A pet’s death can hurt more than losing a fellow human

The perfect coffin for a gerbil is a Celestial Seasonings tea box. With the tea bags removed, the white wax-paper bag inside is the ideal size funeral shroud for a tiny body. This unfortunate factoid, like much of the information about how to dispose of a beloved pet’s body, comes from personal experience. I buried four gerbils in my backyard as a child, complete with incense on their graves and a few words.

As an adult with a puppy well on his way to being over 60 pounds, I hadn’t given much consideration to how I’d deal with other pet deaths until a friend asked me, “this is a terrible question, but what do you do when he dies?”

I dug into the question, and as I did I found that I wasn’t alone in wondering—but that there isn’t a great answer.

Related: Signs of cancer in dogs 

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11 warning signs of cancer in dogs
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11 warning signs of cancer in dogs

Collapsing

If your dog collapses, get to the vet immediately. Collapsing, weakness, and general lethargy (not greeting people at the door like usual or less interaction) are common signs of cancer, says Jake Zaidel, DVM, of Malta Animal Hospital in upstate New York. “I see this particularly in large breed dogs—even if they fall down and seem better the next day, bring them in because it could signal a tumor of the spleen,” says Dr. Zaidel. And don't miss these 10 silent signs that mean your pooch is actually sick!

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Coughing

Coughing doesn’t automatically signal cancer; for example, small breed dogs tend to develop coughs because they have windpipe problems. “If the dog coughs once or twice, it’s of no concern, but if it continues to cough for more than a few days, that’s a concern and could signal lung cancer,” says Zaidel.

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Weight loss

Weight loss is the number-one dog cancer symptom Dr. Zaidel says he sees. It’s often the sign of a gastrointestinal tumor. “I’ve had a lot of dogs stop eating because of gastrointestinal tumors, so they lose weight very rapidly,” he says. Cancer can also cause dogs to lose weight while maintaining their regular appetite. If you notice your dog shedding pounds, either rapidly or slowly, make an appointment with your vet. Make sure you know the surprisingly common dog dangers that lurk in your backyard!

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Mouth changes

Sores, lumps, a strange odor, bleeding, or a change in gum color can be a sign of oral cancer, particularly in older dogs. This cancer sign in dogs often goes unnoticed for too long. “We commonly find visible oral tumors because people don’t examine their pet’s mouth,” says Dr. Zaidel. “Many oral tumors can be really devastating because people don’t find them until it’s really advanced.” He also suggests brushing on a regular basis.

It’s a good idea to watch when your pet yawns or eats, advises Timothy Rocha, DVM, an oncology specialist in New York City. See a vet if you notice something out of the ordinary.

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Nose bleeds

Nosebleeds are never normal, says Dr. Rocha. “With an older dog, a nosebleed is particularly worrisome. It can be a sign of cancer in the nose,” he says. “With younger dogs, I would worry more about something like a foreign object stuck up there before cancer.” (These are the 12 common foods that could be detrimental to your dog's health!)

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Diarrhea or changes in bathroom habits

Occasional diarrhea usually isn’t a sign of cancer in dogs, says Dr. Rocha, but if it persists or gets worse, get your dog to the vet. Constantly begging to go out to go to the bathroom, difficulty peeing/moving bowels, vomiting, or blood in the urine or stool are also potential dog cancer symptoms, according to PetMD.com.

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Discharge

Persistent discharge from the nose or eyes is cause for concern, says Dr. Zaidel. Nasal discharge is a common sign of facial tumors, and eye discharge can signal an eye tumor. (Check out these 23 facts about animals that are actually all wrong!)

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Seizures

Seizures can be a sign of brain tumors and are typically seen in older dog cancer patients, says Dr. Zaidel. If you start to notice sudden and uncontrolled bursts of activity, like champing and chewing, jerking of the legs, or foaming at the mouth, your dog could be experiencing seizures and you should see a vet immediately, according to WebMD.com.

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Skin changes

“Every lump, bump, or skin change should be checked,” says Dr. Zaidel. “It could be benign or cancerous, but it’s always easier to treat the earlier it’s caught.” Feel for bumps, lumps, or swelling as you pet your pooch. If you notice something iffy, don’t delay—there’s no way to distinguish between a lump that’s benign or malignant without taking a sample. Also pay attention to any sores that won’t heal or lesions that seem itchy or painful. Also, don't forget to keep an eye out for these dog flu symptoms.

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Weight gain

Sudden weight gain or bloating can be a sign of cancer in dogs. If your dog is eating less but seems to be bulking up, take a trip to the vet, says Rocha. A sudden spike in appetite also warrants a visit.

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General pain or discomfort

“Pain is a rather substantial sign of cancer,” says Zaidel. If your dog whines or cries out when you pat her tummy or pick him up, call your vet. Mouth tumors may cause noticeable discomfort when eating. (Keep your pet safe and learn which 11 household items can make your furry friend seriously sick!)

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The experts I talked to emphasized that our relationship to pet loss has changed over the last century. “It’s not surprising to me that we feel such grief over the loss of a pet, because in this country at least they are increasingly considered family members,” says Leslie Irvine, a sociologist at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Sixty-eight percent of Americans own a pet, an increase of twelve percent since surveys of pet ownership started in the 1988, when it was already booming. Losing a beloved animal friend is made harder by the relative novelty of the experience, often being a person’s first experience with a close death, and by it being one of the few times most people chose euthanasia to end a life. And depending on the relationship, the loss of a pet can be more traumatic than the grief we feel after the death of family and friends. In part, this is because pets share some of our most intimate relationships—we see them every day, they depend on us, we adjust our lives around their needs—and yet publically grieving their loss is not socially acceptable.

We haven’t always felt this way, though. As a society, Irvine says, we’ve moved from thinking of pets as accessories or mindless pieces of furniture to thinking, feeling beings.

Related: New breeds in AKC 

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New breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje dogs Rhett (L) and Escher (C) along with a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen named Juno (R), new breeds recognized by American Kennel Club (AKC), stand during a meet-the-breeds event at the AKC offices in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje dog Rhett, a new breed recognized by American Kennel Club, plays with its owner during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje dogs Rhett along with a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen named Juno, new breeds recognized by American Kennel Club, stands during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen named Juno, a new breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, stands during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A Lykoi breed of cat, a new breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, stands during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A Lykoi breed of cat, a new breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, stands during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen named Juno, a new breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, stands during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
A Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen breed named Juno, a new breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, stands during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje breed Escher (L) along with a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen named Juno (R), new breeds recognized by American Kennel Club, stand during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje dogs Escher (L) and Rhett (C) along with a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen named Juno (R), new breeds recognized by American Kennel Club, stand during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Nederlandse Kooikerhondje dogs Rhett (L) and Escher (C) along with a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen named Juno (R), new breeds recognized by American Kennel Club, stand during a meet the breeds event at the American Kennel Club offices in Manhattan, New York, U.S. January 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
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Pets become family members because they actively shape how we live. “A lot of people who have pets wake up at a certain time, not because of any alarm clock or any need of their own but because their dog needs a walk,” says Irvine. “Just as other humans participate in becoming family by doing these practices—getting up together, eating together, navigating the bathroom times, and all that—so do animals become part of the rituals that make family.”

And it isn’t just a daily ritual that makes pets familial. We form attachments to animals in the same way that we form attachments to people, says Cori Bussolari, a psychologist at the University of San Francisco. She points to a study in Science from 2015 that found when people gazed into a dog’s eyes, both the person and the dog had increased levels of oxytocin. Oxytocin, sometimes called the love hormone, regulates social interactions. It’s released when humans stare into each other’s eyes, and when parents look at their newborn children. “I’m sure if you did the study with other animals it would be the same,” Bussolari says.

I already imagine losing my puppy will be harder than burying my gerbils, but I also didn’t stare into my gerbils’ eyes quite as much. No matter the species, our bonds with our pets are unlike our other relationships. For one, Bussolari says, they’re entirely dependent on us. For another, Irvine says, “we idealize animals, especially dogs. We create them as these almost angelic characters, so we have this idea of unconditional love for us.” When they die, she explains, it almost seems like a violation of this mythos we’ve built around them.

Related: Presidents and their pets 

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41 presidential pets
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41 presidential pets

Grover Cleveland (1885–1889, 1893–1897)

President Grover Cleveland and his family had a number of pets at the White House, including dogs and exotic birds. First Lady Frances Cleveland was apparently a real animal lover, and the family continued to care for pets after leaving the White House. 

Photo Credit: Getty

Grover Cleveland with Son Francis.

Photo Credit: Getty 

 Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893)

President Benjamin Harrison’s pets included dogs and opossums. Some of his grandchildren, who also lived at the White House, had a billy goat called Old Whiskers.

 (Photo by: Photo 12/ UIG via Getty Images)

Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)

President Theodore Roosevelt also had a large number of pets. In 1908, the Washington Evening Star reportedly wrote, “There is no home in Washington so full of pets of high and low degree as is the White House, and those pets not only occupy the attention of the children, but the President is himself their good friend, and has a personal interest in every one of them.”

 (Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Theodore Roosevelt with his family at Oyster Bay. Undated photograph.

Photo Credit: Getty

Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)

President Woodrow Wilson’s pets included dogs, cats and birds. He also had a flock of sheep that grazed on the White House lawn.

Photo Credit: Getty

Warren G. Harding (1921-1923)

President Warren G. Harding had a Airedale terrier named Laddie Boy, who became a bit of a celebrity during his time at the White House. Harding also reportedly had an English bulldog and a squirrel named Pete. 

Photo Credit: Getty

US President Warren G Harding (1865 - 1923) and First Lady, Florence Harding, watch from a balcony as an annual Easter Monday children's egg-rolling event takes place on the White House lawn, Washington DC, circa 1922. With them is their pet dog, Laddie Boy.

(Photo by FPG/Keystone View Company/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)

President Calvin Coolidge had menagerie that could rival a zoo’s collection. His most famous animal was Billy the pygmy hippopotamus, though he also had a bobcat, donkey, wallaby, antelope, lion cubs, raccoons, dogs, cats, birds ... and more!

(Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

US First Lady Grace Coolidge (1879 - 1957) holds up her pet raccoon, Rebecca, for a crowd of children at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, Washington DC, April 18, 1927.

(Photo by Herbert French/PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

Portrait of American President Herbert Hoover (1874 � 1964) as he poses with his pet dog King Tut, 1930s. (Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

Robert R. Robinson, kennel master at the White House, stands with President Hoover's three dogs: (from left to right) Buckeye, a German police dog; King Tut, a Belgian police dog; and Englehurst Gillette, a Gordon Setter.

(Photo by National Photograph Company/Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945)

President Franklin D. Roosevelt had a famous Scottish terrier named Fala. His family had other dogs as well, including another Scottish terrier named Meggie, a German shepherd named Major and an English setter named Winks. 

 (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

White House terrier Fala, 4, licks his chops as he stands over his birthday cake on April 7, 1944. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had the cake made especially for his beloved pet dog. Five days later, the president died at Warm Springs, Georgia.

Harry S. Truman (1945-1953)

In 1947, President Harry S. Truman received a cocker spaniel puppy named Feller from a woman in his home state of Missouri. The Trumans weren’t very interested in having a presidential pet, so they gave him to their personal physician, Dr. Graham. Truman’s daughter Margaret also had an Irish setter named Mike for a brief time

Photo Credit: Getty 

Miss Margaret Truman, daughter of the President and Mrs. Truman, takes her Irish setter puppy, 'Mike,' for a stroll over White House grounds. The pup is a gift of Postmaster General Robert Hannegan and succeeds Fala as the White House pet.

Photo Credit : Getty 

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-1961)

President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, had a Weimaraner named Heidi and a pet parakeet. 

 (Photo by Ed Clark/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

First Lady Mamie Eisenhower (1896 - 1979) poses with pet weimaraner Heidi, who had just been awarded a lifetime membership to the Tailwaggers Club, Washington DC, 1958. The pair stand under a framed portrait of former preisident Abraham Lincoln.

(Photo by Ed Clark/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)

The Kennedy family had a number of dogs and horses, as well as other pets like hamsters and parakeets. 

Photo Credit: Getty

John F. Kennedy Jr walking his dogs.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Outside the White House's Oval Office, American President John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963) and his children, John (1960 - 1999) and Caroline, play with pony Macaroni, Washington DC, June 22, 1962.

(Photo by Photoquest/Getty Images)

Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969)

President Lyndon B. Johnson had beagles, a collie and a terrier mix. The family also reportedly had hamsters and lovebirds during his White House tenure.  

Photo Credit: Getty 

Close-ups of Johnson beagles in front of the White house wearing campaign buttons for Lyndon B. Johnson for President.

Photo Credit: Getty 

President Lyndon B. Johnson relaxes in his pool with his grandson Lyn and the First Family's new dog, Yuki.

(Photo by � CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Richard Nixon (1969-1974)

President Richard Nixon had a poodle named Vicky, a terrier named Pasha and an Irish settler named King Timahoe. Before he was president, Nixon had a cocker spaniel named Checkers, who became the namesake for a famous speech he gave during his vice presidential campaign in 1952. 

Photo Credit: Getty

President Richard M. Nixon smiles and pets his dogs (L-R) Irish Setter 'King Timahoe,' Yorkshire Terrier 'Pasha' and French Poodle 'Vicky,' outside the White House, Washington, DC, April 30, 1970.

(Photo by Pictorial Parade/Getty Images)

Gerald Ford (1974-1977)

President Gerald Ford had a golden retriever named Liberty, who had a litter of puppies while in the White House. The Fords kept one of the puppies and named her Misty. Ford’s daughter, Susan, also had a Siamese cat named Shan. 

ages)

The Ford family gather for a family Christmas portrait (R-L) son John 'Jack' Ford, President Gerald R. Ford, First Lady Betty Ford, daughter Susan Ford with pet dog Liberty and Liberty's puppy Misty, son Steven Ford, son Mike Ford and his wife Gayle Ford on December 23, 1975 during their annual Christmas retreat in Vail, Colorado.

(Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)

Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter’s daughter Amy received a border collie mix named Grits as a gift from her teacher. The family later returned the dog to her teacher. The Carters also reportedly had an Afghan hound named Lewis Brown and Siamese cat named Misty Malarky Ying Yang.

Photo Credit: Getty 

Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)

President Ronald Reagan had a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Rex and a Bouvier des Flandres named Lucky. They also had a few other dogs, who mostly lived at their California ranch, along with their horses. 

(Photo by Diana Walker//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

President Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy playing with their pet dogs Victory and Millie on their ranch.

(Photo by Time Life Pictures/White House/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

U.S. President Ronald Reagan holding King Charles spaniel Rex.

(Photo by Pete Souza/White House/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

George H.W. Bush (1989-1993)

President George H.W. Bush had an English springer spaniel named Millie ― the subject and “author” of the bestselling Millie’s Book: As Dictated to Barbara Bush. Millie had six puppies while in the White House ― including Bush’s beloved Ranger. 

(Photo by Time Life Pictures/White House/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

President Bush sitting aboard the presidential plane with granddaughter Marshall & 1of his two dogs on his lap.

 (Photo by Time Life Pictures/White House/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

Bill Clinton (1993-2001)

President Bill Clinton’s White House pets included Socks the cat and Buddy the chocolate Labrador retriever.

(Photo via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images).

 President Bill Clinton gives his dog Buddy a kiss in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC 17 September shortly before leaving to deliver a speech to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers at a nearby hotel.

( PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

Photograph of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton with Socks the Cat and Buddy the Dog

(Photo by White House/National Archive/Corbis via Getty Images)

George W. Bush (2001-2009)

President George W. Bush had an English springer spaniel named Spot (Millie’s puppy), two Scottish terriers named Barney and Miss Beazley and a cat named India aka “Willie.” A longhorn cow also lived at the family’s ranch in Texas.  

( TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images)

 US President George W. Bush, with his dog Barney, arrives at Andrews Air Force Base, MD, 10 June 2001. The President and First Lady Laura Bush spent the weekend on their ranch in Crawford, TX, before leaving tomorrow for their first European trip as President.

(SHAWN THEW/AFP/Getty Images)

Barack Obama (2009-2017)

President Barack Obama had two Portuguese water dogs named Sunny and Bo at the White House.

 (Photo by Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images)
Bo (L) and Sunny, the Obama family's new puppy, are pictured on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington in this photo released on August 19, 2013 by the White House.  REUTERS/Pete Souza/The White House/Handout via Reuters 
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On a personal level, the death of a pet is often a person’s first exposure to the loss of a close relationship, says Thomas Wrobel, a psychologist at the University of Michigan-Flint. Human death has been relatively sanitized, he explains. We have an industry for funerals and cremations, and you don’t typically have to deal with a dead body yourself. “With pets it’s a lot more in your face,” says Wrobel. “Unless you do the cremation option, you’ve got this dead dog you have to deal with, which is a lot more intimate experience of the death.”

With pets, you also have to decide if you are going to euthanize, and when. In a study of 305 pet owners, Bussolari found that almost seventy percent chose to euthanize their pet. It’s often medically necessary—the kindest thing to do for a dying animal—but the decision can wrack the owner with guilt. In 2005, Wrobel did a study of the relationship between symptoms of grief and attachment to pets. “In our results we saw that guilt was way up there [on the list of emotional responses], because a lot of people are carrying the animal to where it would be euthanized,” says Wrobel.Years ago, my cat, who I had rescued as a kitten, developed a urinary tract infection that lingered due to a weakened immune system from his feline HIV. I’d tried everything to help him get over it. One day, I came home and saw from his tepid movement that he was clearly in incredible pain—he was dying. Driving to the vet was excruciating, and my mom had to be the one in the room when he was euthanized because I was too upset.

Related: Celebs and their pets 

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Meet "Smoke" my rescue horse. He loves beer! We're meant to be. (to be clear he just loves the smell)
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Glitter residual 3rd eye #milkymilkymilk #mileycyrusandherdeadpetz #milkyisontour
Olivia Benson chewing on Olivia Benson's moon man because she is disrespectful. So glad @therealmariskahargitay took it home and away from this monster. Photo credit: @calvinharris
Missing my pups - but I'm sure they're having an awesome time at "camp"! #Dali #Allegra
Yup, he continues to be the only one in my life who 100% does not care about my busy schedule. #HobbsTheBeast
Pepper is excited that we are taping the second annual #causeforpaws event tonight (promoting animal rescue!) that will air on Thanksgiving on Fox. #savethemall
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New "gigantic" rescue pup! Dora the Explorer. #rescuedog!
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Throwback Thursday to when cole made his acting debut in the 21 video!
#NMM So sorry it's late... Been so busy I forgot it was Monday!! Haha... Here's me and my little son Batman... #nofilterneeded with @devonnebydemi 💁🏻 www.devonnebydemi.com
Daddy's little girl
Well.....we caved. Freddy is the newest member of the family. Damn puppies make me happy.....I mean really happy. #littlebuddy #puppiesmakemehappy #whitelab #clumsy #poopingeverywhere #cutenessoverload #wolfbait #unclescotty
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Norman get your shit together
These 2-a-days are whoopin' our butts, so exhausted - gonna be worth it tho - gotta see the end in the beginning 🙌🏻 #DaddyNDoggyWorkouts #Sabel #AdvoCare
#iloveacat
Am I wearing this right, @cincy_lymcrew? I wrangled my parent's cat for appearance insurance. 👍🏼 #LoveYourMelon
why is toulouse not having it tho? #ThatSlightSideEye
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“After the passing of a pet ninety-nine percent of people say to me in some shape or form, this was harder for me than the loss of my mom, or my grandma,” says Dani McVety, veterinarian and CEO of Lap of Love, a veterinary hospice network. She has found that the option to have in-home euthanasia and pet hospice makes death easier for families.

In-home euthanasia helps remove the negative experience of knowing that you’re driving your pet to their death in a place that you know causes them stress. In her practice, she sees the same kind of anxiety over deciding the right time for euthanasia at the end of a pet’s life. “I’ll tell them, I know you don’t want to hear this right now, but when this is done, you will feel relief,” McVety says. “And people do this thing after it’s done. . .they stand up and put their hands on their head and say, ‘Oh my gosh, I feel so relieved.’”

But despite the fact that 68 percent of Americans own a pet, and have grown to treasure them like members of the family, taking care of a dead animal’s body isn’t the same as dealing with a human corpse. In New York City, if you look up what to do with a deceased pet on the 311 page, you come to this statement:

You can bring the remains of a dead pet to an Animal Care Centers of NYC drop-off location to be cremated for a fee.

You can also put a dead animal out for pickup by the Department of Sanitation on your garbage day. The remains must be placed in a heavy-duty black plastic bag or double plastic bag and a note should be taped to the bag stating its contents (for example, "dead dog" or "dead cat").

If you think that’s appalling, you’re not alone.

“Wow. Wow, you end up just treating it like a raccoon. Wow, that’s crazy,” says McVety. The New York Department of Sanitation doesn’t keep data on how many pets are left on the curb so it’s unclear how often this happens. Other major cities, like Houston and Los Angeles, will pick up pets curbside, and in other cities you can call for pickup.

These guidelines are written so that the city has some response available, but they don’t take the emotional element into consideration, says Bonnie Beaver, professor of veterinary medicine at Texas A&M.

City services aren’t the only ones to fail to see how emotional a pet death can be.

“You feel often isolated, socially,” says Beaver, “because people don’t understand what you’re going through, because they might say, ‘get over it, it’s just a dog’—which is exactly the wrong thing to say.”

Related: Instagram-famous dogs 

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We're a house divided, but I'm a Momma's boy (& she does the shopping) ❤️💛 #gonoles #gogators #butgonolesmore 😛❤️💛💯💙🐊 🏈🏈🏈
Hey Veterans and current soldiers, thanks for protecting our country and freedoms. ❤️ @topherbrophy 📷 by @thedogstyler
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That moment when your mom is mildly stressing about all that still needs to be done but you're straight chillin. #allthechill #shrivelneck
The Little Boy/Girl Who Lost His/Her Name. I've heard about this book from @lostmy.name for some time now and I finally got around to checking it out and ordering one for each kid for Christmas.( I let Archie check his out beforehand, because, I doubt he'll remember anyway 😜.) To say I'm thrilled with the book is putting it mildly. I won't spoil the ending, but I positively cried when I reached the last page! I'm pretty sure the kids will appreciate it too (for years and years to come!) I say this from the heart, If you're stumped for a children's gift and are looking for something with a personalized touch, this might be exactly what you are looking for ❤️. Happy weekend, friends! #lostmyname #nappingwithnora #rescuedog #adoptdontshop (sorry for the reposts; I'm having major techno glitches the past few days! 😳)
Santa we promise we're being good 😉 #mayathesausage #mayapeanutandpeppa * #SausageDogCentral #dappledachshund #miniaturedachshund #dachshundoftheday #sausagedog #dachshundappreciation #puppystagram #dachshund #animaladdicts #dogsofinstagram #barkbox #puppy #animalsco #dachshundsofinstagram #instagram #boredpanda #puppiesofinstagram #instadog #mydogiscutest #doxielove #wienerdog #teckel #christmas
💗
my plan for the weekend...#carbs #FBF 🍞🍞🍞🍞🍞
Stay warm friends ❄️☃️ #thesnowiscoming
'tis the season to be jolly! check out the @amazonkitchen bio for some of my pet necessities. tomorrow make sure to head over to @superscientific for Danny Winget's smart home gift picks. love love love this time of year!
catching up on my vitamin d ☀️#dogsofthestandard #jetsetbean
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When you lose a person, there are rituals—the funeral, the memorial—and it’s acceptable to take time off work and talk about your loss. “What people grieving the loss of a pet don’t realize the first time they lose a pet is the strength of the grief and how long it lasts,” says Wendy Packman, a psychologist at Palo Alto University. “So it surprises the griever, and it really surprises the people who aren’t sympathetic to pet loss.” Although Packman has found that the depth and length of grief is similar to how we grieve people, this social stigma causes it to feel more painful.

“With disenfranchised grief is there is less support, and the grief can be even worse than for a person because there are no rituals,” says Packman, “and when people do go out and do a ritual, when they feel brave enough, they can be ostracized.”

As I was researching this story, friends told me about the lengths they went to in order to bury their pets properly, despite regulations about where and how you may dispose of animal remains. One snuck into their community garden at midnight to bury a pet rat under a rose bush. Another drove out in the middle of the night to bury their cat underneath a beautiful oak tree they pass on their daily commute. Even my gerbil burials, and the funeral I held for my cat were private affairs, in the backyard with my family—our secret, quiet grief shared together.

Related: Inmates care for animals 

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Prison inmates care for abused animals
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Prison inmates care for abused animals
Two puppies look out through a cell door at the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in a former jail that has become a shelter for abused and neglected animals seized in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigations, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Female inmates are searched at the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in a former jail that has become a shelter for abused and neglected animals seized in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigations, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A dog watches inmates in leg chains walk past, at the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in a former jail that has become a shelter for abused and neglected animals seized in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigations, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Inmates interact with a dog at the jail outreach program of the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
An inmate interacts with a dog at the jail outreach program of the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Inmates interact with a dog at the jail outreach program of the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Pictures of rescued dogs hang on a wall at the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in a former jail that has become a shelter for abused and neglected animals seized in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigations, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Inmate Aubrey Herrera, 31, cleans up dog faeces on the roof at the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in a former jail that has become a shelter for abused and neglected animals seized in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigations, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
An inmate walks a dog back into its cell at the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in a former jail that has become a shelter for abused and neglected animals seized in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigations, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Inmate Aubrey Herrera, 31, takes a dog to the roof for exercise at the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in a former jail that has become a shelter for abused and neglected animals seized in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigations, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Inmate Kristina Hazelett, 35, plays with a dog in a cell at the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in a former jail that has become a shelter for abused and neglected animals seized in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigations, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Inmate Aubrey Herrera, 31, (L) jokingly pat searches a dog on the roof of the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in a former jail that has become a shelter for abused and neglected animals seized in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigations, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A dog is seen in a mirror next to a mural at the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in a former jail that has become a shelter for abused and neglected animals seized in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigations, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Inmate Kristina Hazelett, 35, strokes a dog in a cell at the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in a former jail that has become a shelter for abused and neglected animals seized in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigations, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Inmate Aubrey Herrera, 31, plays with a dog at the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in a former jail that has become a shelter for abused and neglected animals seized in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigations, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. Picture taken April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Female inmates walk from their holding cell to the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in a former jail that has become a shelter for abused and neglected animals seized in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigations, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Inmate Kristina Hazelett, 35, wears a hazmat suit to play with a puppy infected with giardia in at the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in a former jail that has become a shelter for abused and neglected animals seized in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigations, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Detention Officer Leanne Weeks, 32, runs a dog back to the MCSO Animal Safe Haven (MASH) Unit in a former jail that has become a shelter for abused and neglected animals seized in Maricopa County Sheriff's Office investigations, in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "DOGS NICHOLSON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
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Packman believes this social acceptability of grieving for pets is changing, noting that she’s seen a rise in memorials for pets and pet cemeteries. But in the meantime, says Bussolari, we grieve our pets so deeply because we feel like we’re not supposed to. “We worry a lot about making people uncomfortable, because then they don’t want to be around us—and if they don’t want to be around us then we’re by ourselves,” she says. “But the reality is that the more we talk about grief, the more we normalize grief.”

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