Pet’s Remains: Caskets, Cemeteries & Cremation

The moon is full, the air is still, All of the sudden I feel a chain,
Victor is grinning, flesh rotting away, Skeletons dance, I curse this day,
And the night when the wolves cry out, Listen close and you can hear me shout.

I don’t want to be buried in a pet sematary I don’t want to live my life again….

——- The Ramones

When our cat, JiJi, died we felt like we lost a member of the family. She had been my daughter’s best friend while she was sick and having several surgeries.

We wanted to do something special for her since she gave so much for us.

I grew up on a farm so when animals died we had a place over in the “north 40” that we disposed of the bodies. Most pets went there and you just dug a hole and plopped the corpse in. For the household animals we would put them in a burlap feed bag or a shoebox and had graves beside the woods.

I’ve known only a few people who have used a pet cemetery. It is a graveyard for animals of emotional significance which are ceremonially buried. This has been in use for years.

Most families bury deceased pets on their own properties, mainly in a yard, with a shoe box or any other type of container served as a coffin. The Ancient Egyptians are known to have mummified and buried cats, which they considered deities. The Romans had very similar ways of dealing with pet loss. Expansive parcels of land would be set aside for large stone monuments dedicated to the owner’s pet. Alexander the Great being one of the most famous pet lovers of his time dealt with the loss of his pets in this way. The Cimetière des Chiens in Asnières-sur-Seine in Paris, is an elaborate, sculpted pet cemetery believed to be the first zoological necropolis in the world.

Today, a growing number of funeral homes and cemeteries are offering burial and cremation services for animals to help bereaved pet owners cope with their loss. There’s a growing trend of those who want to celebrate their departed animals with the many services now offered. Pet crematories have already opened throughout the country as well a movement to have pets buried with their owner in the same plot.

One of the biggest trends is for there to now be an expense and elaborate casket for the beloved animal.

Dow’s Wood Products in Maine started making custom-built pet caskets and urns that are sold through animal shelters, pet stores and veterinary clinics. They first began making the caskets a couple of years ago after talking to funeral directors, who told the owner that they could fill a void. A family had hired him to make a casket after the family cat died. They didn’t want to just throw the cat in a hole and wanted something nice to put it in. A year later, the family ordered another casket for their family dog. Dow now has a brochure in which he lists four pet casket sizes ranging in price from $95 to $395. The boxes are made of pine and are lined in satin, and customers can buy engraved brass plaques for an additional fee.

In Tennessee, Hoyt and Wanda Northcutt started Angel Sleeping Pet Caskets in early 2000 shortly after Hoyt’s sister’s beloved cat, Snoopy died. She was devastated by the loss and couldn’t bear the thought of just burying him in the ground unprotected. They asked a relative, who was also a professional carpenter, to build a pet casket from material found around their home. They painted the casket white and the trim gold. The casket was lined inside with white satin from the local WalMart store. This ended up becoming the very first Angel Sleeping Pet Casket. Now, thanks to the internet, there are thousands of their pet caskets being used as final resting places for beloved pets and have been shipped to every one of the contiguous 48 states. In fact one of their pet caskets was purchased by 20th Century Fox Studios in Hollywood for use in an episode of the popular TV show “House“.

As for our beloved cat, JiJi, my daughter was the one who made the decision of where her best friend should be placed. Pet cemeteries were out since she had to travel to visit and a wooden casket was too “cramped and scary” for the kitty. In the end it was a cardboard box with a picture of her and JiJi beside the body, a few flowers and a grave in the far end of the backyard beside an old oak tree.

 

( My question to you is how did you dispose of your most beloved pet ?)

My podcast: http://www.wildvoice.com/ronnasty

 

 

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5 Responses

  1. I have started an online business making and selling custom urns for cats and dogs. I made the first one when I got back ashes for my yellow lab, Susie, in a black box with a tassel on top. It was very somber looking and I couldn’t display it because it depressed me. I was out of work at the time, so I made her a personalized, whimsical urn from a wooden box that I painted. I found miniature items to put on the top as well as a yellow lab figurine. Because she loved playing ball, I painted small wooden balls to look like tennis balls and attached them to wire made to look like springs. I added an autumn tree behind her. Inside the painted box, I put a picture frame with her photo and dog tags. I also sewed a fabric pouch with a dog theme to put the ashes in. Finally, I elevated the box on three painted dowels – three to signify something is missing and not balanced without her. It turned out great and I started making more urns for various dogs and cats and then developed a website to showcase them. I have also had to make another urn for another rescue yellow lab that I got when Susie died. Dolly only lived for six months before dying of cancer and she’s in an urn with a flowering purple tree, two park benches and some tennis balls. Since I started the business, I’ve only sold a few of the “pre-made” ones, but an article about the business in our local newspaper earlier this year has enabled me to get some local business for custom urns. I’ve also heard from local vets, funeral homes and animal shelters that are interested in showing the urns. I love the creative aspect of it, the design process and the actual work involved. I even paint the figurines to resemble the person’s pet based on photos they send me. Helping provide folks with closure and making something special for their special pets gives me a good feeling, too.

    • Can you make an urn that looks like the kind the ancient egyptians buried their kitties in? It would look like one of pharoah, standing, with his arms crossed over his chest,, holding a crook and flail, but with a cats head? It would be about 9 or 10 inches high, in gold leaf. Here’s hoping; and thanks for reading this. Ralph

  2. I I usually bury my beloved pet by putting them into a pet caskets

  3. The most important part of any company is the people and relying on people.

  4. I bought pet casket for my loved pet died recently. I don’t care about the price when compare my love

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