It’s not easy to think about our own mortality. We worry about the people we’re leaving behind, and in some cases, the four-legged ones as well.
But some people are taking their love for their pets a little too far. Like, to the grave with them.
I read a story this morning on MSNBC.com that made me cringe. Author Diane Mapes told the story of Tom Tom, a completely healthy 2-year-old Yorkshire terrier who was euthanized and laid to rest with his owner Donald Ellis, who had left instructions to be buried with his beloved pet.
Then there was a Shih-tzu named Sam, whose owner, Emily Kinney’s grandmother, asked that he be put down and buried with her in the event of her death.
“She said if she should die before her dog, my dad’s first job was to take Sam and have him put to sleep,” she told MSNBC.com. “She wanted to be buried with her best friend. She knew that there were plenty of people in the family that would take him but she wanted her best friend with her.”
Sam passed away before the family was forced to make the decision to euthanize the pet according to their grandmother’s wishes or let him live out his life.
People make the decision to be buried with their pets based on a variety of reasons, according to the article, ranging from “she can’t live with anyone else, she’s too picky” to “no one else will love him as much as I do” or even “the pet’s grief from my passing will prevent them from thriving.” Some feel leaving a pet behind puts an unnecessary burden on loved ones.
Now, it’s no secret that I’m an animal lover. I’ve never met a dog or cat I didn’t like, and I’ve spent many years giving to causes like the SPCA of Southwest Michigan and the Michigan Humane Society. And I have to say: I can think of few things more selfish than ending the life of your perfectly healthy pet to satisfy your needs.
I can absolutely sympathize with the strong bond that is formed between a pet and its owner. They become a part of the family, and parting with them for any reason would be very difficult. But I think it’s important to take a step back and really appreciate the gravity of the situation.
Pet owners have options, including setting up a trust for a pet to ensure its well-being after an owner’s death, as well as pre-paid pet insurance or adoption through a no-kill animal shelter. At the end of the day, the best thing you can do is prepare in advance to ensure a smooth transition for you and your beloved pet.
Post by Erica Finley, digital media strategist at The Urbane Way and @Erica_Urbane on Twitter. At The Urbane Way, we specialize in social media marketing and PR and lifestyle branding. How can we help you?
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