GRIEF SUPPORT AFTER PET LOSS
Pet owners and their surviving pets go through a grieving period following the passing of a pet. Often, this is an extremely difficult task. There may be times and situations when the pet owner may need some assistance as he/she moves through the grieving process. This help may be provided by family members, friends, pet loss support groups, grief counselors, and even by surviving family pets. Take advantage of the resources available to you, this is a very natural occurrence as we move through life. People who have never owned a pet may not be able to understand the hurt that is felt following the loss of a pet, but it is very real and must be addressed.
One of the first issues that must be addressed following the passing of a pet is determining what is to be done with the pet’s remains. A number of options are available to the owner, including cremation, burial in a pet cemetery, and burial at home or at the cottage. However, it may be difficult to obtain the necessary information about each option and to come to an informed decision at such a difficult time. It is for this reason we encourage pre-planning, if at all possible. When the passing of a pet is sudden and unexpected, the owner may have to make a number of decisions regarding his/her pet with little opportunity for reflection.
Because of environmental considerations, and because of the flexibility afforded the pet owner by cremation, at Thistledown we encourage pet owners to select the cremation option. It was for this reason that in early 2008 we installed a state-of-the-art on-site pet crematorium at Thistledown. With cremation, the pet owner does not have to make all the decisions at one time. Once the pet has been cremated, the owner can keep the urn at home, bury the urn, place the urn in a columbarium, scatter the ashes, or place the urn in some temporary location. The owner can take his/her time in reaching a decision regarding the final disposition of the ashes.
Some of our clients have either buried a pet on their property in the past or were intending to bury their recently deceased pet on their property. The major difficulties associated with this option are that:
the burial of pets on private property is prohibited in many municipalities; and
many pet owners will not want to leave the buried remains of their pet behind should they sell the property at some time in the future. Exhumation and cremation of the remains would be required in such a situation.
A third option available to pet owners following the passing of a pet is burial in a pet cemetery. For those owners not wishing to have their pet cremated, this is a viable alternative. When evaluating this option, however, pet owners should be aware of all the costs that may be involved with burial. Such costs would include internment, annual maintenance fees, and the price of a monument, should such be desired.
Recognizing the importance of moving through the grieving process, at Thistledown we have assembled a collection of support literature. To assist owners in evaluating their pet aftercare options we have assembled listings of pet loss support resources and pet cemeteries located throughout Ontario. We are constantly expanding these listings and appreciate hearing about any resources not appearing on our current record for the sake of all pet owners.
Durham Region/York Region & East:
Thistledown Pet Memorial
Phone: (905) 852-5648
Address: 4766 Concession 7, RR4, Uxbridge, ON L9P1R4
Peterborough Pet Loss Support Group
Phone: (705) 748-0487
Contact: Lily Gallagher
Address: 294 Aylmer St beside Montreal House (meet 1st Tuesday of every month)
Mississauga & West:
Halton/Peel Pet Loss Support Group
Phone (leave a message for the pet loss support group):
905-842-2252 (Oakville); 905-272-4040 (Mississauga); 905-637-5233 (Burlington)
Beneficial Living and Wellness (Burlington)
Phone: (905) 467-0418
Address: 586 Argus Road, Suite 100, Oakville
Ontario Veterinary College Pet Loss Support Hotline
Phone: (519) 824-4120 (ext. 53694)
Please call Tuesday-Thursday (6:00pm - 9:00pm ET)
Toronto (Metropolitan Area):
Toronto Humane Society
Phone: (416) 392-2273
Address: 11 River St. Toronto, ON M5A 4C2