“Until one has loved an animal a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” — Anatole France
Those who have known the love of a dog, cat, or other pet understand this truth: Your pet is never “just a dog” or “just a cat.” Our Krause Funeral Home team has heard from many in and around Milwaukee, Brookfield, and New Berlin who say that losing their pet was just as heartbreaking as the death of a loved one. Studies show that grieving the death of a dog is comparable to grieving the death of a human in almost every way.
How many of our blog readers can relate?
Whether a pet’s death is sudden or long anticipated, the grief that follows for adults and children alike is often intense and complex. It’s hard to make sense of the feelings of sadness, shock, and loneliness that come on so quickly. Our pets are loving, loyal, always happy to see us. Waking up in the morning without their joyful presence . . . walking through the door at the end of the day without them there to greet you . . . these big changes to daily life can bring about big emotions.
The Journey to Healing
Many say that setting aside special time to acknowledge the loss, pay tribute, and share memories is helpful on the road to healing. There’s something about this that cannot be replicated.
It’s also important to remember that it is natural to feel anger, guilt, or sadness. Some find friends, books, local or online bereavement groups, and/or support hotlines to be helpful. Your veterinarian or local animal shelter can help you find local pet loss support groups and coping information.
From time to time, families ask our Krause care team if we can assist with the loss of a pet. Unfortunately, we are not licensed to provide services for any type of animal, but we can help point you in the right direction.
For some families, burial is the right option. This can be done as simply as in your own backyard where you can place a small headstone or memorial. Unless you live in a rural area, some localities may prohibit pet burials in your backyard. They may also impose special requirements, such as ensuring the hole is deep enough to discourage scavengers or requiring the body be placed in special containers.
Other families may choose cremation, as this often saves the family the pain of dealing with their pet’s remains themselves. There are typically two options for cremations: a private cremation (which is more costly but ensures your pet is cremated alone), or a group cremation (which occurs when multiple family pets are cremated simultaneously). When grouped, most crematories will use dividers to keep the animals separate, but you may want to specifically ask about the process before making a final decision. After cremation, your pet’s remains are placed in an urn. Decorative urns can be kept in your possession or placed in a niche at a pet cemetery of your choosing. You may also choose to scatter the remains in a sentimental location.
Here are just a few pet cemeteries in the greater Milwaukee area specializing in pet cremation and burial services:
Humane Society: 4500 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee – (414) 264-6257
Pet Lawn Cemetery & Crematory: 7311 N. Granville Rd., Milwaukee – (414) 353-9387
Anderson’s Pet Valhalla: 10025 Kraut Rd., Franksville – (262) 886-0552
Paris Pet Crematory: 4627 Haag Dr., Union Grove – (262) 878-9194
Remembrance Pet Crematory: W8790 Country Road A, Delevan – (262) 749-8240
We all react differently to the death of a pet, but the loss is usually profound. Surround yourself with people who understand and don’t judge your grief. Allow yourself time to heal, understanding that the pain will lessen over time. Eventually, you’ll even be able to talk about your pet without tearing up.
If you’re having a hard time and could use a listening ear, reach out to us anytime. We even have a certified grief therapy dog here at Krause. Bennie is a Portuguese waterdog whose calming presence has helped so many over the years. If you are coping with loss, remember: We’re here for our Milwaukee friends and neighbors in every way.