Over the years I have said goodbye to 14 pets I have loved and lost. Each and every time I had cremains returned to me without a plan for where the cremains would eventually be placed. While cremation and disposition of the cremains is a highly personal decision, I knew I wanted cremains returned even if I couldn’t decide what I was going to do with them.
A while after my childhood cat and dog were euthanized within months of each other, I scattered both of their cremains outside Estes Park. While neither had been to that part of Colorado it just seemed right since a piece of my heart holds Estes Park dear to me, just like my pets. While that was appropriate and allowed for them, I found as time went on it didn’t necessarily feel right to have every one of my pets cremains taken to a spot that I was not able to visit as much. The next time I had to say goodbye to a pet was nearly 15 years later. While I said goodbye to a houseful of pets over a relatively short couple of years, I continued to set aside cremains in a shelf in my home. Wanting to find a special place for them all, not ready to decide on a place for quite some time.
In 2015 I started working for Caring Pathways. I regularly had my first “adulthood dog’s” cremains with me in my car, having him ride with me to work. I also routinely kept my first “adulthood cat’s” cremains on my headboard where she would have sat when she was with me. All of my other pets’ cremains stayed on their designated shelf.
Especially working with people making decisions for aftercare for their pets, my own pets’ cremains were on my mind frequently. Finally in September of this year an idea took shape. All of my pets should stay together but in a place of honor instead of a place of utility. As the day for the pet memorial service at Seven Stones Cemetery drew closer, I got to thinking more about my comfort with taking all of my pets’ cremains to be placed in the ossuary. Ultimately, I decIded that the two closest trios of pets should all go together while the cremains of my first pets of adulthood needed to continue to stay together in the honored places they already occupied.
At the pet memorial service on September 9th at Seven Stones Cemetery, all in attendance were able to recall fond memories of their pets once more and share their stories. There was so much love present it was clear my pets were at a good place to lay their cremains down for a final rest. I was able to make a stone mandala with a portion of their cremains and then placed the rest in the ossuary. Now I have a place of honor for them where I can sit and recall fond memories of each of them. I was so fortunate to have such a memorable and loving pet memorial day.
Kerry Muhovich, Caring Pathways DVM