Archives for Grief category

Pet Burial Vs Cremation – Pros and Cons

By Monica Phillips

The death of a family pet is an event that brings with it a special sorrow. Making this mournful period even more stressful is that fact that the owner is immediately faced with the decision of what to do with the remains of the loyal friend. While a pet cemetery can be a viable option, costs can range from $500 with a simple plastic casket and stone marker or more elaborate burial packages of $2000 or more, which may not be within the budget of most pet owners. A veterinarian’s office can dispose of the remains for a nominal cost but such a choice may seem cold hearted. For most people, a simple backyard burial or cremation remain the only viable alternatives, but which one is the best choice?


PROS – Given the necessity to quickly provide a final resting place for a treasured pet, burial on or near the owner’s property is the most popular choice made by pet owners.

Not only is this method relatively inexpensive, but it can also provide the grieving owner with comforting closure in knowing that the pet has received a final resting place near their home. The addition of a memorial stone, engraved marker, or wind chime on or near the pet’s grave adds a lasting remembrance and memorial to the beloved pet.

CONS – Unless you live in a rural area, local city laws and/or home associations may limit or even bar pet burials on an owner’s property. Even if burial is allowed, special care must be taken, not only to prepare a hole deep enough to discourage scavengers, but also in cases of large pets, to use a proper container so as to prevent a depression in the grave once decomposition begins.


PROS – When the cremation option is chosen, the grieving owner is spared the grief of handling the remains, checking the local laws regarding pet burial, and digging the plot. (This would be a particular advantage during the winter months.) Most veterinarians will be able to either handle the cremations themselves or make arrangements to have the procedure performed elsewhere. The ashes can either be kept in an urn next to a framed picture of the beloved pet or scattered in a yard that the animal loved to play in. If so desired, a small portion of the ashes can even be put into a tasteful piece of memorial cremation jewelry.

CONS – Depending on the size of the animal, the costs of “Private” pet cremation (one pet only, rather than communal) may range from $75.00 to $400.00, depending on the size of the animal. Some crematories may charge extra fees for services performed after hours and on weekends. There may also be some laws in the owner’s town that may limit the scattering of the ashes.

The choice between a yard burial and cremation is not an easy one for a pet owner to make. While the factors of cost and convenience should be considered, ultimately it will be the heart of the pet owner which will decide upon the final resting place for their lost companion.

For additional information on pet memorials, contact Heart to Heart Sympathy Gifts, an online sympathy and memorial gift store that offers gifts of remembrance.

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Feb 05, 2012 | 0 | Grief, Losing Your Dog

Dealing With Pet Grief

By Kelly Marshall

Dogs come into your life, provide companionship, and for many people become a very close friend. Years of romping in the grass, fetching sticks and warming your feet are great, but at some point in time, you are very likely to lose your pet to old age. The typical life span for dogs ranges between 12 to 18 years depending upon the breed in question. When the time comes, dealing with the death of your pet can be very difficult and if you have children, it can be even harder.

Normal Grief

People who do not own pets may not understand your grief, but that does not mean that your grief is unnatural or something to be ashamed of. Feeling pain and loss when a dog dies is natural and has the same stages of grief that you would experience when losing a loved one. Just know you are not crazy or silly to feel pain and grief.

Pet Grief

As stated earlier grief over the loss of a pet is similar to typical grief, the stages are a bit different however. Below are a few of the different feelings you may experience after losing a pet:

  • Guilt – pet owners often blame themselves for a pet’s death, running over in their mind what they could have done to prevent it. This is especially true when the death is the result of an accident.
  • Denial – it will be difficult to imagine that your pet will no longer be there to greet you when you get home from work. This can become extreme and some owners find it hard to accept a new dog out of fear of being disloyal.
  • Depression – grief can lead to depression and can leave you tired and lacking of motivation.
  • Anger – there will be plenty of opportunities to be angry, toward the illness, the driver of the car or even your veterinarian who was unable to cure or save your dog.


It is natural for you to experience these feelings; however it is important that you work through these feelings so you can move on.

You will need an outlet for your feelings because bottling them up inside will only make matters worse. Do not try to hide your emotions or deny feelings of guilt, anger or depression. Expression is your road to healing. There are many ways you can express grief, write poems, talk with friends, cry, scream or even pound the floor but get the frustration out of your system.


For the true pet lover the death of a dog is devastating and it can be difficult to explain these feelings to those who are not similar lovers of furry creatures. Remember that these feelings are normal and you have the right to process your grief. If you have children, remember to be understanding, as they will experience the same grief that you will. It is probably not a good idea to try to replace the pet immediately your child may have a hard time bonding with the new pet because of feelings of guilt.

Find hundreds more articles like this at Oh My Dog Supplies – where you can unique dog supplies like affordable dog clothes, dog feeders, and more cool dog gear that you’ll never find at your local pet store.

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Jun 20, 2011 | 0 | Grief

How to Handle the Loss of a Beloved Dog

By Myra Friedman

I find it very difficult to even begin this article but I will first tell you how it came about. I have a dear friend, Kathy, who moved away to New Hampshire some years ago. I spoke to her last night after not being in touch for a long time. During our conversation she asked me about my beloved Bichon “Buffy” and I had to tell her Buffy passed away about 6 months ago at age 13. She had also lost her cat “Fallon” of 15 years so we consoled each other and spent several minutes recalling happy times in the past with our pets. We both are animal people and could not see our lives without a pet. She has another cat and I shall not embarrass myself by saying how many dogs I have.

Buffy was very special and I loved her dearly, but I do not love my other dogs less or feel guilty because she is gone. She lived a long and happy life and I could only wish the same for my other pets. When people lose a pet there is definitely a void created by the loss of companionship and comfort it provided in this otherwise stressful world. They often feel guilty getting another dog as if it was replacing the one that died. This is the part I cannot understand. If their owner died the dog would adapt to a new owner. People should not deny themselves the pleasures of pet ownership out of some misplaced allegiance to the one who passed away. The pet that passed will always have a special place in their heart, as Buffy has in mine, but these wonderful people should realize it’s a blessing to give another dog such a wonderful life.

People who get divorced or lose a spouse re-marry. Everyone has a right to be happy. Many people delude themselves into thinking that if something happened to them their dog would just wither away and die. Sadly, that is far from the truth. As a person who boards dogs and spends a lot of time with other people’s pets, I know first hand; most dogs may take as little as a week or as much as a month to readjust but the vast majority of them do.

I have a dog boarding with me now that is 10 years old. She has been here for a month and she is as happy as a clam. She enjoys the company of the other dogs (has no other dogs in her real home), she loves the daily brushing (which I don’t think she gets at home) and follows me all over and kisses me up. Most dogs that are forced to change homes, adjust quickly if the new people are good to them.

The people who come to me, often to “just look” usually leave with a new baby and are so happy they did. My feeling is, take some time to grieve if you feel you need it but give a home to a new baby who needs you. It will make you both happy.

Myra Friedman has been a breeder and exhibitor of top quality Bichon Frise, Yorkshire Terrier (Yorkie), Havanese & Maltese puppies since 1974. All of her “babies” are bred to conform to the standard for the breed, temperament tested, registered and any one would make an ideal home companion. Much more information as well as a look at the puppies she now has for sale can be found on her website

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Aug 05, 2010 | 0 | Grief

Mourning the Loss of Your Canine, and Dealing With Grief

By Perry Ahlgrimm

Many dog owners will agree that their canine is considered to be a part of their family. To lose a member of your family, canine or otherwise, is heartbreaking experience. Of course, with all living things, it is an inevitability. Most working breeds such as the German Shepherd, Dutch Shepherd or Belgian Malinois will usually live between 10-12 years. Considering that the life expectancy of a medium sized dog is only about a tenth of our own, many dog owners will have already experienced this grief in the past. However, the loss of a canine in your household can be an especially difficult experience for your children. Harder still, is when the loss of a canine comes unexpectedly, such as the case of a police officer in a K9 unit who’s protection dog is killed in the line of duty.

Many people, possibly even yourself, may be shocked or confused by the level of grief that one can experience over the loss of a canine. Many people have the unfortunate mindset that if the loss was not that of a human, there is no reason to grieve. However, the emotional attachments one can feel towards their canine companions can be very strong. Often, the very things that make your dog different from a human are what make them so endearing. Dog owners are blessed with the unwavering loyalty and dedication of their canines. Owners of protection dogs, guard dogs or security dogs may also dread the thought of losing the sense of security that their canine offers themselves and their family. The most important thing to remember is that grieving over the loss of a canine is both normal and appropriate.

Considering the emotional attachments you feel towards your canine may not be much different than what you feel towards human members of your family, healthy grief over the loss of a canine may not be much different than grieving over a human. However, there are still a number of factors unique to the loss of a canine that must be considered. First and foremost is the idea of having a pet “put down”. No one would ever want to make the decision to have the plug pulled on a human being, but many dog owners are forced to make this decision with their canine. To make the decision to end a life to relieve suffering is no easy task, but once the decision is made, no amount of guilt or regret can undo what has been done. Another difficulty is choosing whether or not to hold a memorial or funeral for your canine. This is made especially difficult by those who may undervalue your loss due to the perception that canine life is not as important or as worthwhile as human life. The most important thing is to do what you feel is right. If a funeral will help you mourn the loss of your canine, then one should be held. Likewise, a funeral or memorial may be a good opportunity for your children to say goodbye, and may help them with their own mourning. Finally, one must decide when and if they will get a new dog. After the loss of a canine, it is usually best to allow yourself time to grieve before getting a new dog. Canines are unique in their personalities and abilities, and cannot simply be replaced. However, if your canine happened to be a working dog, such as a guide dog or protection dog, it may be in your best interests to purchase a new one sooner rather than later. While it may be difficult to accept a new canine so soon after your loss, the benefits of canine protection may not be something you want you and your family to be without.

Perry Ahlgrimm, CEO
Command Control K9 Ltd
1.866.865.2259 (CCK9)

We provide elite, executive personal protection dogs and guard dogs for Family home state security. We specialize in German shepherds, Belgian malinois and Dutch shepherds.

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Jan 03, 2010 | 1 | Grief

Pet Cemeteries Versus Backyard Burials

By Colleen Mihelich

Deciding where to bury your pet is just one of the difficult decisions you will need to make after losing your dear friend. From determining how elaborate a service to hold to where to bury your pet to just dealing with the grief of the loss, making so many decisions can be absolutely overwhelming.

Some prefer a more formal scenario and opt to bury their pet in a pet cemetery, replete with pet memorial stone. Others want something more organic and natural and simply decide to dig a hole in their backyard, where they can bury their pet. Either choice is fine – whatever feels most appropriate for you – but both have different points to consider.

There are pros and cons to each, depending first on the proximity preferred for the pet’s remains. The main benefit to a backyard burial versus using the services of a pet cemetery is the fact that you can visit your pet anytime, day or night. The ability to just walk into your back yard and spend quiet time at your friend’s grave serves as a real comfort when still reeling from your loss. Moreover, you can put accessories, such as a pet’s favorite toy or candle, by the gravesite whenever you feel like doing something extra to memorialize your pet.

However, it’s hard to match the professional service of a pet cemetery, which will not only take the reins in helping you get the service planned and executed, but also will take charge of the burial process, which can be a relief to pet owners who are still dealing with their pain over the loss. Dealing with all of these details is often times just too much to handle.

Pet cemeteries are also expertly maintained, which means that you don’t have to worry about accidentally mowing the lawn right over your pet’s gravesite or dealing with animals digging up the remains of your pet because you weren’t able to bury him or her deep enough. A pet cemetery takes care of all of these particulars and ensures that the proper burial protocol is followed, including placement of the pet memorial stone.

Cost is also a consideration as it costs virtually nothing to bury in your pet in your backyard (just the cost of a pet memorial stone), while it can be fairly expensive to utilize the services of a pet cemetery. This is certainly something to consider if cost is a factor in how elaborate your pet memorial service will be.

The main goal of a pet burial is to find a way to say goodbye, share the cherished memories developed with your pet over time and to give your friend just the right final resting place. That said, whichever method of burial you choose, however elaborate the pet memorial service, whichever type of pet headstone you choose,and whatever steps you take to memorialize your pet are decisions to think through carefully. Whatever helps you to get through your grief and honor the memory of your pet, then that is the route you should take as you come to terms with the pain losing your dear friend.

Colleen Mihelich
Owner, Peternity… honoring your pet for eternity

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Jan 02, 2010 | 0 | Grief, Older dogs

Dealing With the Death of a Pet

By Tom Klos

When the time comes for a pet to pass away, many people are jolted by just how much it hurts to let go. Over the years our pets grow in our hearts to the point of becoming part of our family. This is very natural. They are almost like our little children. Pets are dependent on us for their food, shelter and health. They offer countless of moments of pleasure and joy through interaction with our family. Sometimes we don’t even realize how attached we become to our pets. So when they pass away in death, it can hurt as if a human member of our family or dear friend passed away.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the grief is real and normal. Give yourself time to cope with the passing. Take some time off. Reflect on life and the most important things. Don’t deny your pain. But even before that, you will want to deal with the remains of your pet in the most dignified way possible. This will give you a sense of peace in that you said good-bye in the proper manner. One of the best ways to do this is through a professional pet funeral service. They can help you with some of the most important decisions you’ll make, such as, deciding between burial or cremation. If your pet is terminally ill, you may wish to discuss euthanasia with them. Euthanasia is assisted death, or putting to sleep, and is the most humane way to allow your pet to go in a peaceful way. Don’t be afraid to ask a pet funeral expert questions. They also have resources to help people with the grieving process.

Remember, it is normal to grieve after the loss of a loved pet. Give yourself time and treat your pet’s death in a dignified way. The time you spent together can never be taken away from you. And no matter how long your pet was with you, surely by being there your life has been enriched forever.

Visit Pets At Peace, a pet funeral service that helps grieving families let go of their pets in a dignified way. Ask about options such as pet cremation and pet euthanasia.

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Oct 27, 2009 | 0 | Grief

Dealing With the Loss of a Dog Or Cat

By David Beart

Dealing with the loss of a pet is a traumatic experience that can cause a deep and grave sense of loss and grieving for adults and children alike. Although most adults realize that they will long outlive their beloved dog or cat; children do not! Young children, who have pets whether they are a fish, pony, cat, dog or lizard see and feel them as part of the family, part of their life. When they die the rock solid foundation of family is shaken at the roots for a child. Why? Because for most kids until this happens they do not realize that death is a fact a life Even worse, children are not equipped to deal with the permanence of death and it can give birth to a great deal of fear and insecurity in their life. Suddenly they are worried about their parents, siblings and extended family dying. They are fearful to leave another pet at home while at school and wonder if dying could happen to them. When you are dealing with the loss of a pet it is imperative that it be dealt with compassionately and completely to ensure that your child can grieve and release all the fears and sadness that they feel.

Many people try to hide the death from their children. For a very young child this may work. Although telling them that their dog has run away or is lost can in actuality hurt them even more and for much longer. When a pet dies, being honest is probably best. This way the child has a sense of closure and knowing and can deal with the truth of the matter. It is also important to allow the child to talk about their feelings. Have them draw a picture for their pet, say a prayer or somehow memorialize the life in a way that makes them feel special. Another thing to recognize is that certainly at some point you have scolded your child for not taking care of Fido or not leaving water. In your efforts to teach them responsibility for their pet parents unwittingly make it plausible for a child to blame themselves. They will remember that they forgot to leave water or food out and think that somehow they are to blame for the passing of their pet. They will also realize that there were probably many days where they didn’t have time to play with or pay attention to their pet which will result in them feeling guilty. It is very important to discuss these aspects of pet loss with your children and ease any fears or regrets that they may have. Children need to realize that the death of their pet is not their fault.

Lots of children will react in the immediate moment with a sense of disconnect. Some may not cry or seem upset at all. Others will fall to pieces right before your eyes. Regardless of how a child acts; they should be treated the same. They should be allowed to act out their feelings one way or the other. If they seem unphased then play along with them. Some children will surprise you with their ability to remain matter of factly. Sometimes these children will only feel the loss several weeks or months later. If they are hysterical, comfort them and hold them but do not force them to stop. Basically as a parent it is important to take your cues from the child. At the same time understand that there are probably a lot of other thoughts going on in their head and although they may not voice them; they are certain to disrupt their normal behavior. Staying on the lookout and trying to remain attentive to things they say and do that might be related to the death will help you to ease them through dealing with the loss of a pet.

The other aspect touched on earlier is that often dealing with the loss of a pet is the first experience many children will have with death. They may become clingy or even revert to some younger childhood antics because deep down they are afraid that you may die as well. This is absolutely normal for children. Children may live in denial, show signs of depression and seem to lose interest in other things for a while. All of this is a routine part of the grieving process. Children will feel guilt, wish they had a chance to say good bye and feel like they are being punished. Consider the way your pet died as well. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the death a child may have very different reactions. Whether they find a pet hit by a car or know that their little friend has been sick for a while – the child needs to know that the pet is no longer in pain. Describe your version of Heaven to your child and ensure them that their pet is there. Make sure they know that it is okay to still love and think about their pet as often as they life and that just because the animal has passed away does not mean that the pet no longer exists.

Many parents desperate to fix things will rush out and get a replacement pet. This is something that truly should be the child’s choice. The thought of loving again may frighten a child and parents should try to wait until the child is ready to accept another animal into their heart.

Dealing with the loss of a pet is hard for everyone. Children become deeply connected to their animals and consider them friends. Unfortunately so many of the animals that parents get for children like hamsters, goldfish, rabbits or gerbils have short life spans which eventually means they will have to deal with the loss of their pet. Whatever you do; never behave like the pet was just an animal. Allow the child to bury their pet if they wish and make sure that the death is formalized in any manner they see fit. Otherwise, they will hold regrets for the rest of their life. This will entitle the child to ownership of the pet and allow them to gain closure and eventually acceptance. Depending on your spiritual beliefs it can be a good time to speak of your faith and use spiritual resources to put your child’s mind at ease.

One of the beautiful things about a child is that they see all creatures as equals to them. They easily talk to dogs and the bird flying overhead and they feel absolutely understood by the animals around them. Your child has probably had many conversations with their pet and some share more with their favorite dog than they do their parents. The human bond between man and animal is extremely tight and children are no exception. Parents need to be very careful to not underestimate the relationship their child had with their animal and should always feel comfortable referring to the animal as a friend and family member. As the grieving period begins to close and a child comes in touch with just how permanent death is they will undoubtedly grow up some. Dealing with the loss of a pet can be the first indicator of just how sensitive, soulful and compassionate your child really is.

David Beart is the owner of the PetYak. Our site covers pet related topics ranging from cats to dog information, birds and fish.


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Jul 01, 2009 | 0 | Grief