Burying People with Pets

by M-Rebeiro

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring, it was peace.” Milan Kundera

It is a common practice to bury people with their loved ones, whether it be siblings, spouses or parents. Another practice with questionable status, however, is the burying of people along with their pets. Over the years, various outlets have reported this occurring, either with pets in human cemeteries or vice-versa.

In the UK, only about half a dozen cemeteries allow for burial of pets in the same plot as their owners. One such business, a joint pet crematorium and woodland burial in South England, has buried more than 30 owners along with their pets with more than 100 reserved for the future.

In the United States the practice is also on the rise, with some funeral homes reporting more than 70 joint burials in 2010. In the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, several pet owners have elected to have their cremated remains interred there with their pets instead of in traditional plots, though in June 2011 New York state law prohibited this, stating that humans must be buried in non-profit human cemeteries. This law has been challenged by several New Yorkers.

The idea isn’t exactly a new one. Anglo-Saxon nobles were buried with many of their possessions, which included horses. Even further back, Egyptian pharaohs were buried with their mummified cats, which they believe shared an afterlife with humans. The rise of Christianity however, along with it the idea that only humans possessed souls, effectively stamped out the process until recent times.

photo c. Galina Barskaya – fotolia.com

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