The Little Yellow Farmhouse: What to Do When Your Dog Dies at Home (And Digging a Hole Isn’t an Option)


On Easter Sunday, my dog, Cappy, died. The passing was unexpected and quiet. One moment he was sleeping. The next he was gone.

After the storm of weeping calmed, we faced a horrible moment.

What do you do with a dead dog in the middle of your living room?

In our case, my mother-in-law’s living room.

Is that worse? I’ll let you be the judge.

Okay. So what now? Fish get flushed with ceremony. Birds buried deeply in airtight plastic containers. We buried Cleo, our siamese kitty, deep in soft dirt under our old lilacs and topped her grave with bricks.

But fifty pounds of dead dog? My sweetie immediately began talking about digging a hole in our new yard. My hands still tingled with pain from digging much smaller holes in that sturdy red clay earlier in the week. Could we even dig deep enough to protect his body from wildlife?

Remembering that our last dog (who very courteously let us know what was up so we could take him to the vet when the time came) got cremated, I searched for pet crematoriums on my cell phone.

Here in the Asheville area, I was surprised to find three companies – all with home pick-up and drop-off. My suspicion is that even if you live in an area without this independent service, you can contact your local vet and they will assist you.

Settling on Best Friends Pet Cemetery, we left a message. They called right back and arranged a pickup time, even with the holiday.

We moved sweet still Cappy into the empty garage to await his final car ride.

Later, two people and a van showed up at the house. They loaded him onto the van with reverence, after joining us for a short prayer around Cappy’s body.

For a little less than $200 (for our 50 pound dog – less if you are interested in communal cremation. Price here is based on weight), they took care of everything. They would have even brought his ashes back to us. However, we were in the area and picked them up from the office on the edge of the cemetery.

The urn storing the ashes reads “Until we meet again at the rainbow bridge.”

I can’t take it out of the bag yet.

But I know he’s safe there.

And I didn’t have to dig a hole in the yard.

Cappy

 

UPDATE: A friend let me know that, if you live in Denver, Colorado, the Denver Dumb Friends League will assist you with disposing of the body of your pet for no fee. You do not get to retain the ashes, but you don’t have to deal. Curious as to whether this carries over, I contacted our local animal shelter here in Buncombe County.  That organization will also dispose of your pet for no fee. Logic dictates this could be true for many locations. If you have lost your darling and don’t know what to do, contact your local animal shelter or humane society. It’s possible they can help for free or a minimal fee.

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