When a pet passes away there are generally two options for body after-care; either burial or cremation (for more information visit https://www.compassionunderstood.com/page/after-life-body-care). If cremation is chosen this leads to more options – either having the ashes returned in a sealed casket or in something that allows them to be scattered at some point. I have lost various pets over the years, from family pets to my own and, looking back, they have all been treated differently because we chose to do what suited each pet’s individual character. I still have the sealed casket of Sam, our first family dog – who was really mine – he was an aggressive terrier type so never off his lead and never away from my side. But for Jack, my next dog, his ashes were scattered nowhere near where I live. The reason for this was because he was young and died quite suddenly and had just had a great weekend away in The Forest of Dean. He had absolutely loved it there – chasing rabbits and disappearing off one way before springing up right in front of you (he always did have this amazing ability to surprise you) so it seemed the right place for him.
I have written other blogs recently about Spencer, my 13-year-old Labrador, and I always knew I would scatter his ashes and had in my mind from any early age where this would be. However, faced with the reality, I went to check out the place where he first learned to swim, which I remembered as being beautiful and peaceful, but it had changed so another last resting place was needed. This wasn’t too difficult to choose because again, I followed his character so I knew it had to be water-based (he loved swimming and splashing in puddles and even jumped into horses’ water troughs he loved water so much!).– Then came the question of when was the right time to scatter his ashes? Again, I found that thinking of the times he was at his happiest helped me, so I knew it would not have been during the summer as he hated hot weather. I had in my mind March 3rd, his birthday, as this would be spring, but then last week – the start of autumn with its sunny but cool days and leaves he loved to run through – it seemed right.
So last week, Spencer was set free in the environment he loved – the outdoors. After doing this, I felt really happy that he was where he should be. Although I have my first dog’s ashes with me and also my cat, I have found it so much easier making these decisions based on each individual’s character. Making this decision has to be right for the owner as well as the pet and there is no right or wrong – they are our pets and they would be happy with whatever we decided.