If you have ever kept pets, especially your kid’s pets, you will know they are notorious for dying. The cat gets hit by a truck. Your dog swallowed some snail pellets. Or, you forgot to feed the budgie.
Yet, a little while after the sobbing has subsided they perk up and longingly request “Can we give Rusty a burial?” Sure!
So you find an out of the way plot of ground – hopefully not in the vegie garden – and begin your inter ritual. You lay your pet dog or cat into the shallow grave, say a few prayers and then begin covering the sad corpse.
Then it’s off to the shed to build a small wooden cross, giving it a quick coat off paint. The kids write Rusty’s name on the crosspiece and then it’s hammered into the head of the grave plot. Some flowers are hastily picked and the burial site becomes a shrine for the first week or two.
Then a thought pops into your head…’Is it legal to bury pets in your garden?’
Rest assured that in most cases its fine. Most council bylaws permit home owners to bury their pet cat or dog in the garden provided that the pet didn’t die from some serious disease that could cause it to become hazardous waste. If that’s the case you can pay for your pet to be cremated and then scatter the ashes throughout you garden or at least under your favourite tree.
We’ve buried a few pets in our time: budgerigars, rabbits, hermit crabs, guinea pigs, goldfish and even the odd dog or two [I wouldn't even mind burying a couple of the neighbour's cats at the moment]. Each one was given their own burial plot and painted cross.
It’s quite nostalgic, almost sacred, walking through a garden where the family pet/s have been interred. You stop and pause, reflecting on the memories that were made. This is especially true for kids who having grown up will want to visit these spots and rekindle their childhood sentiments.
So, while it might be cheaper and more convenient to leave your dying pet in the hands of a vet there is no substitute for having your pet’s funeral and subsequent burial in your own backyard.
Photo source: Dawn Endico