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Burying my dog

Posted by gardenfanatic MO zone5b (My Page) on
Sun, Aug 28, 11 at 22:06

My dog has lymphatic cancer, and has gotten very bad the last couple days. Monday I'm taking her to the vet to be put to sleep. I'd like to bury her, but want to make sure I do it right - as in, not creating a stink. She's a fairly big dog - 60lbs. I'm thinking I'll dig a hole a couple feet deep, put leaves in the bottom, and cover her with leaves before I put the dirt in.

Does anyone have experience with this?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Burying my dog

I have no idea, but I'm very sorry about your dog. :-(


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RE: Burying my dog

Thanks. It's been a very depressing weekend.

Deanna


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RE: Burying my dog

So sorry about your dog.

Based on my experience living on land, at a minimum the body must be below the frost line so the grave doesn't heave open from freeze and thaw cycles. However, often this isn't deep enough to prevent other wild animals from smelling the body and digging it up. (Don't mean to be gross, but in a rural area this is what happens.)

For us, it works better to bury an animal 6 feet deep. We have buried our dogs that deep and have not had any problems. (A backhoe is a big help.)

Just be sure that if you dig a hole that deep by hand you have digging tools inside the hole to dig out footholds in the side so you can get back out of it. Years ago, when my father buried his favorite dog he found himself inside a 6-foot hole, alone in the middle of a 100-acre farm, with no tools handy to get out of the hole. He managed to climb out after he'd shouted himself hoarse for help.

We always covered our dogs with their favorite blanket and put a toy in with them too. Then the dirt went on top.

Mound dirt up higher than soil level to allow for compacting and so you don't end up with a dip or depression.

Hope this helps.


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"Does anyone have experience with this?"

Yes. Your proposed method is fine, and there is no need for the leaves, though they won't hurt anything either. Decomposition isn't by nitrogen/carbon reaction primarily.

I've never had a problem with either frost heave, odor or animal excavation...seems most scavengers don't want the work involved. Put some rocks on top if you feel that's an issue.

Condolence for your loss.


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REre: Burying my dog

Thanks for everyone's sympathy. I'm having a very hard time getting started on the digging.

Alphonse, I was thinking leaves to help the stink factor.

Deanna


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Deanna, I'm sorry about your pup. I buried our 80 lb. Golden about 4 feet deep. There was no smell. (The problem was lowering the dog into the deep hole, which I wasn't able to do by myself.) I've buried other animals---cats and chickens---in much less soil and have never smelled anything. Nor have any of my graves been disturbed. I think three feet of dirt over your dog should be more than sufficient. I buried a few chickens this spring, under less than 18" of soil. I put some stones on the soil, because while my dog is very enthused about anything morbid, she's also always reluctant to break a nail.

I'm sorry for the loss of your pet and for your sad undertaking.


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I'm sorry for your loss also. If you put lime in the grave it will help a lot. I have buried them about 2 foot deep and never had a problem with smell or animals digging them up.


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I too am very sorry for your loss.....pets become members of our families and their departing this life demands just as much grieving as it would for any human family member.

I've never buried one of my dogs but I have buried pet rabbits and cats and with no issues regarding depth, unpleasant scents or scavaging animals. I was never able to bring myself to bury any one of my many dogs over the years and then possibly leave them behind when I moved. Kind of a weird thing I have :-) So I had them each cremated. I used the ashes to add to a concrete mix and made individual stepping stones for each. Over the years I've gotten quite a collection of "special" pavers :-) That way the stepping stones could move easily from garden to garden and by extrapolation, my beloved pets as well. I have always planted something special in their memory too.

Be sure to take good care of yourself...the next couple of weeks will be tough.


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RE: Burying my dog

Great idea to have a memorial paver. I wish we would have thought of that last February when our little dog became very ill & didn't make it despite good vet care. None of us wanted to bury him.

There are steps in the process even if you have another dog companion. A month ago I gave away several of his clean toys to our neighbors who just got a pup. A few weeks ago I gave his harness to my dad for his dog. Just this week I had his dog license removed from our records. I still like looking at pics of him as a healthy dog and talk about his quirky habits. Remembering is a good thing, so I've kept some of his hair from combings.


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RE: Burying my dog

I am sorry about your friend.

I know it might be late, but your plan is sound. I would place pavers or stones over the disturbed ground until the spring.

I have burried a few dogs, several cats, and 1 fawn. Dig as deep as you can (2 feet is the minimum goal for me - meaning that I have fallen short - it was a foot into weathered rock on my parent's place) pace yourself, ask for help, use proper tools - a digging bar could be useful in the future and works a lot better than a claw hammer.

After the trench (about 1 1/2 shovel widths) is dug to depth, I undercut the sides at the bottom to make the required amount of room - much easier than digging down. I am going for a hole shaped like an elongated jug so that the amount of disturbed ground at the surface is as small as possible (it is much easier for a scavenger to dig in the disturbed ground). Place your friend in a cotton blanket, say what you feel, ease on about 4" of earth and compact the earth by stepping along the perimeter of the hole and then the center - do this at least twice, it will give quite a bit. Add another 2" of earth and repeat the until the hole is filled (mound the earth if there is some left). Placing pavers or large stones over the grave and overlapping onto the undisturbed ground will add a lot of protection.

Best wishes.


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RE: Burying my dog

  • Posted by pt03 2b Southern Manitob (My Page) on
    Thu, Sep 1, 11 at 12:14

Losing a pet is difficult, sorry for your loss Deanna. It's been my experience that even though they may be gone, they have never really left us.

Lloyd


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RE: Burying my dog

When deer are composted they have the stomach opened up with a blade to prevent later explosion of wood chips. On top of the ground with wood chips takes about a year to reduce to the large bones. In ground it takes two or three years.

New York State (Highways ?) has a good piece of the composting of large roadkill animals. They encourage animals of 150 pounds or more to have the stomach opened up.

In our area a few years ago, there was a bit of a scandal when it was found that many pets put down by a vet ended up at the rendering plant.


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RE: Burying my dog

Thats so sad:(

I love my 2 year old Boston Terrier but I know the day will come. I always picture burying her under our favorite peach tree.

On a side note. There is a company in South Korea which has had many successful cloning. I know this sounds strange but the owners who have had their dogs cloned have said the clones are exactly as the dog they loved. You have to save hair or toe nail clippings and the cost is $50,000. But I love my dog so much I am already saving up. I know it will never be the same dog but I would be lost without my pup :(


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I'm the one who was asking about this last year. The hole ended up being not quite 2 feet deep. It was all I could do, with droughted soil that was like cement, not being a youngster, and working by myself. I did cover her with a barrel full of oak leaves before covering her with soil, and I heaped the soil up, knowing it would sink down eventually because of the leaves.

I never smelled a thing, and neither did my other dog. If there had been any detectable odor, she would have been obsessed with it, because she's all over any dead animal. I was a little worried because the hole wasn't as deep as I had planned, but it all turned out okay.

Just thought I'd post this for future reference for anyone facing this dilemma.

I never thought it would be so hard to lose a pet. :-(

Deanna


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So sorry :(


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Maybe the green cone I am getting on Thursday from woodland direct would be good for that. It says you can do meat. The Green Cone Solar Digester System is ready to accept all of your food waste and start composting it. This composter will help to reduce your waste output, save money, eliminate all food waste from your trash by turning your waste into water, carbon dioxide and a small amount of solid material. Are you composting or burying? Burying means animals could dig him up again.

How it works: this composter digests your waste by using sunlight. The double walled solar cone creates a heat trap of circulating air to encourage bacteria growth, while the soil filters out smells and prevent access by flies, natural micro-organisms and worms migrate feeling in and out of the basket and break down waste and nutrient rich water enters the surrounding ground.


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RE: Burying my dog

I've buried a couple of cats. I just dig down a few feet (deeper is better), mound the dirt and cover with rocks or bricks. Something to keep any animals from digging. I've never had a problem with odors. I would think a dog that large would need to be 4' + down. Have you checked your town ordinances? It may not be legal to bury an animal in your yard (but who's going to know??)


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Around here if you get your animal put to sleep the doctor will not give the body back to you. You have to get a licensed pet mortician to claim the body.


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  • Posted by RpR_ 3-4 (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 10, 12 at 0:21

You have my sympathy as I know it hurts.

I have buried two dogs and five cats. I put wrapped them in old shirts as the thought of them lying in the cold ground bothered me.


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God I cant read this anymore :( It makes me so sad


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I guess that is a point about it being illegal, but I was reading on the thread that people are composting things like road kill. I have never tried and it was not a smelly mess, and no one knew or noticed. Otherwise you have to pay money to a pet service. I was very upset to find they charge me heaps of money, but when I wanted to go see the "burial ground" I found out the had tossed them a cow pasture. You have to pay really big bucks for a real burial. The place is called Bubbling Wells. I will never forgive them. So, I am very cynical now about trusting any of those services. If they were lying to begin with they might as well have told me, that my dogs went to the nice burial grounds. What they do is mislead you. They show lovely photos, but that is only when you spend like 1,000 dollars plus. The discount burial does not even go to Bubbling Wells it goes to an unknown cow pasture. I could do that myself for free. I could throw my dog in a cow pasture if I wanted to be so heartless.


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I just buried our twenty something year old cat curled up in a shoe box with a towel wrapped around her--barely a foot deep in the part of the garden she liked to hunt in. She is the last of a lot of cats I have buried out there---the vet we go to makes a cast of their paws with their name on it and sends us a card in a couple days. We have already acquired a rescued cat another torti who has settled right in like she was always here---sleeps between us and purrs constantly. But I still miss Chloe and better not tell my wife I talk to her out there. ---------Weedy


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Oh, look how tender blaze and weedy are!


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I know, weedy's post made me cry. I have 2 kitties and can picture them curled up in a shoebox. :_(

Deanna


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RE: Burying my dog

I am so sorry about your dog. It's so hard when your pet is so sick. We just put our 20 year old cat to sleep a few months ago.

We buried our cat three feet deep. We put her in her favorite basket wrapped in one of the blankets she liked. My husband says some places have rules about minimum depth if you are going to bury animals.


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20 something years old? I thought my friends cat blue was old! He had 3 legs, one eye, hopped when he walked and was missing teeth at age 15! And he was the healthy one of the bunch. He outlived all his siblings and mom cat. We must have seriously buried like 12 cats in different backyards around the county. And thats not including the ones that just never came home one night and were never seen again.

I dont know what is harder. Dealing with a death of a pet or constantly wondering what happened and where they are at. The terrible things that can go through a persons mind when a loved one, or pet in this case, is missing.


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It was funny when I looked it up online it said you have to wrap them in plastic and put them in a coffin, or it would smell, but it seems to me if you did that, they would never breakdown and it would smell worse for years longer.

Here is a link that might be useful: how to bury a pet link


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Just buried my cat who got bit by a snake.

Only buried with about 8", one shovel depth down.

The shallower buried, the faster decomposition happens (more oxygen).

Have buried lots of rats caught in a rat zapper.

In order to prevent racoons or other animals digging them up from a shallow grave, you just need to be sure no smell remains on the ground surface. Don't let your shovel touch the animal otherwise it might transmit the smell to some dirt that ends up on top.
Place the animal carefully in the hole so that nothing sticks up above ground. Don't let any hair rub off on to the surface.
It also helps if you do it right before a rain storm (or water with a hose) as that will wash away any surface scent.
I've used rats as garden fertilizer. If you bury one next to a tomato plant it will green right up.


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RE: Burying my dog

I can completely relate to this blog. Our beloved Johnson American Bulldog, Dax, died July 14, 2012 and I am still so devastated by his passing. He had severe hip and shoulder dysplacia and watchiing this amazing 120 lb sweet, loving animal fall to the ground - was all we could bear. His last months consisted of many "wagon" walks and carrying him outside and upstairs. We did bury him in the backyard. He is about 4 feet down and the grave was completely big enough for him to lay in comfortably. We wrapped him in his favorite blanket and left his favorite toys near his body. On the top we made a mound, planted plants, placed statues; 1-of a dog with wings, 1-angel and one of a girl with wings holding a butterfly, added more toys, seashells and heart shaped rocks. Even after all of this; I still cry everyday for our buddy. My 18 year old cat, Mittens is buried on the other side of my yard with a kitty statue with wings and other animal statues. So far no smell or problems; just forever heartache. Best wishes to all who have to bury any beloved animal. For many of us...they are a part of our own heart and souls. See you in heaven, Dax. Until we meet again...


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Cathy,

So sorry for your loss of your beloved Dax. Sounds like you made his last days as good as they could possibly have been. He looks like a real sweetie. It will be hard for awhile. It's been a year since we lost our sweet Nala and I still sometimes tear up.

Just found out my other dog has glaucoma. She's 11 yrs old, and I'm not ready to lose another one this soon. Seems like she's aged a lot in the year since we lost Nala. I think it hit her hard too.

Deanna


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Deanna,

I know exactly what you are going through. My black Lab, Shiloh who was 11 years old died in 2010 then two weeks later my 18 year old cat, Mittens died. Dax was the last of my petting animals. I still have a cockatiel but it's just not the same. I would suggest to you, if you plan on having another dog, get one before your other dog dies. It's just too heart breaking being without their love and your old dog can teach the new one. I wish we would have gotten a pup before Dax died. I just thought I'd take a break because he was so ill for so long but my heart literally hurts from missing him. Don't know how much longer I can go without a dog in my life. It's just not the same without one. Good luck to you and thank you for your post. I wish you the best and it is never easy losing our sweet, sweet animals.


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RE: Burying my dog

Adding wood chips to a leaf mixture would be a good idea when a animal is this size.

The road kill deer was reduced to the large bones in one year when composted above ground with wood chips. The New York State study said it would take two or three years below ground.


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We are all nurtured by compost and eventually become compost. That's a comforting thought to me as I dig in my garden.


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RE: Burying my dog

  • Posted by ndip 5A - QUEBEC (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 3, 13 at 10:58

I just googled 'burying a dog' and landed on this forum. I haven't posted in a long time. My beautiful bouvier mix, Cookie, died this morning. She's the black and brown on the left. Thank you all, for the information and my condolences to everyone in this situation.


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My condolences to everyone who has lost beloved pets. I've BTDT many times over many decades and there are many opinions on the subject. Since I live on a large acreage and had a hobby farm for years there are many animals buried here. When we had 2 of our large old dogs euthanized the vet said to make sure that nothing dug them up as the predator would be ingesting the drugs remaining in their bodies. Not that I have much love for coyotes but since our native soil is like concrete DH dug as deep as he could and put a layer of rocks on top of the soil. No sign of anything trying to dig in that area. Sending animal bodies with drugs in them to a rendering plant is unconscionable.

Last year I buried my old cat in my garden and couldn't dig deeper than about a foot so mounded the area with shredded bark mulch and put concrete stepping stones on top. No sign of any interest by any animal and I know my little dog would have tried to dig if she had detected a smell.

I always wrap our deceased pets in unprinted newsprint which I get by the roll at the printing shop. I can't stand the idea of getting dirt on them so they are wrapped carefully and placed in the grave nicely. I do know that earthly bodies are only a vehicle for our earthly life but they deserve our respect.


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  • Posted by ndip 5A - QUEBEC (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 3, 13 at 19:41

I just finished burying Cookie. It took most of the day with a lot of rest breaks, to dig the hole, because I hit heavy clay that came out the size of small boulders. I'd just like to say to CathyinCalifornia, that aside from Cookie, I've buried one small dog and more cats than I can remember and before the dirt goes into the hole, I always say, : "I'll see you in Heaven."


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Dear ndip, So sorry to hear about the loss of your Cookie. I CAN imagine what you are going through. It is one of the most difficult times of our lives.....
Hang in there and know that your beloved Cookie will ALWAYS be with you. Try to remember the good times and how lucky you were to have her. I know it's tough and sending you wishes from California that your heart will mend with time. Take care.


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Feeling saddened by your loss. It's painful. Keep cookie in your heart.

Here is a link that might be useful: 'Where to Bury A Dog'


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  • Posted by ndip 5A - QUEBEC (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 4, 13 at 13:42

I fooled myself into thinking that I was finished crying, until I read the above two posts. Thank you, very much, CathyinCalifornia and TXEB.


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One consideration of how deep to dig is your soil type. A hard clay soil won't have to dug into as much as a loose loam or sandy soil. But since it probably retain odors longer, the surrounding wood chips or other 'browns' are more important. Wood chips, dry compost, leaves, even shredded paper could be used above the deceased.

If I had the option, I'd lay down wood chips and shredded leaves below, on the sides, and above the pet. A few flat paving type stones on top would decrease the change of animals digging on site. A piece of welded wire or hardware cloth might also serve.

Another choice besides making a one-time burial spot would be to adopt a compost pile. Those who find the notion of composting a pet in the regular spot distasteful; might consider digging further down and composting the pet under the regular compost bin. Pet first, then wood chips or leaves, then a divider (hardware cloth or landscape fabric), then use it as a regular compost pile.


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  • Posted by ndip 5A - QUEBEC (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 4, 13 at 18:02

robert,

I did actually consider the decomposition aspect and put the topsoil in the grave before I put the clay soil in. So, it's a good foot of topsoil underneath the clay.


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Not to be morbid, but decomposition in ground below a few inches will be anaerobic. The depth for green burial is chosen to assure that the side effects of that process do not become either a nuisance or a problem above ground. The addition of things we think of for aerobic composting don't really add anything to the process. But if it brings you peace of mind, by all means do so. Just be sure there is an ample covering of soil. In TX State law requires 3 feet of soil to cover human remains, small animals are buried with 2 feet of cover.


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It's been over 3 years since I've buried my beloved pet and reading all these posts still makes me cry to the point that I can barely see to type. It is wonderful to read from such caring, understanding people. It really warms the heart to know that we are not alone. My concern today is that I am selling my house and the buyers are planning to build a garage, yes - you guessed it...right where my Tyson is buried. I am really struggling with this and actually reconsidering the house sale. Not sure what it will take to help me get over this...


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  • Posted by TXEB 9a (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 20, 13 at 15:51

RIPTyson - I understand and appreciate your feelings. Unfortunately, unless we choose to use a licensed cemetery, there is little that can be done over the long haul to safeguard the final resting place of our four-legged loved ones.

First, a question -- are you under a contract now to sell the house; have you accepted an offer made with earnest money deposit? If so you should talk to your realtor, or to your real estate attorney if selling directly yourself. Backing out of a contract could well cost you a good bit of money. If that's the case, and it's worth it to you, then go ahead.

Practically speaking, at some point, you will no longer have control of the property, and a subsequent owner will be able to do with it as they please. The question you need to answer for yourself is what is it worth to you to preserve Tyson's gravesite, and for how long do you believe you can realistically guard it?

Keep Tyson in your heart, that's where he lives. With that, forget worrying about the gravesite. It is only a piece of land that was your's to use for awhile.

This post was edited by TXEB on Sun, Oct 20, 13 at 15:54


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RIPTyson, I have also had to leave a beloved pet buried at a previous property and it's not easy even when one knows the physical remains are not the pet we knew and loved.

I wonder if it would be safe to dig up Tyson's remains and rebury on your new property or is there a risk of contracting any disease from this? How complete would decomposition be after 3+ years? Any knowledgeable opinions on how safe this would be? Would hazmat precautions be required?


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just wanted to say thanks to you TXEB. appreciate you trying to make me think practically and realistically (: I was able to back out of the contract because it was contingent on me finding a house "suitable for my needs"...and of course I didn't really try to. I know I will not be able to guard forever and I was thinking that I was ready to leave him....until I learned about the garage build. And to you luckygal, it is so hard...having him put to sleep was by far the toughest thing I've had to do in my 45 years. I can't imagine digging him up, afraid of what may remain....probably not how I want to remember him. I know he will always be in my heart like TXEB said and I will just need to learn to let go of the gravesite. He was my one & only pet as an adult...a bulldog. I have a dachshund now and she is definitely far different but loved as much. Has helped me in so many ways. Anyway, I appreciate your input. I love the rainbow bridge story, also a big help in the healing process. So, anyone that is going through a loss of a pet and is not familiar with the story, I encourage you to look it up.


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  • Posted by nil13 z21 Mt. Washington L (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 28, 13 at 11:18

after reading through some of this thread I got to thinking about how best to bury a furry loved one. More specifically, where to bury those guys so that they won't be disturbed. I think the best bet would be to check with the building department to make sure you don't bury in an easement and then choose a location in the property's setbacks. Most suburban lots have 15 foot setbacks in the front and back yards and 5 foot setbacks in the side yards where no one will be allowed to build a structure.


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Not to sound heartless, I just want to raise awareness that it CAN be illegal to bury an animal on your property in certain areas. We had an elderly dog pass away a few months ago and called our local animal control and were told that it was illegal to bury an animal on our property and if we did so we would end up with a $500 ticket. Instead, they said we had to pay a $200 removal fee. This completely blew me away, to not be allowed to bury a loved animal and family member on our own property.


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I've prepared myself all day to break the news to my son who left for work only 15 minutes before Prince passed on. I've dug a 2 foot hole for my beloved poodle -lasoapso under a nice bunch of sumac. We will compact the soil well and cover with cedar mulch and flat stones to deter any digging from any other animals. Thanks to all that have posted for their information and sorry for your losses. Pets truly are part of the family. Thanks.


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CLegere,

I'm crying with you. Your cute little Prince looks like a sweetheart...so sorry for your loss.

My sweet Nala has company out there in the garden. My cat unexpectedly died last year, then my daughter's cat died suddenly. So Nala has two kitties for company.

Floridabelle, it's against the law in my city to bury an animal in your yard but I've done it anyway. I don't care. I wasn't about to take my beloved pets to be incinerated. The thought of it made me sick.

Deanna


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Thanks to all of you who posted about the burial of your beloved pets. My husband is working on a wooden coffin for our 17 year old cat. She has been dying from leg cancer for several months and we know it is getting closer to that time. We are looking into at home euthanasia. This is our first pet ( after we got married ) so has been very difficult few months and this week has really been hard. Waiting to hear from a Vet. to see if they can come out. I did not know how far to have the grave dug in our loamy soil or best area to put it. Thanks to all for taking the time. I now have changed my mind about the location. It will be in a corner under a dogwood tree and an area that will most likely not be disturbed by any other owner's when and if we sell in future.


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We live in rock hard clay soil. Almost impossible to dig if there's been no rain. When we lived in the country, we buried many animals that were hit by cars. The dogs usually had no identification on them back then. We tried to dig 4' down, with a layer of lime and ensured to mound soil up. We were much younger then. Twenty years later and a move in the city with the same clay soil. Our beloved pets are cremated, our vet of 19 years has always had a stone carved with their name, year of birth and death. We have a cairn over one that was buried beneath her favorite dogwood. Friends who knew Gladys have always picked up a rock wherever they travel as do we. There is actually a fist size stone from the Vatican! I was concerned about that stone but Gladys was a blessing to all who knew her. In the last year, a new dogwood has taken to growing at the head of her site. Molly, the cat was buried under her favorite dogwood and she too has a sapling coming up after three years. The Dogwoods are reaching their end and seeds have become viable. It amazes me that the saplings are growing so the animals will always have a tree so close to them. Our beloved life saving 15 yr old lab loved the top stair of the back stairs, can't bury her there. So we still have her ashes in the house until I am able to bury her. She loved the sun and gardening. We had to plant extra for her since as a pup she would steal vegetables, sometimes pulling up the entire plant. We are putting her "center stage" in the new vegetable garden area.


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We had to put our much loved dog down on Thursday. We left him at the vet as we thought we would get him cremated however have now decided to bury him at home. My question is, can we wait until he fully defrosts before burying him? My concern is that I don't want to bury him frozen and then know that he will be in a puddle of water when he defrosts. If anyone has any knowledge or experience with this, I would really appreciate it. Thank you in advance.


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I would think the defrosting would be a slow process and the moisture would be absorbed by the soil as it happens. I don't think you need to worry about defrosting him before burying him. I think that would be a mess.


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