Remembering Our Friends
For many, pets are valued members of the family, and the passing of such beloved companions is devastating. In that trying time, while it may be difficult to think of having to part with one’s pet forever, properly finalizing their farewell may help. In that process, there are a few things to consider, including options made available recently.
On September 26, 2016, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed a bill permitting the interment of pet cremated remains in not-for-profit cemeteries. This allows the cremated ashes of pets to be buried alongside their owners in the same cemetery lot. The law legalizes a practice many have been doing already, and in the case of the pet owner passing away first, gives the option to have the cremated remains of the pet to be included in the deceased owner’s grave at a later date. For people to whom pets are as dear as children, this option may be a very welcome one. Forest Lawn Group of Cemeteries (1411 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo; 288-5999, forest-lawn.com) and Mount Calvary Cemetery Inc. (800 Pine Ridge Heritage Blvd., Cheektowaga; 892-6600, mountcalvarycemetery.com) are cemeteries in WNY that have implemented this option for their patrons, understanding this will better serve the communities’ emotional needs.
Pet cemeteries are another way of honoring one’s animal friends, and many do not require cremation beforehand. Pets are placed in caskets and buried with grave markers, and owners and family members can later visit the grave to reminisce and honor their departed companions. Pine Rest Pet Cemetery (757 Seneca Creek Road, Buffalo; 674-9470) is a peaceful place located in West Seneca and offers the full range of services for deceased pets, including a burial memorial service, where clergy are present to recite prayers for a ceremonial proper send-off.
One way to keep pets’ memories alive is through memorials. Custom pet memorials can be found on personalized item websites such as Etsy, Personalization Mall, and Shutterfly. Amazon also carries memorial items for pets, as do pet stores such as Chewy. There is quite an array of options, including engraved garden or stepping stones, personalized urns, key chains, custom picture frames, and memory boxes. Prices range from less than $15 for smaller items, to $30 to $50 for larger items, and prices increase with higher quality material like marble.
Grief is a natural and inescapable aspect of any kind of death, and pets are grieved dearly. There are services available to help pet owners through this painful time, such as Day by Day (daybydaypetsupport.com, 484-453-8210), a pet caregiver support site. Their services include a chat room and a 24/7 hotline, and the site also provides helpful suggestions in memorializing one’s pet, for example, developing a photo tribute, planting a tree in the pet’s name, putting a statue or stepping stone in a beloved garden spot, or donating to an animal welfare organization. The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement, or APLB (aplb.org, 718-382-0690), is another organization specializing in this area, comprised of professionally trained volunteers in pet bereavement counseling.
Summiaya Khan is an intern at Buffalo Spree Publishing through Erie County Community College and plans to continue her education at University at Buffalo.