Registered: 1563296887 Posts: 5
I am frozen in indecision as to whether to bury or cremate my beloved Australian Cattle Dog, Shadow.
He is getting put down later today, as his bone cancer seems to be progressing. He is not comfortable anymore. I am distraught that I have to kill my dog. He is still eating and still follows me, although now he waits until I settle in one place before limping after me. I've put beds in every room of the house so he can be comfortable. I've known he has cancer for 5 months. My husband has asked me to make a decision on what to do with his remains, but I'm weirdly incapable of making the choice. It's like it makes it real to me. I don't want to keep wasting his hours left agonizing over this. My husband is getting frustrated, because he needs to know if he's digging a hole or not. This is the first property that I've ever owned, so burial was never an option for me. I, personally, prefer to be buried. But I don't know that we're going to live here forever. We've been here less than 10 years, but it's a desert. I've moved often throughout my life. It seems terrible to bury him outside, and then one day just leave him. What if I sell the house and someone finds his body and throws him away? In cremation, I destroy both his life and his body. It's sudden. It increases the natural process, and completely destroys his body very rapidly. There's just nothing left but bone dust and ashes. My dog would be just...gone. However, I would have an urn that could stay in the house with me. I'd get a paw print and an ink print of his nose and paw. I don't like either option, because he's gone either way. At this point, my husband is getting really frustrated, and I'm wasting Shadow's remaining moments agonizing. Why can't I just get on with it and make a choice? It's disconcerting that I seem incapable of taking care of my dog in this most basic, final choice. Perhaps it's a way of not facing that I have to put him down. We're having the vet come to the home so he's not stressed. I'm going to have to tell him it's okay while the vet is giving him a shot, but it's not okay. I'm having him killed. It's just that he's getting worse. He spends all his time in bed now. It could get bad. He's still eating, but I think he'd do that until the end. I thought he'd stop eating when he was ready to go, so I'd feel like there was no choice. This is terrible. I'm letting him down. I'm in my 40s. Making difficult decisions is part of being a responsible person. Why can't I figure this out? Please, is there any advice? My husband went out to get diesel in case he needs to use the tractor to dig a hole. I can't still not know what to do.
Registered: 1498611382 Posts: 578
I am sorry that you are losing Shadow and are torn with what to do. The decision should be yours and yous alone but speaking from past experience, I will always choose cremation. Why, you may wonder.In the past I have had other dogs that meant a lot to me and I decided to bury them so that I could visit their graves, I don't live there anymore where their resting place as life would have it (divorce) and every time I pass the place they are buried, I feel guilty that they aren't with me. So the last two that I've lost I decided on cremation. If I move they can go with me. Also when I pass I want cremated and their ashes buried with me that way we will never be separated. I know that their ashes are just what is left of their earthly bodies but I think we all need to keep that part of them. Either their ashes or their grave is a place of solace.
I know this is really hard for you and I am sending you all my compassion and support at this most difficult time. Please come here often to get the support you need. We all share your grief. We've all been where you are now. Love and doggie hugs Termy's mom
Registered: 1560802074 Posts: 10
I'm so sorry you have to make this terrible decision for your boy. It is heartbreaking, I know. I had to put my beautiful cat to sleep last month after 16 years together. I miss him every day.
I am glad I chose cremation for my precious boy, but it is what I want for myself after I die. I will keep my baby with me until I finally arrive at a good place to scatter his ashes.
But if you prefer burial for yourself, you may want to choose this for your boy. One thing to consider when burying him would be if animals would have access and might dig him up. Have you considered burial at a pet cemetary? Then you would always know where to visit him and they would always let you in.
I'm so very sorry. I know this is so hard. In the end, we have to choose the best option from no good options. I'm sure whatever you decide, your baby will understand.
Registered: 1563296887 Posts: 5
Thanks, everyone. I didn't know what to do so I agreed to cremation. His body will be at the vet until Friday.
We had him put down on the front porch yesterday, in his bed. He shook when he saw the vet come, so I think he knew. The vet gave him a sedative first to relax him, but he stayed awake. He licked my hand, and even though I was stroking his head and petting him when the euthanasia drug was administered, I couldn't tell when he passed. He just slipped away. I am so sad, there are no words to describe it. My Shadow is gone. I'm at my computer and I have no Shadow by my feet. There was no Shadow next to my bed. I didn't need to be careful not to step on him when I got out of bed. No Shadow looking for me. I was his entire world, and now I have no dog in orbit. It's hard to lose that level of love and devotion. He wasn't a dog that's happy to see you and then goes on about his business. Or a dog who ran away. He was an Australian Cattle Dog, and they call them Cling-Ons and Velcro Dogs for a reason. When I looked at the litter, they were all adorable and affectionate. Then the litter boiled away after something exciting in the yard. One little puppy plopped down by my feet and wouldn't budge. He claimed me as his person, and followed me everywhere from the moment we met, hence his name. When I would have to leave for work, there was no separation anxiety. He went on the clock guarding my property. When I returned, even if it was half an hour later, his delight knew no bounds. His first day at home while I went to work, he escaped. He curled up by the front door and fell asleep, waiting for me. It was inconceivable that he would ever run away or not come when I called. He even saved my son's life when the boy was only 2. A pack of loose dogs tried to attack my child, and Shadow held them all off. He was bitten to the bone, but he never left us. My friend, my hero. I heard the average age for a cattle dog is 16. I can't believe this happened. He was a few weeks shy of 13. How could such a noble, wonderful creature get struck with cancer when he should have had years left? He was a healthy, active dog. I know there was no way I could let him slowly die from bone cancer. No way could I let him suffer, and he was already getting worse. It was getting very hard for him to move. The vet said his bones could start breaking inside. So release was the right thing. It doesn't change the fact that I allowed the vet to kill him right in front of me. My instinct was to make it stop and protect him, but this was protecting him.
Registered: 1563296887 Posts: 5
I don't know what's wrong with me, but I'm still second guessing my decision. Shadow gets cremated today, and I'm feeling this urge to go get him back and bury him instead. It's probably too late already.
What bothers me about cremation is deliberately destroying his remains. Instead of going peacefully into the ground, with all of the natural return to earth happening out of sight, the entire process is speeded up. They get my dog and will give me a little wooden box of bits and pieces of his bones. This is really freaking me out. His head was precious to me. How could I destroy his remains like that? On the other hand, we have a well and septic system. We have a few acres, but the area where I could bury him has a rather steep slope. I don't know that he would stay buried, or if the euthanasia drugs would contaminate our well. What if something was able to dig him up because the slope eroded? What if we moved and the next owner dug him up while working on the property, and threw him away in the trash? We've lived here for 8 years, and this is the longest we've lived anywhere. I don't imagine we'll stay here forever. Leaving him behind would be painful. At the end of it, when it's probably too late to do anything, I think I wished I'd buried him. He'd be peacefully resting in the ground, instead of what I perceived as the violence of cremation, and then a box with remains. He still won't have a final resting place, as he'd be moved around in a box. If I bury the cremains, then I'd feel stupid for not just burying his body like a part of me wanted to from the beginning.
Registered: 1498611382 Posts: 578
I know your troubled but remember that Shadow is gone and only his earthly body remained. Please find peace in knowing that Shadow's spirit left his earthly body behind because he no longer needed it. Like you mentioned, that if you move and have to leave him behind would be very painful also. I buried two wonderful babies and then got divorced and left them behind and every time I pass the house where I used to live I feel sad about leaving them behind and pray that where I did bury them the new owners never dig them up by accident. That would be very hard to accept. Only his earthly body would be resting would be resting peacefully. Shadow is watching over you from above in a new and healthy body. I felt peace getting Termy's ashes back. His ashes are with me but his spirit is at the Bridge waiting for me. You can always busy his ashes and then you would have a place to go and visit him. I wish you the best and hope you find peace Love and doggie hugs Termy's mom