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Tuesday, July 30th, 2013, 08:19 PM | Updated: 07/30/2013, 08:19:02 PM | noreply@blogger.com (Unknown) [0 Comments]



Yesterday I had an errand that required a visit to a local pet cemetery.  Never having been to a pet cemetery before, I took the opportunity to walk around and see for myself what one is like.

Visually the landscape was similar to a human cemetery except on a smaller scale.  The grounds were very well maintained with flowers placed on or nearby some of the graves.  The majority of the graves were marked by flat (flush with the ground) stones.  Small sculptures, mostly recreating the likeness of an animal or specifically, someone’s deceased pet, also graced the grounds.

By far, the most compelling part of my visit was reading the inscriptions on the gravestones.  Some were very simple, including just the name of the pet and his/her years of birth and death.  Others were more elaborate with the words carefully chosen to reflect the depth of the pet owner’s relationship with their loved one and the profound loss they experienced following their pet’s death.  Still others were more whimsical or humorous, capturing some favorite pet pastime or memorable personality trait.  Rather than feeling sad as I read the epitaphs, I actually felt lighthearted.  Clearly this was due to the meticulous thought pet owners had given to the words they had engraved on their pets’ tombstones.  And so as I read each epitaph, my mind tried to visualize the animal associated with it and I found myself smiling, occasionally even laughing out loud.

It wasn’t until I walked back to my car that sadness began to settle in around me.  I felt like I was leaving so many loved ones behind and I could not take them with me.  My mind leaped forward to those days somewhere in the future, when my own dogs will no longer be with me.  And that caused me to consider what I will do with my pets’ remains.  Would I bury them in a pet cemetery like this one?

While this cemetery was a beautiful place and only goodness inhabited it, I concluded that it was not a place that I would want to bury my pets.  Rather, I would continue down the path that I started more than thirteen years ago when our last pet passed away.  Our pets’ ashes will be with us in our home.  And when I leave this world, I will have their ashes buried with me.  I will clearly need to do my homework on how to make this happen.  But for right now, it gives me a great deal of comfort.

I had no idea that a visit to a pet cemetery on a sunny San Diego morning would lead me to do this kind of soul searching.  What an amazing day!

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