What To Do When Your Dog Dies

(And Digging a Hole Isn’t an Option)
On Easter Sunday, my Cappy dog died. The passing was unexpected and quiet. One moment he was sleeping. The next he was gone. After the storm of weeping calmed, we faced a horrible question: What do you do with a dead dog in the middle of your living room?

In our case, my mother-in-law’s living room after our delightful Easter brunch. Awkward!
Fish get flushed with ceremony – Birds buried deeply in airtight plastic containers. Thirteen years ago, we buried Cleo, our Siamese kitty, deep in the soft soil under the lilacs by our old home.
But fifty pounds of dead darling border collie mix? My sweetie immediately began talking about digging a hole in the yard of our brand-new home. My hands still tingled with pain from digging medium-sized holes for small shrubs in that sturdy red clay a few days earlier. Digging a hole deep enough to bury our Cappy? OUCH.

Plus, we were leaving to visit my parents the next day. All I could imagine was not digging deep enough and coming home to find my dedicated trail buddy dragged from his ersatz grave by scavengers.
Icky-poopie. Nope. That’s not happening.

As new members of the Asheville area (we moved here from Colorado in October), we hadn’t yet picked a vet, so we didn’t have that resource. However, we remembered our last dog (who courteously let us know what was up so we could take him to the vet when the time came) was cremated through our veterinary service. A thought sparked my brain.
I typed a search for pet crematoriums on my cell phone.

Here in the Asheville area, I was surprised to find a choice of companies – most offering home pickup and drop-off. We settled on one and left a message. They called back right away and arranged a pickup time, even with the holiday.

We moved our sweet Cappy through our curtain of tears into the empty garage to await his final car ride. Two people and a van showed up at the house later that afternoon. They loaded him onto the van with care and reverence, even joining us for a short prayer around his still fuzzy body.

Later, I discovered that the Buncombe County Animal Shelter will also help dispose of your pet if you find yourself in this position. You do have to transport the deceased to the animal shelter, but there is no cost unless you wish to have your loved one cremated. In that case, they partner with one of the paid services and send you off to them.

For a little less than $200 (for our 50-pound dog – less if you are interested in communal cremation. Price here is based on weight), the service took care of everything. They would have even brought his ashes back to us. However, we picked them up from the office on the edge of the cemetery as we were in the area.

The ashes came back to us in a lovely urn whose top reads “Until we meet again at the rainbow bridge.”

I can’t take it out of the bag yet. But I know he’s safe there.

And I didn’t have to dig a hole in the yard.

LA Bourgeois now resides in Weaverville, NC with one dog, two cats and her sweetie. Follow her adventures in her Diary at Housewyfe.com.

Written by LA Bourgeois