Whether it is due to religious beliefs or simply personal preference many people prefer the idea of burial to cremation. Current legislation allows pets to be buried either in the property where they last lived or in a licensed pet cemetery. Any burial requires careful consideration. People have different ideas and we should not be held back by conventions when we decide how we want to commemorate our pets’ lives. Where many will want a permanent resting place they can visit others will feel that after several years the feelings may change and they may not want to be tied down. Others may like the idea of keeping the grave at home or the feeling of freedom they may get from a woodland or pasture burial. So let us look at the options.
Burial at Home. This is the traditional resting place for many family pets but digging a grave is no easy task. In a heavy soil there should be at least two feet of soil on top of the burial but in a light sandy soil we would advise three feet. You may wish to have a coffin for your pet and you can buy a range from eco-friendly ones made from cardboard, willow, jute and bamboo through to more elaborate and solid traditional coffins. If you do not use a solid coffin then be sure to cover the grave with some paving stones to stop any wild animals digging down. Before you go ahead think about how you will feel having the grave in the garden. Many people simply do not like the idea once the pet is buried or do not want to leave their pet when they move.
Burial in a Pet Cemetery. This can range from a formal burial plot to a ‘green’ burial where trees are planted on the grave. All cemeteries are different and it is important to visit the site to see if it appeals to you. Association members have a range of different cemeteries. Firstly decide on the type of burial plot you want and how or if you wish to have the plot marked in any way. Then see what cemeteries are nearest to you and if they meet your requirements. You may have to travel some distance to find one that satisfies you. The Cemetery will usually provide the grave and the practical side of the burial. You are usually free to carry out your own ceremony but discuss any specific details with the staff in advance.
Whilst every Cemetery is different there are a few points to consider which are relevant to all.
Will the cemetery be permanent? A number have closed over the years due to the uncertainty with changes in legislation or simply because they overestimated the market for the service. Many people who start pet cemeteries do not realise that demand for burial is relatively small and that a cemetery alone is unlikely to be a viable business. After a few years they close so it is advisable to ask what would happen to your grave should this occur.
How is the Cemetery maintained? In a formal Cemetery there is usually a Maintenance Fee which is either a one off payment or an annual fee. This ensures the grounds will be maintained and the Cemetery can run as a profitable business. This is the best protection you can have for your grave and you should ask questions if there is nothing in place.
How can the grave be marked? Cemeteries have their own regulations on this and you should check that they match your requirements.
What are the visiting rights? If you want to visit then check that the opening hours suit you, particularly if you have to travel a long distance.