Thursday, July 28, 2011

Talking About the Untalkable: Would You Hold a Funeral for Your Dachshund?

Seeing the Unseeable:  Zoya Girard wipes away tears as she views her Dachshund, 'Poncho,' in his casket at the East Lawn Pet Loss Center in Sacramento, California

An article ran in the Sacramento Bee a few weeks ago titled Spending on pet funerals increases in Sacramento and beyond.  Try as we might, we simply can't get it, or the photo that ran with it, out of our little heads.  We could never post such a photo on The Long and Short of it All, that's unthinkable.  We could never see a Dachshund in that state, that's unseeable.  We could never talk about a funeral for our little loved ones, that's untalkable. 
But as the days and weeks have rolled on since it was published, maybe it's not such a bad idea to bring it up, to talk about, to lay everything on the table so to speak.  Because if there's one thing as certain as life, then that's the world beyond, and while accepting that is never easy, coming to terms with it can certainly ease the pain. 
This is Zoya and her pal Poncho's story via the Sacramento Bee:

Zoya Girard treated her beloved dachshund, Poncho, like a member of the family all his life. She's giving him the same kind of attention in death.
She wanted her 11-year-old dog to be buried in his favorite blanket, a prayer read at his graveside service and a viewing before he was laid to rest.
Girard leaned over his casket last week, looking at her beloved pet one last time in a visitation room at the East Lawn Pet Loss Center in Sacramento.
"He was like a grumpy old man, always barking," Girard said, weeping. She leaned over and kissed him. "But he was always there for me. This is the least I could do for him."

The article goes on to note that while pet cemeteries have been around for decades, the number of funerals – 10- to 15-minute graveside services – has increased dramatically in recent years.  These services can run anywhere from just under $1,000 to many thousands of dollars. 
Would you consider such a service for your beloved furry friend?  We guess that we might consider something similar - if nothing else, a viewing in the home.  It's easy to say something like this hopefully years away from actually leaving this planet, we would probably be too distraught with grief to actually carry out such a plan.  But we can see how it would help bring closure with the support of your family and closest friends by your side.  Or perhaps a small ceremony in the home when the ashes have been returned would be best - just a little something special to honor the ones who have given you that unconditional love their entire little lives. 
We're reminded of one of our favorite anonymous quotes, something to live by every day in life, and something to think about for when that time comes:
 
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."

Zoya lays flowers down on Poncho's grave.

20 comments:

Coloradolady said...

This is a little over the top, but none the less, I am wiping tears from my eyes.....

Anonymous said...

We honour our pets both in life and death all differently. If this is someones way to say good-bye to a beloved pet then who are we to knock it. I much rather see this good-bye than seeing pets euthenized because of abuse or just not wanted. Not all of us can afford this good-bye but yes a urn with aches and a few close friends to grieve with u at home is honouring our pets just as much. After my little Happy died I keep a photo of him and every once in a while I will tweek his nose on the photo as I did in his life, he lives on for me when I do that.
U can see how much she loved Poncho.

impromptublogger said...

Even if we could have afforded it - no. I think cremation is appropriate for a dog and then if possible burial. When Maxdog passed in May they did cremate him but we couldn't afford to keep the ashes. However the animal hospital told us that they were going to scatter the ashes in an apple orchard in Western Maryland. As he was born in Western Maryland I thought it was appropriate and gave me some peace.

Gatinha said...

When my cats die (hopefully, it will take alot of years till then) I will pay for an individual cremation (in Portugal there is only one pet cemetery, that is very old and very far from my home city, so...). Then I will try to give a party in their memory (I know that I will not be able to do that during the week of their death, but maybe one month later the pain will be eased away...). I really want to do this party, because it will be a nice way to share memories and see again their best photos and videos...I think they desearve it.
But while they still alive (Tomy is 12 years old, Silvie will be 7 in October) they will have the best life that I can give them :) They even have birthday parties ;)
I wish I could have a dachie, but for now it's impossible...:(

Anonymous said...

Cremation. No more than that. Our pain is to personal to try to share with others. "They" do not know the dog like we have. liz

LisaB said...

Well that's a bit too much to look at. It's just way too sad and I know I couldn't do that. However, for some people, that's the type of closure they need so I guess I'm glad those services are available to them. That photo is quite awful.

kalyxcorn said...

aw. well, baxter is 4. i hope i have a hundred years or more to think about it.

Haley said...

I think that burying the body itself would be way too sad. When Roscoe, my 10 year old dachshund, passed away three years ago, my parents had him cremated but keeping the ashes was too expensive. When my dachshund dies (he's not even a year yet so it will be a long time from now), I'm going to have him cremated and then keep his ashes.

A MilShelb Mom said...

It is very difficult to think about and to be honest I don't think I could go through with it once the time comes, but I am sure we will find a way to honor Milly and Shelby, as they are truly our children.
~Maggie

Anonymous said...

When my 12 year old sheltie died last summer, we had a memorial service at our sheltie club meeting, and raised a glass to him and all the pups we have loved and lost. It is truly appropriate to memorialize a beloved companion, and helps very much in the grieving process. I think a funeral is not out of the question, and has been the case among dog lovers for a long time. My grandfather went to the funeral of an old friend's hunting dog in the 1950's. He was buried at a pet cemetary in Aspen Hill, MD.

Kerri said...

To each his own, but I can't help but think of how much good a rescue organization could do with $1,000 and, in my personal opinion, that is a better tribute to a lost pet.

My dachshund Minnie went to the Bridge a year and a half ago. I found out on Wednesday night that her kidneys were failing. I spent the next two days with her before trying to get her to my parents in WV so we could be together to say goodbye. I didn't make it (*long* story involving a horrible snowstorm), but on my way out of Raleigh, I stopped at a friend's house so she could say goodbye and did one last tour through the office with Minnie, where she got pets and rubs from co-workers.

She was cremated and shipped back to me and rests on a shelf across the room from where I sit now, along with two toys I kept (the rest I donated to local SPCA) and a picture.

s.kate said...

Each person gains closure in their own way. When I lost my precious house cat, Rascal, after nearly 11 years, my family held a private memorial service. He was buried on a hill at the edge of our property-- near the fireflies he used to continually chase. We ordered a small headstone that marks his birth date and date of passing along with his name and the inscription: My one and only.

Last year, when my precious Dachshund Samson died in an accident, I had him cremated. He was only a year old when I lost him, and I couldn't bear parting with him. Now, his ashes sit on a tribute shelf in my bedroom, along with his photos, his favorite chew toy, two of his puppy teeth, and an impression of his paw print.

Rascal has a shelf below that containing his photos, his collar, a tuff of his soft orange fur and statute of a handsome cat.

The contents of those shelves make me laugh, make me cry but most importantly, help me remember and honor the two most important pets I've ever had.

Closure is closure. No matter the form.

Phoebe said...

When my two senior rescue dachshunds recently passed away, I had them both privately cremated, as I have with my previous dachshunds. The ashes were returned to me in lovely boxes with golden locks and key provided by the crematory. I have made donations in their memory to the dachshund rescue where I adopted them, and wrote tributes and sent photos to be included in the rescue's newsletter. Additionally, I just adopted another senior rescue dachshund, because I think my precious Maggie Mae and Marie would have wanted another little old girl in need to have a loving forever home.

Whit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Whit said...

I love my Milo dearly, just as much as any human family member, but I do not think I would do the same. Not that a full funeral and burial in a pet cemetery is not ok, just not how I feel I would honor my little guy.
I plan on burying Milo in my backyard and then planting a lovely dogwood (no pun intended, just really like those trees) over his grave. Maybe putting a little plaque on the tree, or some little marker. Kind of like a living memorial. I really like Phoebe's idea of donating to dachshund rescue as well.

curator said...

Well, whatever makes you feel better, I say. In my case what makes me feel better is having their ashes up in lovely little containers, where nobody has to know what they are, and I can light a candle for them or pick a vase of flowers for them. Someday when I have the house of my dreams I'll make a lavender garden and scatter them there.

Roberto said...

i think we have to do what our heart tell us!

Gcrown said...

I have seen our past three dachsunds get buried in our backyard, it hurts so bad, but crematiin would be painfull too, heck just by thinking of them makes me all tearjerker

Chang Poulin said...

I know how it feels to lose a pet who has been a best friend for so many years. I feel deeply sorry for her, even though it’s been a year since this happened. This reminds me of my beloved Persian cat that passed away just six months ago. She’s a lovely furry cat that always sleeps beside me. I placed her ashes in an urn, and until now, I still feel that she’s somehow keeping me company. I even wrapped the urn with a picture of her so that I’ll always get to see her in my room.

Anonymous said...

I feel complete sadness for Zoya & for everyone who has lost their furbaby. I think that what Zoya did was absolutely beautiful! I have a male Dachshund who is 2yrs young & I dread the day his time comes. Zoya wanted to honor her beloved pooch whom she loved dearly. I love how she wrapped Poncho up in his favorite blanket & babies with him. Maybe Poncho had to be put to sleep because of something very painful & Zoya didn't want that to be her last memory of him. I see so many people posting comments saying they're going to or have had their dogs cremated & that's perfectly fine but that's obviously not want she wanted. Everyone grieves differently that's a given but don't knock her for what she chose to do for HER beloved Dachshund. Do what you want to do with your own pet. Zoya if you're reading this I think what you did for Poncho was beautiful <3 Mandi & Buddy

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