed away. My dog is old, and will have to be buried by myself at a beautiful spot that I have already chosen, but hopefully a few years yet. He's been here so long it will be painful when he's not here. Too sad to think about!
Gisel on February 13, 2012:
Peaches was my 9 month old cat. She died in my arms on Saturday at 5am. I heard a moan and when I turned the light on I saw her on her side struggling to breath. I got scared and hoped she was giving birth or anything but not dying! Those last 5 minutes when all her power and might was being used to pump her little lungs and heart. The worst sight of my life. She was so beautiful my sweet Peaches. I can't help but feel guilty for not waking her before I went to sleep. I found it odd to see her laying on the wooden floor but she looked so cute I didn't want to disturb her. If only I bad attempted to wake her and I would have noticed her in pain....
But now after gallons of tears I just hurried her this February 13 2011, right outside my window under a pink tree that will forever drop pink petals on her grave. It was a spot shed run to every morning to climb the wall to her journey to the neighbors yard. I hope to see her in heaven when I go ); love
Kellie Altieri on January 09, 2012:
Hi there! I'm commenting for a few reasons. First - I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to write this so soon after your kitty's passing. Second - One of my cats, Shelbie, is about 14 years old and over the past few months, her age is showing more and more - weight loss, hard of hearing, arthritis, etc. But, Besides those things, she has got to be the happiest, most content cat ever. She gets along with *all* animals - about 10 years ago, I had a bunny and they were BFFs. They loved to chase each other and snuggle. :) and she *loves* to snuggle, She's been a 24/7 purr machine since she was a year or 2 old, she still does the typical cat "midnight crazies" where she darts around the house, non-stop for like 15-20 minutes. She's just awesome. She came to me as a feral cat that was recovering from her spay surgery and I was supposed to try and socialize her with humans. She lived up to the word "feral" and I have a few scars to prove it. :) She came around a few weeks later with the help of bacon bribery. :) We've been through alot together - 5 moves, both of my parents dying, the birth of my son and the addition of 2 more cats and a dog. She's *always* there when I need her.
I was a vet tech for 6 years and have put to sleep more dogs and cats that I can count. Every one of them was emotional and I would cry right along with the pet owners. But, having to go through it with your own pet is different. I've never had to put one of my own to sleep. I'm not looking forward to it, both my son and I will be devastated - even talking about the possibility of her not being with us this time next year makes us both start crying.
I don't think I'm going to bury her though. I wouldn't be able to leave her behind if/when I move. That happened with the dog my family had when I was growing up. We had him cremated and my brother buried him in the yard. Eventually, as everyone grew up, we all went our separate ways. And thinking about him still being in the yard without us there makes me so sad. Alot of vets will cremate your pet and give you the ashes. So, I think that's what I'm going to do. Out of curiosity, was this not an option for you? You mentioned burying her yourself or leaving her behind but, cremation wasn't brought up in your article.
So, anyway Thanks again for writing this .. it will prove to be a very useful option when it's my turn. Keep your head up!
PS - SORRY FOR THE NOVEL. Sometimes I don't know when to STFU! LOL
B. Born on December 08, 2011:
My cat Tomie was 17 years 11 months and just passed away tonight of kidney failure. He was a wonderful Buddy to me and I miss his meows in the morning saying it was time to get up! I plan to bury him in my backyard but it is going to be difficult with the freezing weather. In the box, I plan to place his special fun stuff like toilet paper and his catnip toy. I loved and he loved me. I plan to plant flowers come spring.
Joey on November 29, 2011:
My dog died yesterday when I wasn't home. I got phone calls and texts, but couldn't believe it. Came home, and he wasn't at the door waiting for me as always. I went to the back, and he was under a towel, drips of blood on the floor. The story, he was being chased by a bigger dog, and my brother couldn't keep up. He came around to the other block, and a couple said he had died beside a car. My brother picked him up and that couple gave him a ride home. Not sure if he was hit by a car or killed by the dog. No wounds or anything, just bleeding from the nose. I loved my dog, and still do. Instead of sleeping now at 4:33am on a Tuesday morning, I'm here thinking about him. He would have been sleeping here with me under the blanket. A lot will change now. I come home to no one greeting me at the door, when I'm laying down, no one will be by my side, and when I walk around, no one who will follow, while happily wagging his tail. Mojo, you are loved, and greatly missed. I wish there could have been something to do to prevent this. I went to his body, hoping for some sort of movement, any sign of breathe, nothing. I stood there, pouring tears, and as I move over the towel, I see his balls. I flip the other side, and there was his face, eye partially open. I patted his body, solid hard, no movement. I am struck by this. I miss you mojo, see you tomorrow morning buddy. I'm going to bury him in the back yard because I want to visit him. It's kinda scary in my backyard and doesn't look so beautiful, but I want him close to me. RIP Mojo, mixture of chihuahua, and possibly mini ponscher
Isabella Snow (author) on November 16, 2011:
I just wanted to let everyone know that even though I don't reply to every story shared here (because I don't want to sound cliché repeating the same condolences each time...) I do read all the stories the same day they are posted, and most of them make me cry! I hope you are all coping as best you can, and I know your beloved pets are in a good place, along with my kitty. :)
tamara dunne on November 16, 2011:
my dwarf hamster past away this morning.ive been miserable all day.thank you for your advice.it has really helped me.
Keith77 from Edinburgh on October 28, 2011:
It's good to read all the good advice and comments. Can I just say I'm sorry to hear about the loss of so many loved pets.
My wife and I lost our cat last Sunday morning, but little did we know at the time he had been knocked down. Our cats name was 'Salem', he was pure black, like a little panther. He was so affectionate. He never appeared home for breakfast on Sunday, which was unusual for him, so we were a bit worried. We waited to see if he would appear throughout the day, but he never. We went round our local area shouting his name, thinking that he might have returned to the house, as he often came rushing in through the cat flap when we shouted out the back door.
Monday morning came, and there was still no sign of him, so we made up small cards with a photo of Salem and a message asking neighbours to check their garages and sheds. Only 10 minutes after my wife posted the cards, a neighbour came to the door to say she had seen a black cat by the roadside near the church gates, which she suspected had been hit by a car. We rushed down to see if we could see the cat, but there was nothing. Where did he go? As the days passed I made calls to our local council, as they often pick up animals that have been found by the road. I didn't know who else to call, but eventually called the local Police station, and they revealed that someone had handed in a collar. They described the collar, which matched the collar Salem was wearing. We were both devastated. The police dropped the collar round, but we knew it was his, it had small silver love hearts on it that my wife had added.
The hard part, was not knowing where he had gone. All sorts of things go through your mind, tormenting you, causing you to lie awake. We had a lot of sleepless nights, hoping that the local council would call back.
I eventually called the police back, who revealed that the person had removed his collar also placed him in a bag and moved him to the side of the road. The police had also instructed the local council to collect him. I called the council back with an incident number from the police, but they insisted that they had no record. I insisted they check again. They did just that and eventually managed to track down the person who collected him. We were pleased to find out that they still had him in cold storage. It was now Thursday and we arranged to collect him.
Before we picked him up I phoned a local pet funeral home for advice, telling them I wanted to bury my cat. They gave good advice, we also bought a small wicker basket coffin with silk lining. We thought this was appropriate and not expensive and arranged to collect it on our way home from collecting Salem. We didn't expect much, collecting him from the local council depot. He was in a black refuse bag and was still cold. We placed him in a small box in the back of the car and went to collect the casket from the pet funeral home.
The person we met at the funeral home 'Alex' was very helpful and very kind. He gave us a sympathy card and a small envelope that you could use to keep a small lock of hair. We left feeling better about burying Salem.
When we arrived home we made sure our other cat was in the house and closed the inside door, so she couldn't see Salem. We removed him from his bag and placed him in the wicker basket on his favourite blanket. We had to move him slightly to fit, but he was on his side and and there were no signs of injury. My wife cut a small lock of his hair to keep. His paws and ears were still soft, we folded one of his ears under him, as he often slept like that. We curled his tail up round his legs. He looked like he was sleeping. We placed some of his favourite toys in with him and placed another blanket of his over him. We said our goodbye's and placed the lid on and secured it with a ribbon. We decided to bury him the following day, as it would be dark soon and I realised that digging his grave would be difficult. The funeral home had already told us this would be ok, that we should keep him in the shed overnight. The temperature here at night at this time of year is only 1 or 2 degees.
We buried him today. I spent 3 hours digging a two and a half foot deep hole, as I wanted to make sure that he would be safe from any other animals that might get into the garden, such as foxes. We both lowered him into the ground on a piece of garden fabric that we then wrapped over the top of the basket. We placed a flower and another of his toy mice on top and said goodbye again. We now feel much better that he's back home with us.
I never realised just how upsetting losing our cat would be. I work from home most days and Salem would either be by my side or close by. We brought him up from a kitten, where he spent 6 months in the house with me before we decided he was big enough to go outside. He has been a great cat and best friend to both of us. He was a quite a character and we'll both miss him immensely. We'll miss him in the morning, his wee noises and the affection he gave.
I'm sure our other cat 'Shelby' will miss him too, he was only two, still a baby. Much too young to be taken. We will never forget such a special friend and will cherish the photos that we have of him.
I hope this helps someone else, it has helped me by writing this. RIP 'Salem' x
Keith & Kirsty, Scotland
lars on October 22, 2011:
Elliot, you were so sweet to me.
Even when you tried to soak the world in pee.
Your silly underbite made me while.
Even though you were rotten all the while.
I wish I could have eased your pain.
But now you have boarded the final train.
How could you so suddenly leave.
And we are left to greive.
Your absence is felt,
Wherever your love was delt.
If I could only help you.
If there something I should do.
I would be there for you.
And the end is here.
But you will always be here.
As long as I live I will love you like you lived.
Elliot passed this morning. He was my best friend. I will always cherish the love he shared with me.
Pat on October 19, 2011:
Im so upset its untrue. I loved that cat with all my heart. Part of me has died alongside her. She was 22 and my greatest friend. I have to bury her later today and the thought of it is so sad. I miss her so much and constantly look at the chair that she used to lie in. I cant sleep i dont want to eat, this has caused me so much pain..i would love to see her again to explain why she had to be put to sleep because she couldn't breath...but i am alone with my thoughts and emotions.....
Buddy RIP 10.17.11 on October 17, 2011:
We are burying our 15-year-old "Buddy" in the back yard tonight after we have him put down this afternoon. Terrible heart murmur and has just started having terrible seizures and coughing fits. It is so heart-breaking.
In trying to cut down as much as possible on the possibility of him being dug up by another animal, we are going to wrap in a few plastic bags. I am hoping that is enough to keep his grave in tact and unattractive to other animals.
Thank you for the article and the brave people who have left stories and comments here. No one could ever truly understand being in this place until they have loved a companion. God Bless.
Niv on October 15, 2011:
This was very comforting, reading all the comments from people. My dog died two days ago of chronic renal failure. My sister, mom, myself and my sister's daughter sang Barnie's song to him everyday in his last days. While singing that song over and over again, we just realized something, We are family. Family never leaves you no matter what... we buried him in our courtyard. It was extremely emotional. I am debating whether i want to make a cement layer on that spot or just put a tombstone. Not sure yet, but i just figured out what he inscriptions are going to be, "We are Family"... because we are... and family never leaves... :) Love you Dell...
TLandTC on September 27, 2011:
This was a great article that really helped me out a lot. One thing that I would add is that it might be a good idea to have the grave ready before you bring the pet to it. For example, lets say you choose a nice place way out in the woods. If you start digging and get only 1 to 2 feet down and hit granite or large tree roots, you are going to have to change your plans.
Thanks again, Tom
gnomes on September 26, 2011:
Yesterday I lost my 5 year old iguana and its been tough. She died of kidney disease which is common in a lot of reptiles is what our vet told us. He said she didn't have much of a chance of living and that surgery would be $500-$1000 and not much of a guarantee. Either way we couldn't afford it because my mum is a single hard working mother who has to pay many bills. am going to miss her deeply and I'm starting to get anxiety attacks about the place where we buried her and I'm not sure why.
Cee on September 26, 2011:
Excellent article...which I stumbled upon because I am preparing for the passing of my Dachshund who has been given 6-9 months to live, he has Congestive Heart Failure.
I will bury him at the cottage - no way will I leave his body behind at the Vet (doing so would probably destroy me) as well, I can't imagine the cremation process either...
The problem is the actually digging of the hole...the ground is full of rocks and shells. I want to get this hole dug before it snows as well (in case he passes away in the winter)...
I am impressed that so many people have dug the hole themselves...I know it has got to be tough to do and that's why I am looking for some kind of tool rental or trench digger...or something....
I'll figure it out.
Having this grave site will also help my other dog with closure (I hope) - many people have said that their remaining dog(s) visit home grave sites spending time there, sensing the "presence" of the deceased...
Lauri on September 26, 2011:
If you bury your pet in a pet cemetery in California, please verify that the cemetery is dedicated as a pet cemetery under California state law. This means that, unless you or your heirs agree, your pet can never be dug up by someone who may purchase the cemetery for development purposes or any other reason. Many pet cemeteries throughout the state have been sold over the years, with the pets' graves being removed. As a co-founder of S.O.P.H.I.E., Inc, which is a non-profit organization of pet owners with pets at the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park in Calabasas, my husband and I contacted our state senator & state assemblywoman back in 1983 for help, because the previous owner was going to sell the land to developers. As a result, the first state law in the country to protect pet cemeteries was enacted. Unfortunately, it is on a case-by-case basis,
so the cemetery owner does not have to dedicate at all,
or can dedicate for a certain period of time. Our organization was lucky enough to be able to purchase the property, instead of the developers purchasing it. We then dedicated the pet cemetery in perpetuity, so it is safer than many human cemeteries. Since that time, some other states have enacted a law with the same wording. There ARE other dedicated pet cemeteries in California now, but they are few and far between. In fact, I only know of 1 or 2 others in Southern California, and 1 in Northern California. In Los Angeles, for example, it is illegal to bury your pet on your property.
Many people do, but then have a dilemma if and when they move. Hope this helps in your decision about where to bury your pet. My dog's remains are in a pet cemetery,
but his love and his soul are in my heart.
Cheryl on September 22, 2011:
Thank you for all the comments. My cat, Shiva died last night. I'll bury her in the woods behind my parents house. I'm grateful for all the love and energy she gave me. It's nice to know burying her will give me some relief. Reading the comments, I had an opening to deeper understanding of the phrase 'resting in peace.' The feeling I have when I think of my pet and the feeling I have associated with peace have now merged. I am grateful and full of love. I look forward to seeing where this energy takes me.
Julie Moss on September 08, 2011:
I had to have my beloved pet rabbit Pippin, put to sleep in June 2011 as she had sustained injuries from a fall and she would not have been able to enjoy the freedom which she had had up to that point. I thought long and hard about what to do, but I really didn't want to prolong her suffering, so with a very heavy heart, I took her to the vets.
I buried her, with the help of my son, in our garden so that I can be near her and I always think of her each morning when I open the blind.
I have placed a windmill to mark her resting place and each time it spins in the breeze, I think of Pippin.
Taylor on September 05, 2011:
I have a dog named Sammy. He's a fox-red, yellow lab. I'm making preparations today for my buddy, as I'm sadly taking him in to be euthanized tomorrow. He's only five years old, but was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure 5 weeks ago. He's been in a steady rate of serious decline since. I've picked a place up in the woods behind our home, and have started making a "headstone" out of a concrete fire hydrant. The kids know he's very sick and not expected to live, however they're unaware of my plans for tomorrow. I'll have to break the news when they get home from school. I borrow the following from an author I only know as Joe B. ""Man's best friend" you hear them say.
An understatement, that has to be.
I just hope I was there for him
As much as he was there for me.
Good-bye, Daddy's good boy."
sw on August 30, 2011:
I just lost my cat and decided to bury him in the back flowerbed. I've never done this type of thing before. It was nice to read the other comments as I was concerned about him being dug up by animals. I did dig 3 ft down, then sprinkled some lime in first before putting Bob in the hole. I dusted him with the lime, then dirt, then more lime. Hopefully this will ward off predators. The next day I made a decorative headstone out of a small boulder for him. Whenever I'm on the deck or in the yard, I feel content and just downright HAPPY that he is near, and home in his flowerbed "jungle"!!
DW on August 23, 2011:
Our dog Schnyder 13 years old, passed away two days ago. He is the love of our life. He was suffering from congestive heart failure and he had gotten progressively weaker the last few days and was coughing more. It seemed so sudden. One minute I was looking at him laying on his favorite recliner and the next minute he was gone. I am glad he passed at home and not at the vets who he hated. My husband had already made a casket for him. He prepared a section of our garden. We buried him with some of his favorite toys and a container of his favorite snacks. We also had his blanket on the bottom and covered him with his sweater for when it gets cold. My husband placed rocks around his grave. We have ordered a memorial stone for the grave. My husband added a solar light so he isn't in the dark and we can see him and say goodnight when we walk by the window before we go to bed. My husband and I miss him so much. The house seems so empty. Rest In Peace my little man.
Gavin Smith on August 18, 2011:
My cat Lucky passed away about 12 hours ago, as soon as we found out we said our goodbye's and buried her in the garden and we put down a couple of flowers there and covered the mud with flower petals. Miss her so much already, its surreal. Going with Mum tomorrow to get something like a flower or bush to stay there all year round. RIP Lucky
Nick Beckel on August 18, 2011:
My dog just died about 20 minutes ago. she was 15 years old, which would make her about 105 in doggy years. She was old, and i am crying right now, I plan to bury her under a willow tree in my backyard, its really big and old, just like my dog Marleigh. She was a golden retriever Newfoundland.
Shelley on August 17, 2011:
Our lovely cat named Jasmine, also called Jazz died yesterday, we didn't know she had cancer until 5 days ago. She was fine on Friday by Saturday she wasn't. We took her to the vet and they said she probably wasn't in pain. So we brought her home and stayed with her day and night until she passed yesterday. That was a very good choice for us to not put her down. We're so glad we had those last moments with her and she with us. She passed quickly, but our hearts are still broken. I'm digging the hole is spurts because it's hot today. We will put her in one of her favorite spots. I plan to plant Star Jasmine in the spring. That was her name and she was a STAR OF OUR HEARTS. My heart goes out to all that have to lose a dear soul.
Joan on August 17, 2011:
These comments are making me cry, as I have to put our cat down tomorrow. On the outside she seems ok, but she has been diagnosed with a lung tumor making her breathing difficult. She is 13 and looks like a Siamese with beautiful blue eyes. I'm torn with having to put her to sleep when she probably could continue like this for months, but the vet said she is ready and nothing more can be done for her. Every time I look at her I feel so guilty that I'm 'killing' her, so I am dealing with that. My 21 yr old daughter will go with me as it is her cat, and I dug the hole today in our back yard near the woods. I will wrap her in a zippered burlap bag that our rice came in, and line the hole with soft grass. She will be beside our beloved dog Bea and our first cat Princess. I'm thankful I'm able to have the yard to bury them in. Thanks for making me feel I'm not alone in my grief.
karlita93 on August 02, 2011:
Hi my name is Karla and I live in an apartment, Im going to put my hamster to sleep. Where can I buried him. I need some options.
hitler on August 01, 2011:
wow tony that's quite a storry... i really hope that you are doing much better now :)
Isabella Snow (author) on July 23, 2011:
Wow, Tony, that's quite a story... I hope you're doing better now.
Tony on July 22, 2011:
I Lost my 17 year old cat who had renal disease. He belonged to my mom and when she died I kept him for the next 12 years. I thought I would handle it better than I did. I really was sad and missed him alot. I was trying to decide if creamation and spending money I didn't have was right or bury him. I was renting so that didn't sit right. After the procedure I sat with him in the hospital for a good while and decided waiting two weeks to receive the ashes was to long and I didn't want to leave him. I took him home in his little cardboard coffin they have which I was fine with. I was a complete reck and dealing with it alone. After a few hours I placed him on a high mahogany chest top in front of a side window and place flowers a candle and some other things to show my respects and to just cope. I knew he would keep for at least a day or three before I figuered out what to do. I learned this from documentries on home funerals of people. I couldn,t afford a private cremation so being a hiker, I first put him on ice overnight, placed him in my backpack, I am not kidding, and hiked to the most beautiful place I know in a national forest over looking the pacific and mountins. I used a steel tent spike and a rock to break some of the crumbly rock and a nice little hard aluminum trowel as well as a small multi tool to cut some small roots, and a lightwieght snow shovel with no handel for fast scooping. I spent two nights at this spot camping and recooperating because it was a hard hike and besides It was nice to spend some time with him and send him off.
Erin O. on July 11, 2011:
Thank you for sharing this. Our bird Oliver died last night and we will be burying him at home tonight. It never gets any easier, but I could not bear the thought of having him anywhere else but here. Thank you so much for this article.
Jennifer on July 04, 2011:
My kitty died suddenly today, just walked away from me and passed away within minutes. Shocking and sad. It is nice to hear all the stories and know I'm not alone. The practical advice here can't be beat. I do just want to add, It is imperative to place the animal in an appropriate sized box soon after passing as rigor sets in quickly. Within an hour to an hour and a half, Oscar was rigid. Luckily I had placed him in his kitty cube before this, but was shocked when I went to pet him one last time and he was so unyielding. Kind of morbid, I know, but will help you avoid potential complications like Sacha had. I am sorry for everyone's loss. It is really tough.
Nancy on June 29, 2011:
Thank you for sharing and truly sorry for your loss. We will be losing Sophie Boo in the morning to prevent suffering as her health has declined suddenly. We will be placing her in the yard. Your article has been very helpful as well as have some of the comments.
kevin on June 16, 2011:
Great info. We have lost two cats in the last couple of years and went the cremation route since we didn't want to "leave them behind" if we ever moved. I appreciate the alternatives to doing it in your own yard.
Celeste on June 07, 2011:
Thank you for sharing your post. I'm sorry for your loss, no matter how far in the past. Wolfgang, our cat of 19 years, is being put down this afternoon. Thanks to all of you who have posted. It does help to know that many others feel such love and a sense of strong attachment to their pets, and grieve deeply. Fortunately, the vet will come to the home we have rented. We are traveling in Mexico, where pet cremation is not an option, so we will either bury her deep in the yard under a flower-bearing tree (where she loved to see the birds) or take her out to sea. Thank you to those of you who shared practical tips as well, i.e. lime to prevent other animals digging.
cheryl on May 30, 2011:
this has help me make the right choice for my family. Today my one year old puppy got hit by a hit and run i feel so hurt i cant sleep. The door was left open by a family member, which one ill never know i just miss Chanel so much so RIP I LOVE U CHANEL
MarilynMorrison on May 10, 2011:
Thanks for the information.
Bellajaj143@att.net on March 29, 2011:
All of these posts have helped but I still have a hard time knowing when to put my cat Bella to sleep. Her breathing is getting worse and she walks a few steps and lays down. I brought her to the vet yesterday and said she has either a tumor or leukemia. There is a large mass in her little 8lb body and being that she is 18yrs old there really isn't anything for them to do. The vet said to take her home to get used to the idea of having to put her to sleep and to take a few days to say goodbye. I have been crying since yesterday. How do you pick the day and time to put your loved pet to sleep? I know I'll be moving within the next year so if I bury her in yard now can I dig her up and bury her in new place? I was going to bury her in my friends back yard that has all her animals buried there but I want to be
near her so I can say visit everyday until her passing gets easier. I know today or tomorrow will be her last day and I'm having such a difficult time deciding on what to do. I live and rent in Connecticut in the country on 14acres of land. There are very pretty spots to bury her but she's never been outside so she dosent have a favorite place. She used to be a great hunter years ago until she brought a baby bunny home(it lived) and that was her last day outside. I could go on and on. What do I do???? She's like my child. This is so sad and so hard.
Ari on March 26, 2011:
We just buried our sweet beagle earlier this week. She struggled for the last two years with bladder cancer, ad slowly lost her will to live. She went into the vet 3 weeks ago with liver failure, and after three days of an IV flush returned home. Once she was home she refused to eat, and slowly began to fade. We had to make the tough decision to end her pain.
We decided to bury our sweet girl in our front yard next to our sidewalk. We live in the country and have a decent amount of land, so we are blessed to have the freedom of picking where she goes. It's a spot we can see from our front door, and can look out to see that she is always safe. We plan to plant a flower garden around her once the weather warms up a little. I know that for many having a pet buried so close might be a painful reminder or your loss, but for me it's nice to say to hello to her everyday on my way out the door. I just like knowing she is close to us.
Bill on March 10, 2011:
Blessings to all who share their stories. Most people who've posted here have either lost or about to say goodbye to their furry loved one. I empathize with you, as I've lost pets very suddenly and have helped a wonderful dog fight a terminal illness.
I gain a strong measure of comfort and kinship with you who have done your best for our pets who give their best to us. The emotional and monetary cost for caring for them is often astonishingly high, but it's absolutely worth it. I know many of us have endured the "you've got to be kidding!" looks and comments from non-pet owners who cannot fathom how we can devote so much time, energy, emotions and resources to our pets' proper care as well as decisions on where we lay them to rest.
And I may be at that point again. Maya, my 17-year-old Maine Coon cat, has developed feline fibrosarcoma. My vet believes it's operable, and she may be around for a few more years. However, he cautions that there's a 25-33 percent chance "My Girl" won't survive the procedure. I wish there was more time, but Maya has already lost nearly half of her weight and has difficulty eating.
As many of you know, surgical procedures are quite expensive. I've solicited advice from loved ones and friends and gave this up to God for guidance. From all of that, my heart tells me to do what's right for my baby girl, who's been with me from Mississippi to Italy to Texas and now to Maryland.
And, as this is the second pet I've had that has contracted cancer, I've developed an even keener hatred for this disease. To be frank, Cancer is an evil, ugly bitch and if I can have a chance to punch it in the face by having this surgery, I'm game.
OK, so it's cathartic for me. And yes, more than my desire for a striking back at something evil, I want what's best for Maya who's been a sweet, faithful companion for Don Gato (her 16-year-old "brother from another mother") And for me, especially when loved ones were too far away.
I am grateful God uses "small things" like our "furbabies" to teach us great truths about unconditional love and responsibility. And how to do the right thing, even when it's the hardest thing to do.
Blessings and the peace of Christ to all.
Briefmyth on February 20, 2011:
Tonight our cat Obama was hit by a car not a foot from my driveway. Some kid driving too fast was not paying attention and thus a member of my family is lost. I feel so alone without him here tonight, missing him curled against me asleep in bed, meowing when I move around like I distr=urbed his sleep! He was a gem, the perfect family cat. He was only a year old, died too young. I have been crying about it all day. I was able to order him a headstone from the internet for about 80 dollars, and tomorrow I will put him in a plastic box with some of his favorite things and bury him in the yard. Flowers and maybe a small tree will be planted in is honor. Obama did not deserve that fate. The car ran over his head, blood seeping all over the street. My heart is broken.
dan on February 15, 2011:
I am so scared, I know my dog is old and he has tumors. I dont know what to do when its his time, I love him more than anything, He is at the point where he is always confused, he wont eat, and I realize that he is 15 years old, he is not in pain, I just know that soon I will have to figure out what to do with him when he passes. I dont own land and I will not bury him in some random spot.
udee on January 21, 2011:
Thank you so much for this article. I buried my 21 year old cat Kaya yesterday. I was so torn on what was the RIGHT thing to do FOR ME. I didn't even think burial was an option since I'm not a home owner. My friend had a beautiful horse trail close to her home & I burried her in a field of beautiful green grass, trees & sunshine. Just where a kitty would want to be = ) I didn't have help.It was VERY difficult & wish someone was there to help me dig. The hard work did feel good though. The flowers made it all just perfect. Wasn't feelin so great about it until it was all done and the hole was covered with the bouquet of flowers. The grass, sun, trees and flowers were perfection !!! Wish I could attach a pic. So peaceful. I got a very very happy feeling and only at that moment knew it was the PERFECT place to lay her to rest and I'd done the right thing...for me = ) My condolences to everyone who lost their beloved pet...this burial thing really does feel good. Dont have to be a homeowner...get creative = )
dobo700 from Australia on January 07, 2011:
This is a nice post Isabella, thanks for writing it. I'm sorry for your loss.
Sherry on January 07, 2011:
Thanks you so much for all that you have wrote. This morning While I was taking my 5 yr old son to school I saw our beautiful Kat Zorro lying in the middle of the busy street right next to our house. Cars were straddling his little body and as we drove buy I took a big gasp and my son asked me what was wrong I had to tell him that nothing was wrong and finish taking him to school. After dropping my son off I rushed back to where I saw our little kitty and turned onto the nearest street and parked my car. I then rushed out into the middle of morning traffic to pick up my little kitty not worrying to much about myself being hit but everyone just went around. As I brought him to the side of the street I started screaming and crying hysterically. As i paced back and forth A woman stopped thinking I had just hit the cat myself she tried consoling me by saying don't worry its just a cat I yelled at her and told her it wasn't just a cat it was my cat and a few other choice words. ( I'm sorry to that woman she was just trying to help) I wrapped my little Zorro in a tee shirt that was in the back of my car and placed him in the trunk of my car, I then had to go home wake my husband and tell him the bad news, he then had to rush to work as he was already late leaving me to have to dig the hole and bury him before my son gets home from school. I'm not sure how to break it to my son but it has to be done.When I pulled him out of the trunk of my car to put him in the box I had for him he was kind of stiff so i had to put him in the hole really awkwardly when I went to pick up the box I had put him in the bottom of the box came undone and I almost dropped him, so I had to find another better box to put him in. I then dug the hole which was hard as it is cold out side and there were a lot of tree roots where I wanted to bury him it took me about an hour to dig the hole. I then said a prayer and thanked god for the short time we had together. See Zorro was a rescue kitty we found him on the side of the road in the middle of the country with a broken tale in the shape of a Z hence the name Zorro, His eyes were swollen shut from the upper respiratory infection he had. We had to nurse him back to health took about 3 weeks for him to start acting like a little kitty. he would just lay there and shake. At the time I was pregnant so he would lay on my big belly most of the day. We had had him for about 7 months before this morning. God rest his little soul he will be missed. Thank you for listening and god bless all of you and your little loved ones.
Jeff and Ranay on December 21, 2010:
This was a very nicely done Hub. I really appreciate the fact that you addressed the emotional aspects of loss and closure here. So many folks are unwilling to apply those concepts to pets. Judging by the other comments here you have touched on something that it is important and allowed people an outlet. Personally we have four of our beloved dogs in the front yard around a plum tree where we spent many hours lounging in the shade on summer days. They are home with us where they belong. Another option that we have chosen is private cremations with the remains returned to us. Of course there is a cost to this that some folks may not be able to carry. For all of the people who commented here on their losses, thank you for sharing. It is good to know that there are folks who care so deeply for their pets since they give us so much without expectations.
Trisha on December 09, 2010:
I will be putting my Cat to sleep this weekend. She is/was the best cat a family could ever ask for. She’s almost 21 years old. Her kidneys are shutting down now and she can’t get around like she use to. I want to lay her to rest under the tree that she used to lay under in our back yard and plant flowers this summer for her. This is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make, with Christmas coming and not seeing her lay under the Christmas tree is going to break my heart even more. But I don’t want her to suffer anymore. It is about her now and not me or the family. I was there the day she was born and now with putting her down. We love you kitty…peace be with you always.
Cari on December 06, 2010:
Janet. I'm so sorry for your loss. Remember that she does not feel the cold. She is in peace. Her spirit is with you because you love her. She is close to you whether she is buried or in an urn. If you feel strongly about putting her on the mantle, even if your husband spent a lot of time on making the grave, you should talk to him. He should understand. You might be able to find a Pet Cenetary/Crematorium or something that might still do it. Just talk to them. If they say they can still do it, do it if you make that final decision and go even if the place is far. But many people bury their pets in their yards. If you think you will move one day and relatives will not live there, you might take that into consideration with your decision. The urn you can take with you. I lost my Scrappy yesterday. A Chihuahua also. She was 5 yrs old. It was sudden. I saw her what appeared to be having a seizure when she had never had one before & she was breathing heavily. My 13 yr old son & I rushed her to the vet. I was running red lights (carefully of course), & praying the Our Father out loud. She was on his lap & he was petting her & trying to calm her down. We rushed her in and they rushed & quickly put a tube for breathing because they said she was not breathing. They told me they had also given her a shot for her heart to help it pump. But they told me she came in with no pulse & not breathing. She apparently passed away on my son's lap. It only took us 2 minutes to get there. The vet does not have an answer except that maybe she hit her head or maybe she had a heart condition or a brain tumor we didn't know about, both of which could cause this. She was very healthy & we thought she would be with us for many years. We have other little dogs....Her mother, sister, & her son, but it doesn't make it easier at all. When they greeted me this morning, I was reminded how she will always be missing from the pack, but she is here in spirit. I will never hear her special, distinctive bark or get her sweet kisses. She didn't like the cold either & that crossed my mind also when we decided to bury her, but I remind myself that she cannot feel it. That is our instinct to protect them. My son wanted to have her buried in our yard next to her sister that was stillborn & have her by where the other dogs will be running around. The vet told us it was illegal to bury pets in the yard (Miami) so I lied & said we were taking her to the pet cemetary. We own our property & I expect to live here probably the rest of my life & pass down my home or rent it out if I moved, but if I have to sell it & move, I'd probably exhume the shoe box & bury her in my new back yard. She is in a sealed plastic bag & we sealed the showbox. It is so hard to write this....But I have to be strong for my son. I haven't let him see me cry..I don't want him to feel any further hurt.....& my boyfriend of 9 yrs who lived here since she was born. She was his baby also & was heartbroken & cried when I had to call him at work to tell him what happened. She used to sleep with us under the covers. She was our princess. I find comfort in knowing that she is close & my son finds comfort in that also. I'm sure an urn would have given us comfort as well, but it's what my son wanted. He finds comfort also in knowing that even when she was passing he was petting her & I was speaking to her in a comforting way & putting my hand on her while rushing to the vet. To everyone: give your beloved pets lots of love, hugs, & kisses, as we did, because you never know what's going to happen. You could think they will be with you for many years & then God wants them to be an angel, because that's what they are. They must be angels & there must be a Heaven for them. She liked walking right behind me to stoke my long hair on her back. She would walk back & forth. So unique she was. My heart is in pain. She is an angel in heaven & always be with us in our hearts. I thank God for at least the little time were were graced by her love. We will be together again. We love you Scrappy, forever. Thank you for the love you showed us.
Isabella Snow (author) on December 04, 2010:
I'm sorry for everyone's loss. It gets easier over time, though I'm not sure it ever actually gets better.
Janet, I believe that spirit is always nearby and your cat knows of your grief and conflicted feelings. I would imagine she has no problem with her resting place, and as you know she cannot feel the elements, whatever they may be. I would also imagine she wants you to feel good, not bad. Try this: meditate in a quiet place and talk to her. Tell her what you've said here. Ask her if she's ok with her resting place -- I think you may hear the answer you need if you try this.
shilohmein on December 04, 2010:
We are very sad to annouce that Milton passed away tonight. You will be glad to know he passed in the warmth of our home, and in our hearts. He received love and affection up until the time he passed. Time just caught up with him and he could not outrun it. We will love you always Milton.
May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face. And rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand. May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live. Always remember to forget the things that made you sad. But never forget to remember the things that made you glad. You were a good kitty, always. You will be missed. He will be buried in CA wine country, somewhere beautiful, as he was.
Janet on November 09, 2010:
My little chihuahua had a tumor in her bladder. I buried her after bringing her home from the vet and carrying her around crying for a day. It took my husband two days to dig the hole. Every time I look outside in the garden I wish I had brought her back to the vet to get cremated so I could put her on the mantle. I feel so bad because she didn't like to go outside in the rain or be cold. I can't dig her up and take her to the vet for cremation now as my husband spent so long digging. I look out the window and cry and cry. I know her spirit isn't there but I can't help not liking the idea of her buried. Can someone say anything to make me feel better? Her beds and toys are everywhere. I have been crying for so long now. I can't stand knowing she is underground. Winter is coming. She didn't like winter. I am so sad.
Nadia on October 15, 2010:
I have to say goodbye to my 7 year old Yorkie.
His name is Gigi. I love him so very much and it hurts so
bad to have to say good bye. I cannot bear the thought of
leaving him at the Vet's office. I am going to bury him at
home underneath my Miniature Lilac..my best friend sleeping under my favourite tree. I can't bear this pain.
Hansel on October 05, 2010:
It's funney how at times it feels like life will go on forever, yet there are always things that seem to mark a point where you understand it does not. This is one of those times, in that my friend, in fact unmistakenly my best friend, is in the throws of his final hours. Hansel has begun his journey to return home. He has over the last couple weeks gotten weaker and has been sleeping more than usuall. His condition has progressed to the point where he has no appitite and wont even look at his snicky snacks..... The doctor that examined him tried a couple things that ultamatly did nothing for him. Laurie and I decided that since he appears to not be in any pain and that unless something changes we are willing to let him pass in the only home he ever knew. So many of you that have come to the house had the opportunity to get to know him, he always had something to say, and normally always would talk back to you if you spoke to him.
Though there are signs of him throughout this old house, it was his energy that help make it a home. From catching mice,playing with shoestrings to staying with me when I was sick, or just laying in bed with me on a Sunday morning sprawled out like it was his bed, it has always been easy to see that his home and his humans were his first priority. I could go on forever to talk of my wonderful friend, or my "wing man" as I so often referred to him. But right now I just want to ask everone to say a prayer for him. For how different would this world be without the teachings of unconditional love that we so often receive from the animals that grace this planit with us.
Scott on October 02, 2010:
It is with a heavy heart that Oliver, my 14 year old cat will be put to final rest after battling kidney failure.
9 years ago I rescued her after she was abandoned by previous owners after they moved. They left behind 4 cats and 2 dogs who showed behavioral signs of abuse.
Their neglect proved to be my blessing and our lives together have been immeasurably blessed as a result.
I will bury her here at home. God bless all who love and care for animals.
Isobel on October 02, 2010:
It's so sad to read of people's heartbreak at losing their much-loved pets but it's good that people really do love their pets so much, as indeed I do mine. My husband and I have had cats for over 30 years and when one dies it's always as heartbreaking as all the other times. You never get used to it, because each pet is unique and you know how much you're going to miss them. Time does heal, though - I think it's important to say that to those who are going through a bad time now; you will get another pet and you will love it too. Thank goodness this is so, because it helps you and it helps the new pet who has found owners who know how to love.
We're in the somewhat different position at the minute of having to bury a stray cat who had visited us last year, but then disappeared. He turned up again yesterday but obviously very, very ill. My husband took him to the vet, turned out he was in the end stage of kidney failure and the vet advised putting him to sleep as the disease was terminal. We agreed - very reluctantly and with a heavy heart - but we knew it would be wrong to try to prolong his life if it really meant prolonging his suffering. So now we are going to bury his body in our back garden, where the bodies of some of our other cats are buried. I feel almost as bad as I did when our own cats died, because he was such a lovely little cat and we thought if the vet could have treated him we would do our best to keep him. It was obvious from the state of his coat and the seriousness of his illness that he had no one else to look after him. But sadly it wasn't to be - I can only hope there is an afterlife for cats and he's finally happy and healthy somewhere else.
Alistair on September 20, 2010:
Oh heck, thsnks for all these messages which have given me so much confort. My trusted best pal of 20 years, Murphy, passed away peacefully on his bed last night.
As I wipe away the tears in between typing a few words, I am looking forward to my two sons coming over this afternoon to give him a beautiful, dignified burial in my garden - on the spot I have been chasing him off for years!!
Oh am I so going to miss him, the most loveable, loyal rouge in the world....
Sam on September 19, 2010:
My best fluffy friend, buddy of 8 years has just been diganosed with an 4cm tumor on his spleen. The specialist vet says there is a huge chance he has cancer in his liver and lymps. He started fitting 3 weeks ago and has aged 5 years since then. He may only live 9 weeks at best. The idea of seeing him suffer as he gets sicker make me more upset than losing him. I have been thinking of what we will do when the time comes and what would be best for my kids. I think the kids would be upset if we got his ashes back, the back yard seems easier to explain. I am worried about how quickly he will go stiff. Can I make it home from the vet? I am so sad for all the people who made previous comments as I know what you are going through.
Lola on September 16, 2010:
thanks for all this. I'm putting my 20-year cat down tomorrow. I've been trying to decide what to do with her remains. No yard to bury her in (and who knows who's ashes you get back?). I would like to bury her but don't have a lot of options. I'll figure it out. Never had to do this before. She's had a good life, and it's it's time to help her to pass peacefully, so she can rest and not be hurting. Thank you. Her name is Calliope (Kah Lie' o pee') Glad to read the lime idea, makes sense.
David on September 14, 2010:
Thank you for this article. I have a wonderful and healthy kitty cat (her name is Petunia), but having owned pets before, I shudder to think of just leaving her at the vets some day. I always thought that when the time comes (hopefully a long time from now!), she'd want to be in her favorite, favorite, place- the cool woods behind the house.
Nana on September 09, 2010:
I have buried two beloved cats; Cuddles, age 15, is buried in my Mom's backyard near her flowers. I placed a marker on her grave and plant flowers every spring. My second cat, "Mora', age 20, is buried underneath my bedroom window so I can feel her presence every night when I go to bed. She use to always sleep next to me while she was alive and now she is only a few yards away. When you deeply love a pet, they always have a piece of your heart even in death.
taty96 from Ecuador on September 08, 2010:
Nice article. I´m sorry for your loss. I´ve lost two dogs, hamsters, rabbits, chickens and fishes and believe me it´s never easy to say goodbye to a beloved pet. What helped me a lot after losing my second dog, was to get her picture on a frame.
donkeymailer on August 21, 2010:
kristine on August 17, 2010:
I just put my 15 year old cat, Molly down an hour ago. The vet and tech came to my house to do it. We are all heart broken. We plan on burying her at the cottage tomorrow. My daughters will paint and varnish a large river rock to place on the grave. Molly was such an awesome cat. I will never forget her.
Lisa on August 14, 2010:
Thank you for this..I had to put my ReAnna Lynn down last night..She was 17 yrs old. I loved her so. We live in the woods and I will bury her today.
Thank you for the article
Danny on August 09, 2010:
i wrote this yesterday.. "R.I.P. LUCKY. ? 8/7/10
before i left to NY, i wanted to say bye to you, i called for you but you didn't come out, i stupidly left..i knew you would have to go soon, i didn't expect it to happen today... i jinx it by saying no you wouldn't leave me when i was gone... i was expecting to come back to see you today.. but then i get a call from simon while on the bus ride home.. saying that you died..it didn't hit me til a few mins later and i was in tears.. i held it in and tryed to get my mind off it, it took a while but i got it off my mind..i left my friends and i got in the train by myself thinking about it.. i got to wollaston and started walking home... as i got closer to my house, i reminisce on how i would walk you around here..and how the last 2 walks with you walking half an mph haha... as i got to street.. i realized .. i wont ever get to see you run towards me ever time i come home or ever hear you bark at night anymore... and i began to bawl my eyes out... why did i have to be gone when this happen? i wanted to be by your side and see you one more time before you left me..i love and miss you lucky. your were the best dog ever.
Lily on August 06, 2010:
I lost my beautiful baby girl Misty to a tragic accident on Wednesday. My mum found her in one of our rainwater collection tubs...
I was devestated. It's been three days and I'm still crying. She was only four years old and it was so sudden. I miss her so much and I feel so guilty because I feel like there must have been something I could have done. My poor baby must have tried so hard to save herself, there are claw-marks all inside the tub. It's just aweful to know that she suffered... She was such a good cat. She didn't deserve to go this way.
My mum found her, and buried her before I got home from work, but she's put her under the lawn... I really want to move her though because I can't stand the thought of people trampling over her :'( Am I a bad person for wanting to do this?
I miss my little pickle so much. I just want her to be at peace after passing away so tragically. I love you pickle xxx
Katerina on July 20, 2010:
I had to lay my beloved cat Edward to rest last night. It was soooo hard. He was 17 1/2 years old and the BEST kittie anyone could ever ask for. He would always put his arms around my neck and kiss my ears, boy am I going to miss his snuggles. He started getting fluid in his lungs and after testing they found he had cancer and was not able to be helped. I know I did the right thing, but it was still very hard. I brought his body home with me for the 1 1/2 drive (very hard) and cried the whole time. When I got home I hugged him, kissed him and told him I would love him forever. We are going to bury him here on our country property in a casket my husband is making. I think it's going to be nice to visit him anytime. I felt the same way about leaving his body at the vets. I needed to take him home. Now I'm just sad and healing. R.I.P. Eddie Monkeyface. You will always be in my heart. xo
Anonymous on July 17, 2010:
My cat passed on today sadly.. Came home from work to find her stiff on the bathroom floor where she was laying on some blankets in the morning. It's totally torn me up.. she was me best friend, always. I guess she's in a better place now as shes no longer in any pain.. She lived a happy 21 years.. so she had a great life. Plan to bury her in the yard tomorrow regardless what the laws are about it. Just wanted to share my story.. Thanks for the advice in the article! Definitely helped me. R.i.p Zelda, you'll be greatly missed!
Peter Park on July 17, 2010:
My pet dog died from liver and kidney infections yesterday morning, and since his death occurred so suddenly, we were all devastated and confused as how to handle aftermath. The problem was that there aren't crematories for pets where we reside. So, we called funeral service agent (who handles all the necessary arrangements) for a small fee, and we were able to cremate him within a few hours. Our dog died in early morning, so we have to kept him in one of our rooms with air-condition on until the agent came over with a casket. Then, we followed him to bid our last farewell. Since we didn't have any areas to bury him, we thought the best option would be cremate him and spread ashes into ocean (we live on an island). We know that some people can't afford it, but this would save your time so that you may spend more time comforting each other and you would feel a bit better at giving your lovely pet a proper funeral. Therefore, we suggest hiring an agent if there is such service in your area.
All Dogs/Cats Go To Heaven
susan on July 14, 2010:
I buried my 18 year old chihuhua on Friday. He was my other son and was with my other three while growing up. I miss him sooooo much. My condolensences to all in my position and I just wish my chaquitta was here. He was blind mostly and deaf but he still had quality of life until Friday when a whole appeared on his head and started bleeding. We had done dental as well as give him his usual meds. for congestive heart failure,epelipsey and other ailments. Fortunately we live on a border town or we would not have been able to aford the $300.00 a month meds on Canada side. People can say what they want for American Health care but with out it our beloved pet would have cost a 1000 a month---Thank-you America for giving my chihuhua an extra long life. It's been 5 long days and I miss him so. Love your pets as you don't know when the next time you'll be able to do so. Rest in peace my baby chaquitta. momma-bear
Tammy on July 02, 2010:
We lost our awesome pet rabbit Oreo this week. Just wanted you to know your article helped us in a time of great sadness. We buried her in our backyard, under a tree. Our kids helped dig the hole and made a nice card for her which we put inside the box before we buried her. It was very hard on all of us, but as you said the physical effort of digging seemed appropriate and we needed the closure. We have marked her grave with two homemade headstones and will be able to visit her every day if we want. Thanks again.
Heidi on June 28, 2010:
Thank you for all of the information. I just buried my 14 year old kitty in the yard tonight, but I'm not sure I dug the hole deep enough. How deep does the hole need to be? Richard, above, said he planned to dig 4 1/2 feet deep. My cat is in a cardboard box that the vet provided. I read the post about adding lime. Should I dig up the hole and add lime? I live in an arid climate and the soil is not very organic. It's summertime and it's starting to get hot. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you!
Tonya on June 26, 2010:
Thank you for your story. I felt bad about being hysterical at the vet when my best friend of ten years was being put down just two days ago. I wished I could have been stronger for him. I, too, was numb on the way home and now cry in uncontrolable bursts. Your story comforted me to know that I am not alone.
Andrew on June 01, 2010:
I have a springer with cancer she was 8 today I have to con sider having her put to sleep as the cancer has won the battle I have never had to do this before it's something I have to I am so broken hearted but ......
Kristina on May 30, 2010:
I just found my cat, Honda, dead in the street. He has been an outside cat for years. I live in a quiet neighborhood and my neighbors know who he is. It looked like someone in a car ran him down to hit him. Honda always moved when cars where driving in the street. Its like he knew to look before crossing the street and everything. We just got done burying him in the yard and I am still in shock someone would do that to my Honda. I already miss him and can't stop thinking about him.
Mel on May 27, 2010:
Yeah, we have to bury our kitty tonight and it makes me sad but I know it's his time to go. I've been crying on and off. I came home and found him stiff from rigor mortis. So it's hard but he lived a good 9 to 10 years. I still remember writing about him in elementary school project about our favorite pet.