Building a casket for a pet is something that pet parents do not want to think about while their pets are alive. Death is an uncomfortable subject when these eventualities concern favorite animals that have been companions for many years. However, there are simple steps that you can prepare before a pet dies that will honor the pet's life and help you grieve.
Deciding on a Casket
Deciding on where and how to bury a pet depends on beliefs, finances and spaces available for pet burials. Some people believe that using a wooden pet casket is not environmentally friendly and they opt for "green funerals" where they bury pets in biodegradable caskets or in blankets of natural fabric such as cotton or wool. Know the laws regarding pet burial before you bury your companion. There are often pet cemeteries but check with the specific cemetery you choose for its rules concerning caskets and burial. City regulations might forbid you using a homemade casket.
The first step of creating a wooden casket is knowing the size of the animal. Keep your yearly veterinarian records because these will often have the size of your animal. You may have to take a tape measure and measure your deceased pet if the death is sudden and you do not have accurate measurements. This part of the grieving process might be difficult and this is a task that you may want someone else to do for you.
Creating the casket is straightforward. Buy enough plain two-by-four plywood according to the size of your pet. Using expensive woods for the casket does not give you greater emotional value in the healing process. Being with your pet for the last moments of her life and doing this final caretaking is more important in your healing from grief than high burial costs. Hammer or glue the plywood into a box shape, either square or rectangular, that will fit your pet. You may want to line the casket with a blanket or other material before you lay your pet in the casket. The pet's former bed if it is a cat or a favorite blanket for a dog are appropriate ways to line caskets and show care for your pet.
Parting with reminders of a pet may be difficult for some people but there are others who want to memorialize their pet by putting the pet's treasured objects into the casket. Some ideas for a cat may be food dishes, a favorite stuffed toy or other items the cat enjoyed during her lifetime. A chew toy or ball are fitting memorials to bury with a beloved dog companion.
Bury the pet in accordance with local laws, at least three feet deep so that scavenging animals will not try to take the body and not near flowing water. It is acceptable to leave flowers or other memorials to the pet on the grave and say a few words of remembrance.
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