Do you know what you'll do with your dog's body when he dies? Not something you want to think about probably, but it's worth spending a little time on. Growing up, we were fortunate enough to bury our dogs beneath the apple tree. The dogs didn't get a special marker - back then I think some people saw us as odd for even caring what happened to our dogs after they died.
The family dog has come a long way since I was a child. Back then, most of our dogs lived outdoors; only two of my childhood dogs ever called the inside of our house a home. We had several "huntin' dogs" - Beagles - who [I shudder as I write this] lived in pens. They were well taken care of, but only really got out when it was time to hunt rabbits. As the pack dwindled due to old age, the remaining Beagle, Cookies, was allowed to [another shudder] roam the neighborhood, un-penned and free to go here and there as he pleased. By the time he died, we had moved to a neighborhood where roaming wasn't safe [not that it was ever safe, mind you, but the new neighborhood had much more traffic] and he lived inside our fenced yard. When he died, we paid homage to his wandering spirit and buried him outside the fence - his spirit forever free to roam.
Now that I'm grown and have dogs of my own, I'm faced with the question of what to do when they die. I don't want to bury them here - my husband and I have already decided we won't stay in our house when we retire. I don't want to leave them behind when we sell our house, so what to do?
An article in today's Washington Post might be my answer: individual cremation. Maybe it's because I'm getting older. I'm staring 40 square in the face, and I find myself think a lot more about things like this. But I'm warming up to the idea of cremation (no pun intended). I can always have them with me, regardless of where we move, I can even have them buried with me when I finally expire. Together forever...
More than you ever wanted to know about me? Probably. But take a look at the article if you're as attached to your dogs as I am, and it might give you some comfort for what happens when it's time to say goodbye.