How to hold a pet funeral
Dearly beloved: We are gathered here today to bury our dearest companions, be they furred or scaled. Let us ensure their burial is conducted with grace, respect and correct procedure. Here’s a mooky guide on how to bury your pet and hold a pet funeral.
Dearly beloved: We are gathered here today to learn how to hold a funeral for your most beloved pets. After a long and happy life as your dearest companions, your furriest (or scaliest) soul-mate… their time has come to say goodbye. Now we join together to remember our pets and rejoice in all the times we had with them. May we soon be able to think fondly on all the happy memories we have of them, rather than dwelling on their unfortunate demise.
As hard as it is to lose a much loved pet there comes a time when you must think about practical arrangements. Basically – what are you going to do with the body? Okay, maybe you don’t want to think about it, but you’re going to have to. Here below are some things to think about when arranging a fitting farewell for your pet.
Most pet burials take place in the back garden. In the UK it is legal to bury a pet in the back garden of its dwelling so long as it does not come under the category of hazardous waste. If in doubt contact your local authorities to check. If you do not have a garden or simply don’t want to bury Fluffy there, there are pet cemeteries which specialise in funerals for pets. These places aren’t exactly common though, but for a fee they will bury your pet there and even help you hold a memorial service.
Sorry, but this has to be discussed. I’ll try to make it as quick and painless as possible. Smaller pets (such as Fish, Guinea Pigs and Chihuahuas) can easily be buried as they are. They’re fairly manageable. But larger animals such as Great Danes and pet Unicorns will be trickier to deal with. You can get your pets cremated at most Veterinary surgeries or at special pet crematories. You can then scatter (or bury) their ashes. The last option is by far the creepiest, but whatever helps you get over your grief is fine by me. If you cannot bear to part with your pet, you could always get it stuffed by a taxidermist, thus keeping an old and noble profession alive. Imagine that – Fluffy stuffed and sitting proudly on your mantle-piece, her glassy eyes staring at you. Creepy.
Burial vs. Cremation:
Burial is your best option for small pets. What the point in burning your fish? It’s much simpler to bury it in a cute little cardboard coffin you made especially for the occasion.
If you strongly wish to bury your cat or dog in your personal garden, and it is not illegal, then you must dig a hole 3 feet deep (cat) or 4 feet deep (dog). This is so their resting place will not be disturbed by natural forces or other animals. With a dog, you could wrap them in something of meaning (their favourite blanket) and then double bag them in garden waste bags or other very strong bags and seal tightly. For the burial of any animal equal to or larger than a cat, it is advised to sprinkle the wrapped body with lime to safeguard against disturbance by other animals. Ground can soften in rain, so make sure the ground is packed tight above the pet’s final resting place. Burial for anything larger than a cat is a lot of work, so you may wish to consider cremation, scattering ashes and perhaps marking the spot with a headstone or other meaninful or lasting object.
With big pets it’s easier to cremate them and then scatter their ashes in a dignified manner. Whatever you do though, please, please don’t try to do a DIY cremation. It’s a really bad idea. Do not even think about putting Fluffy in the oven and turning up the heat. Unless you are a Viking, avoid giving your beloved companion and familiar a Viking burial by building them a funeral pyre on a wooden ship, setting the whole thing alight and sending it out to sea. Get someone who is properly trained to do it with the right equipment. Find yourself a pet cremation service, or a Viking.
Cardboard boxes make excellent coffins for small pets. They’re easily bio-degradable and you can decorate and customise them if you are so inclined. If you have your pet cremated, their ashes should be presented to you in some sort of container.
This part is entirely up to you. You can go all out and gather together everyone who ever knew and loved Fluffy, or it can be small and quiet. Whatever you think is best for your pet. If you wish to take the Egyptian or Celtic route, it is a nice thought to bury your trusted pet with supplies (such as a ceremonial tin of catfood) for the afterlife.