So you lost your pet and it's time for the final goodbye. Would you like to go in for a good funeral service? You could be spoilt for choice, as 500,000 pets were given special services in 2013.
So what would help you get through with minimum pain in your last journey with your best friend? Would you like to opt for a religious ritual, or are you feeling too emotional to go in for rituals? Do you like an open burial, or would a hush-hush ritual be preferable, so that the neighbours won't know about it?
Make up your mind fast. Anyway, here are 21 ways in which you can prepare for a great service.
1. Your dog is at the veterinarian's clinic. If he wants to keep the body for a day or two, you get some time off to think what you need to do to arrive at a decision quickly. You have to decide fast, though, or the vet might just go by his own decisions.
2. Many times, the vet could dispose of the body. However, detaching yourself from the funeral wouldn't always work to dampen your grief. It would be better to get directly involved in the plans for burial, so that it could divert you from your mourning.
3. Choose the best cremation service. There are reportedly more than 1,300 pet cremation providers all through the United States. That does sound like a bit of overkill. Still, you have more than a thousand options, but you can narrow them down to those that make sense about what you are feeling right now and also honor your religious sentiments.
4. Check out the various lists available. For instance, iMortuary is a directory of funeral homes that is freely available, with a number of listings. Search for the right location by entering your address as well as those of funeral homes, or the state and city.
5. But before you pick out a company from the funeral list, you need to check out its credentials. Is it part of an industrial organization? If so, it would be following some quality standards. You can understand how good the company is by reading the reviews of readers.
6. Many of the pet service organisations give you the option of after-care and visitation rights. You could drop into the service home to see and commune with your pet before the last goodbye.
7. To prepare the animal, the service provider would close its eyes, clean its face and stuff its throat as well as other orifices with charcoal in case of bleeding. Do not fret - it would look neat and natural, wrapped in a sheet and put in a casket, ready for the funeral.
8. You can get the right kind of service from the service provider or director of the organisation. Do you want some special services such as embalming or cosmetology? Or do you want a wake? Whatever you want can be left to your personal choice.
9. Make up your mind whether you want to go for a private or a public service: Some people like to go in for a private service, while others would prefer a communal one. The advantages of a private service is going through a deep communion with your animal. A communal service would be roping in a lot of animals together.
10. If burying the pet is the option, then check the location. Would you like to select a fancy spot, or is the burial at home good enough for you? If you are doing it at home, you might not remain on the spot, and might move house at some time. So you could opt for a burial ground.
11. If you are burying the pet, you need to do it deep enough, so that it won't be disinterred by other animals.
12. After the burial, use a marker of some sort to give your dog a decent after-life memorial. Would you like a headstone for your pet? You have memorials that etch an image of your beloved pet on black granite for you. Put a stone with a sign or a painting on the spot. To remember the buried pet, hang a painting of your pet in your room.
13. Once you bury your dog, plant a small shrub above the burial site. Watching the plant grow everyday can actually keep the dog alive in some way.
14. Opting for a crematorium rather than a burial ground for your pet might be another option. This too could be either due to religious reasons, or because you might think that your dog would be happier if it didn't get eaten up by other living beings. Study the various crematoriums available to you, and pick the one that fulfils your wishes.
15. What about the ashes, which are called 'cremains'? You could either want them all back, or you might be happier to let the company dispose of them. If you do expect the remains back, you could opt for a private cremation.
16. Some firms, such as Peternity, can scatter the ashes from the sky on particular locations - right from the Sierra Nevadas to the SoCal deserts.
17. If you choose a public or semi-private cremation, you have to check with the firm to see what they plan to do about the final disposition, as all the pets would be cremated together.
18. Track your pet's remains. You need to put a system in place, so that you can check and follow your pet's cremation. If you have asked for the ashes, you need to just be careful to see that they belong to your pet's body and return to you. With the help of a unique tracking system, the urn or vessel containing the ashes will have a tag with a unique number. Hence, you would be able to identify that the pet's ashes come back at the correct time to the right person.
19. Many ashes that are returned could be sent in urns of different shapes. They could either be in the shape of baseballs or goblets. Some urns show small statues, while others are made of metals, or hand-blown glass.
20. Finally, after the cremation, you could ask for a memorial of your pet to be incorporated into a small item. This might be cremation jewelry, which might be a locket or bracelet holding a few of the cremated remains, or it might be a diamond, a glass objet d'art or any other such memorial item. With the keepsake around you, it would be easier to nurture a few fond memories.