My Dog Died and I Need Your Advice Soon, Please.

Updated on August 16, 2012
✪.P. asks from Skokie, IL
21 answers


My sweet furry baby, Jessie died this evening around 8:15. (It is now after 1 in the morning and I can't stop thinking about her.) She is currently in her bed in the laundry room. She was a trooper! At 7 she was diagnosed with cancer. She was given approx. 2 yrs. to live even if she had surgery to remove the mass AND do chemo. Well, we took her to another vet and he never gave us a time frame nor did we really ask. She had chemo and surprised us all by making it into her teens! Sadly today, she dropped dead in the kitchen. (She would have been 15 yrs. old in Oct.)

We plan to take her to the vet nearby us. Before my twins were born, we handed our last dog, also a Cocker Spaniel, over to them for her to be cremated. However... it just did not sit well with me to just say goodbye to her on the table of one of the animal check up rooms. I do know about the Rainbow Bridge poem and we believe in God. So... that info. might just guide you in how you give me suggestions.

My question is .... Do you have any suggestions on how to handle the cremation discussion with my 10 year olds ? I know they don't like the idea and well... it has never sat well with me either. And.... for me, I don't find it settling to have the ashes in my house. I live in the Chicagoland area and I would consider a pet cemetery. I think that would really be better on my kids. I don't know how much it would cost exactly and I don't know who to turn to in this matter regarding a pet burial. I just don't know how expensive it gets and I would wonder if my dog was really buried. I also just read a review from a pet cemetery that got me thinking twice about it since the topic of flies was in this person's review. I guess having my dog cremated could possibly work if you have some kind/comforting words that I could use when discussing it tomorrow morning. I live in Arlington Hts., and I am not even sure if burying your pet in your own backyard is allowed. I don't think that idea would "sit well" with any of us, either.

My kids know she died. (They came running into the kitchen right after I did.) After awhile of me holding her, we placed her in her bed. I am thankful the kids and my husband were able to fall asleep tonight. One minute she was walking around the kitchen, and the next thing .... she collapsed on the floor. It was so sad seeing her take her last breath. She also "came to" again after two intense seizures last summer. I am wondering if she was going into another one. (She'd have about 3 or 4 seizures a year that began around five years ago.)

If you could offer advice... please do so soon, as we need to move forward in the morning with what to do next.

Thanks a lot,

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So What Happened?

Thank you for your support. I really appreciate it and I know there are people who have it worse. Even though she was old, she was still my baby. I have been crying so much and I just have to remember there will be better days ahead. I used some of your ideas to help me with my conversation about cremation, mainly the part about saying that Jessie's soul will be with us and her body was a "shell" (one very cute shell). I read excellent reviews about a guy named Joe from Bloomingdale that's compassionate and all. Well, I called and he was just exactly like the reviews said. He came to our house and took Jessie. He said the right amount of words, I felt.... not too little and not too much. I often called her "My Little Shadow" because where ever I went in the house, she followed. (That following part someone ended about 6 months ago because she began to sleep a lot more.) She also lost her hearing last year so she stopped barking when the doorbell rang. I sure am going to miss my cutie pie in the kitchen... she'd often wake up if she saw me busy in the kitchen. (That's where one of her dog beds stayed.) Anyway, thanks again. You guys are great to help a stranger out.

Featured Answers



answers from Chicago on

I don't know anything about expenses, but I do know there is a pet cemetery in Vernon Hills, IL

Aarrowood Pet Cemetery

24090 N Us Highway 45 Vernon Hills, IL 60061


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answers from Los Angeles on

When my dog dies, he's 13, I'm going to dig a deep hole and bury him there. Then I'm going to plant a nice tree on top of him so he won't be dug up when I pass away or move.

He's been a good friend. His name is Shadow and the shade of the tree will remind me of Shadow. (Pun on purpose.)

I'm sorry you lost your friend. Good luck to you and yours.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I'm sorry for your loss. :(. I know it's very hard.
You can bury cremated remains if you don't want the ashes at home.

The body is a shell. Her spirit is free. The bones and fur and organs can return to the earth in any firm, in many ways.

Most pet cemeteries are very ethical.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I am very sorry for your loss. In these situations, I have a lot of owners who will simply bury the pet in their backyard. I don't think in many places it is actually legal to do so, but that doesn't stop people from doing it and I am not going to rat them out either. Or you could have her cremated and have the ashes buried if you don't want them in your house, or have them scattered someplace special - I've known many people to do that as well.

Discuss it as a family, and remember that Jessie's spirit will be with you always and forever live in your hearts and memories - what is in front of you is simply a body. (((HUGS)))

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

all of my animals are buried on our land - I'm not sure if it is allowed or not, but we didn't ask! We just wanted them close, we have 10 acres though, so we chose a quiet spot under a tree. We now have two dogs and 2 cats there. I think cremation is a good choice, because then you can scatter the ashes on your property, and they will always be with you. You could mix the ashes with some dirt and put it in a big pot, then plant a fruit tree, or a palm, then you could take her with you if you moved.
It is so sad when your animal dies, I think the truth is always best with children, explain to them, that the body is a shell, and the spirit of your dog is in heaven.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

oh, i'm so sorry. that's so dang hard.
if all options were open to you, what WOULD sit well with you?
i considered cremation for my pony but it was just too expensive. if that's not an issue, you could have him cremated then bury the ashes on your property.
dogs and cats and hamsters and lizards all get buried here. i like that the last hands on them are mine, wrapping them in blankets, and herbs, and mementos. of course that's not for everyone.
i doubt your worries about your pet not being buried at a pet cemetery are well founded. there are unethical people everywhere, but i'm sure most of those who run these places are sympathetic and honest.
your girl is fine now. all you need to do is decide what's best for your family.
we had our old dog max (who is buried here) memorialized by these folks. it's a wonderful likeness of him and my dh was moved to tears when i gave it to him.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I'm so sorry. We lost our dog of 18 years last fall, and it was devastating to our entire family. Our boys were 7 and 13 at the time.

We opted for cremation, but spread her ashes in our yard. We live on several acres, and have been here forever. We know we aren't moving anytime in the foreseeable future. Also, her ashes were returned to us in a beautiful box, and we went through all of our picture albums and pulled pictures of her. After 18 years, there was a surprising number of pictures of her. We put all of the pictures of her in the box. We all went through the pictures together and remembered all the J. she brought our family, and it helped us get through the sorrow.

We also discussed burying the ashes as an option.

I'm sorry you're having to go through this.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

J., my heart breaks for you, as I just lost a pet very recently as well. I don't have advice for burial vs. cremation, but my only advice is to call the vet, explain your situation, and let them help you make the best choice for your entire family. Or your local SPCA, some have grief counselors that can really help. I know they have them here in Texas, and as an SPCA volunteer I know they were an important part of helping families heal.

My hugs go out to all of you and bless Jessie for making it so long, she sounds like she was a great dog and was loved very much!

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answers from Baton Rouge on

We bury ours in the back yard, and have a leavetaking ritual in which we cast a circle and give them back to the elements.

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answers from Chicago on

This is something I have not yet had to face, as I grew up in the country, and we buried our dogs in the backyard ourselves, but I would probably opt for cremation or a pet cemetery if it's affordable.

One suggestion I did have is that there are places that can make jewelry from your pet's hair, so you may consider saving a bit (brush out the fur or clip a bit?) so that you have a special memento, or you could put some in a locket for yourself.

My thoughts are with you; losing a pet is harder than most people realize.


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answers from Dallas on

:( So sorry you lost your friend.

How about having her cremated and spreading her ashes somewhere? Maybe in the back yard, maybe in a park she liked to go to, or in the lake if she liked water. You can have a ceremony with flowers. Explain to your kids how happy she must be in heaven. My kids and I are always talking about how fantastic heaven must be. We lost a beloved guinea pig a few months ago, and they still talk about how he must have all the hay he could eat, his favorite treats, and a warm comfy fuzzy bed to sleep in, in heaven. And they know he's waiting for them. They are comforted by that.

Let them know that it really doesn't matter what we do with the body, because your precious, beloved dog isn't using it any more. Figuring out what to do after they pass on is really just for us. So however you are comfortable, that is what you should do.

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answers from Boca Raton on

I'm so sorry for the loss of your dog.

I had to send my dog to heaven when he was almost 15 years old. It was the hardest decision I've ever had to make so far, in my life!!!! That was almost 5 years ago and I can still cry about it.

We did bring our dog to the vet and we did get him cremated. I felt more comfortable with that. I ordered a urn that looked exactly like him online and have a designated area in our living room, where his collar, urn, and a few framed pictures are.

:( I know how painful it is to loose a pet!

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answers from Kansas City on

There is also the option of getting her cremated but not keeping the ashes. We had the option of letting them cremate our dog and disposing of the ashes themselves or keeping the ashes. We kept the ashes because my husband wants to be buried with her. If he didn't we would have let them deal with it. We aren't allowed to bury her in our backyard here.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Erie on

You can have them scattered someplace. Our dog passed recently as well and we got his ashes and found someone that made a beautiful oak doghouse that we put his remains in. He placed a picture of him in the doghouse "door" and that's where we have him. It's not very big and sits on the shelf. it's a beautiful rememberence and no one really knows that he's "in there". most people just think it's a neat little doghouse :)

Our vet also has a memorial garden that they sprinkle ashes in. I know my sister sent hers away and someone took them and made a beautiful stone type thing out of them that she has on the mantle. Google it...i'm sure you will find some neat ideas to remember her by.

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answers from Indianapolis on

My heart breaks for you. A couple of weeks ago, we were out of town and got a call from the kennel that our loved 9 year old puppy had passed away during the night. I was 2 hours away trying to make arrangements for her. I did have her cremated, hardest thing. We did not get her ashes back and I didn't go into details with my kids (13,10 and 4) on that process. My biggest regret is that I didn't know the vet offered a service to have her paw print molded into clay. That would have been the perfect option for us...I didn't want to see her after she passed and didn't necessarily want her ashes, but a paw print would have been so wonderful to have.
Prayers for comfort and healing to your family. Our pets are truly members of our family.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on


I am so so sorry for your loss of your beloved pet. My heart breaks for you. I know how hard it is to lose someone you love. My suggestion would be to consider having a family ceremony, bury her in your backyard and maybe write a nice obituary for her. I find the closer and more intimate, the better I heal. I am not sure how your kids will handle this or these topics-but I do know that the best way is with love, kindness and honesty. If you are not sure what to do, thats ok. You can tell your kids that too. So sorry for your loss. May you find comfort tonight and get some rest.


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answers from Amarillo on

I am sorry for your loss. I lost two of mine about seven years back. We had them cremated and they are in their boxes on a shelf in my sewing room with their pictures. The family knows that when I go some day they are to be put in the box with me and we will be buried together somewhere.

I still grieve on ocassion for one that was "the two kids I never had" pet. So she holds a very special spot in my heart. The other a Daschund had a back problem that would cost much and not guarantee that it would work. My daughter was with me with we put that one down at the vet's office.

You will be in my thoughts.

The other S.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

If you would like to burry him there is a beautiful Pet cemetery in or near Buffalo Grove. I think it is on 45, near Hawthone. I have no idea what they charge, but I have been there, it is really well kept up and peaceful. It looks and feels just like a people cemetery.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Reading on

I am so sorry! We have had to put 4 of our dogs down and we have all of their ashes. They are all sitting on our mantle. I couldn't bear not having them with us. Our kids know that their souls are in doggie heaven but their ashes are with us. To be honest, it's been 3 years since I had to put Solomon down and there's not a day that goes by that I don't think about him. He was my baby.

Sending lots of hugs your way!

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answers from Chicago on

I'm so sorry you lost your buddy!!! Very sorry!!

A million hugs to you!

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answers from Dallas on

I am so sorry for your loss. We had a similar situation as 3girlsforme. We got a call while on vacation that our cocker was very ill. We had to come home and put him to sleep. We have a place to bury our pets and put him there.
Our children are much older so we can talk to them very frankly now. Sorry I wish I had more advice for you.

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