How Can I Be Buried with My Pet?
For many pet owners, the loss of a pet is as deeply upsetting as the loss of a friend or relative. Often serving as companions for decades, dogs and cats have a way of working themselves into our lives and into our hearts in a way that modern pet burial methods do not allow for. Pet cemeteries, pet cremations, and burial in the backyard might work for some individuals—but for others, nothing less than burial together will suffice.
There are strict regulations in place regarding human and animal burial, so you will need to do some advance funeral preparation to get the paperwork and plans in order. Depending on where you live and what the cemeteries in your area allow, your options include the following.
Double Cremation: The easiest way to be forever interred with your pet is to have both of you cremated. Because cremated remains are less regulated than burial (and because cremated remains can be safely stored at home for years at a time), there is no pressure for you to make any permanent decisions right away. You can keep your cremated pet at home until your own death occurs, or you can have a loved one take care of your cremated remains until your pet passes on. The ashes can then be combined and kept in a single urn, or you can have the urns placed side by side.
Pet Cremation, Human Burial: One of the more popular pet/human burial options is to have a pet cremated and the ashes installed in your casket at the time of your own burial. Although funeral homes may charge a small fee for this service, they tend to be open to the idea of placing a box or urn of ashes inside the casket before it is sealed closed. This also works well if there are multiple pets you wish to be buried with, since ashes take up a relatively small amount of space inside a casket.
Human Cremation, Pet Burial: Although less common, you may be able to have your ashes buried next to your pet in a pet cemetery. You can purchase side-by-side plots at the pet cemetery, and have your urn buried in the space next to your beloved animal. Some states and cities have laws prohibiting the burial of human remains (even cremated ones) in cemeteries designated for pets, but not all do. You may need to call around until you find a pet cemetery willing to accommodate your request, and you will also need to entrust your remains to someone who will see that your wishes are carried out.
Double Burial: Having your body buried next to a pet’s body is complicated, but possible in some areas. Chances are, you won’t be allowed to have human remains fully buried in a pet cemetery, so you will need to find a human cemetery willing to accept a pet’s remains—and then you’ll have to purchase separate plots for each of you. Because cemetery plots are expensive, you can expect to pay more for this option, including things like opening and closing the grave, vault liners, and all the other requirements of burial.
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By Amy Johnson