“My dog just died — what do I do?” Part 2

Click here if you missed reading Part 1 on Burial

 

Cremation

This is the option veterinarians most often offer, especially if your pet passes away from applied euthanasia. Few veterinary clinics conduct cremations themselves, but they partner up with pet crematories in the area to conduct the service for them. The benefit of working with a vet — rather than going to a crematory yourself — is that the vet will handle moving your pet’s body and sending you their remains.

If your pet passes away naturally or you would like more options, you can contact a pet crematory directly. Most pet crematoriums will have the option for your pet to be dropped off or picked up. Though death does not know time, there is unfortunately often an added cost to picking up your pet outside regular business hours. If you need more time and are comfortable with the idea, you can store your pet for months in a freezer.

HeavenlyPaws

One of our partner crematories in Virginia, USA

When you reach a vet or crematory, you will be asked whether you’d like your pet cremated individually or communally. Being cremated alongside other pets tends to be cheaper, but you probably won’t have the option of getting your pet’s ashes back. If you can ask for your pet’s ashes back, you cannot be sure that those ashes are only your pet’s. Being cremated alone delivers the promise of receiving only your pet’s ashes, but of course comes at a higher cost. We’ve found pet cremations cost $150-300 depending on the size of your pet.

Pod-scattering-urn

The Forever Spot Pod and Scattering Urn

When your pet’s ashes are mailed to you, they will arrive in a plastic bag inside a plain tin or wood box. You can pay for a decorative urn for your pet’s ashes ahead of time, and usually a pawprint or lock of fur as keepsakes. While these are good options and commonly used, we believe The Forever Spot Pet Pods and Scattering Urns make much better choices. Unlike traditional urns whose only purpose is to hold remains, the design behind the Forever Spot products create rituals for saying goodbye. Compared to human funerals, memorializing pets has very few guidelines. Those who cremate their pet often feel “it all happened so quickly” and those who don’t get ashes back feel they “didn’t get a proper goodbye”.

The Pod and Scattering Urn provide ways to take back the beauty of having a ritual and honoring your pet’s life. By detoxifying ashes, amending the soil, and planting a living memorial over your pet’s grave, The Forever Spot will give you a proper chance to say goodbye while offsetting the environmental impact of cremation.

“My dog just died — what do I do?” Part 1

If your pet just passed away or you anticipate they’ll pass away soon, you may be feeling lost about what to do. Here we address the two options almost everyone has at their hands: cremation and burial. We talk about how to choose between them or combine the parts that best fit your circumstances and values. Hopefully this post provides a guide in what can be a really difficult period of time.

 

Burial 

Burying your pet directly into the ground is, in our opinion, the simplest and most natural way to say goodbye to a pet. The physical labor of digging the earth and personally resting your pet in the ground can be extremely cathartic, as described by one of our adopters, Judd.

Judd burying Hallie

Judd burying his dear dog, Hallie

Another enormous benefit to burying your pet, particularly on your own property, is being able to visit them. If you cannot find a friend or family member willing to volunteer space on their land, you can bury your pet at a cemetery. We have found that burial plots at pet cemeteries cost between $300 and $800. For some pet owners, having a permanent place to visit is worth every penny. There are also a few places where you can be buried with your pet, called “whole family” cemeteries.

Regardless of where your bury your pet, it is good to have about 2 feet of earth above them. This is shallow enough for effective decomposition to take place. It is also deep enough for the smell of your pet to be masked from scavengers and other animals. Sometimes there are regulations pertaining how far you must bury your pet from a water source (e.g. at least 25 feet from ponds and streams and 100 ft from the water line). If you can’t find the local laws in your county or province online, call your local Animal Control department — they usually know the answer.

Pet-Shroud

If want to bury your pet, The Forever Spot Pet Shroud is your best option. Made of organic cotton and biomaterial, the Shroud is a soft, warm, and eco-friendly option for wrapping your pet. The same mushrooms and organisms in our human suits are in this Shroud to return your pet to the earth beautifully, simply, and without harm to the environment.

 

Click here to read Part 2 on Cremation

 

What you didn’t know about losing a pet

This week, we had a chance to talk to Kathy Reiter, a grief counselor who has been helping folks with pet loss for over 40 years. She was the first pet loss counselor in northern Virginia, and continues to volunteer support groups for folks in the region.

Here are some lesser known truths about losing animal companions we learned from Kathy:

  1. Most companion animals avoid showing pain to their owners in fear of alarming or worrying them. Owners have to be vigilant for signs like their furry friend going into another room or seeming detached (low energy or emotion) when they are looked in the eyes.
  2. Loss of appetite or thirst is another tell-tale sign that a pet is approaching its end. The companion animal could also just be sick, so visiting a vet (or having a “mobile” vet visit you) is vital at this stage.
  3. Some pets will pass away naturally if given permission or asked to die from their owners. Sometimes affirmation from their human best friend is really all they are waiting for, like being told “I love you and I will miss you, but you should go now.”
  4. It is 100% normal to feel like a family member has passed away when a pet dies. Some people truly develop a deep connection with their pet and losing their pal feels as horrible as losing a soulmate. Know that each person grieves as uniquely as a fingerprint.

So let’s give each other room to be unique. Perhaps The Forever Spot fits the special relationship you had with your pet. Getting a shroud may help you to finally acknowledge their mortality.

We at Coeio would be honored to help however we can. Reach out to us at hello@coeio.com

Wide Open Pets: “The Forever Spot: An Eco-Friendly Burial Choice for Your Pets”

Recently our friends over at Wide Open Pets took the time to interview us and wrote an article about The Forever Spot on their website. Be sure to check out all their other pet-related articles over at www.wideopenpets.com!

 

The Forever Spot: An Eco-Friendly Burial Choice for Your Pets
by Mateja Lane

The Forever Spot by Coeio makes sure that your loved pet can be laid to rest in an eco-responible way. Their slogan says it all:

Take care of your pet, take care of the planet.

When a pet owner has to inevitably say goodbye to their furred, feathered, or scaled friend, they now have the option to bury them in organic material that helps the pet return to the earth in an environmentally friendly way.

The pet is essentially wrapped in a shroud that contains a combination of mushrooms and organic materials that makes decomposition eco-friendly.

We caught up with Jae Rhim Lee from The Forever Spot to learn a little more about this unique product.

How did eco-burial research come about? How were the combinations of mushrooms and other microorganisms originally tested?

“In 2007, I traveled to Northern California for an artist residency where I hoped to kickstart research for a project to create an “antidote” to our cultural death denial. During that time, I visited a green cemetery and learned about green burial. Shortly after, I took another field trip to a permaculture center and learned that mushrooms are the “master decomposers of the planet,” capable of cleaning environmental toxins and combating cancer, among other amazing feats. Somehow, during my time on the California coast, everything I was thinking and learning about converged, and I had an epiphany: the antidote I was looking for lay in the mushroom’s ability to break down organic matter and environmental poisons.

I began cultivating mushrooms and testing how to best apply combinations of mushrooms and other microorganisms to burials. What began as an artistic provocation is now a company, Coeio. Coeio now provides alternatives burial products for people and is the maker of The Forever Spot, a green burial container for pets.

Our biomix is built into all of our products – aiding in decomposition, working to neutralize toxins found in the body and transferring nutrients to plant life.”

Once a Forever Spot product has been shipped to a pet owner, are they allowed to bury it themselves?

“Yes, The Forever Spot products have been designed to facilitate a respectful transfer of a pet from a vet clinic or home to the final resting place by the pet owner.

There are two options for pet burial – home burial and burial at a Pet Cemetery. For home burial, ordinances vary by municipality, so we suggest researching local laws when deciding on a forever spot for your pet. Generally, it is legal to bury your pet on property you own.”

Dog Grave

How is this a better option for grieving pet owners than, let’s say, cremating them?

“The Forever Spot allows pets owners to continue to care for their pet, even in death.

Also, The Forever Spot offers pet owners an environmentally friendly way to say goodbye. Our customers and pet owners find meaning and value in choosing green end of life options for their pets…”

“I’ve been interested in Coeio’s products for my green end-of-life planning for some time. Given that, why wouldn’t I consider that option for our family pet as well? I’m proud to say my wirefox terrier’s burial will be true to the earth, the way he would want it to be.” — David W.

“Cremations are environmentally harmful –  emitting organic pollutants, particulate matter and heavy metals into the atmosphere. In the US, the practice uses enough fossil fuels each year to drive halfway to the sun. For pet cremation, there are usually two options, individual cremation (where the pet owner is given back the remains) and group or communal cremation (where the ashes are buried or scattered together by the crematory). Burying ashes in concentrated amounts is also harmful to plant life.”

How has Coeio’s Forever Spots been publicly received?

“Our customers have expressed finding comfort in our products during the difficult time of having to say goodbye to their pet…”

“I can’t express the complete and utter sadness of her loss – but the pod gave both of us SUCH A HUGE sense of warmth and relief. She’s buried under a lemon tree she loved to play under. We made sure she had her snacks and toys with her. The instructions were so clear, and the material was so grounding. I never could have imagined something so beautiful. I literally love you for your spirit and genius. I believe in Coeio so, so deeply.” – RR

Are y’all working with veterinarian offices nationally?

“We are beginning to explore partnerships with Veterinarians nationally, and would be honored to partner with veterinarians to offer The Forever Spot to more pet owners. Our pilot veterinary partner is Dr. Lynn Hendrix of Beloved Pet Mobile Vet in Davis, California.”

Anything else you want to add?

“We want to create a more gentle and environmentally friendly way to say goodbye to our beloved pets, together.”

You can buy a shroud product in the Traditional version, which is a wrap that you roll your pet in; or in the Comfort version, which is a round bed that is closed with a drawstring. Depending on the size of your pet, you have the option of a mini, small, medium, large, or extra large shroud which range from $50-$275.

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Burying our pets is something most owners don’t want to face, but to know that there is an option as natural as The Forever Spot is comforting.