A few years ago, we had a problem with a mouse. The problem was that one of our sons had it as a pet and it had gotten loose. In an attempt to catch the escaped critter, our son accidentally killed it. Out he went to the garage to make a little casket for his deceased friend. In the process, he managed to cut three of his fingers and had to have reconstructive surgery to re-attach them. We now have an embalmed mouse in a casket that, considering the price of the surgery, is worth $5,000.
At Fisher Funeral Chapel, we have found an increasing need in our communities for services dedicated to the loss of a pet. Family pets are unique and important. They are like family members. At Fisher, we are constantly, reminded of the affection that families have for their pets. The loss of a pet can be a tremendous strain. This is evidenced by the fact that few are offered a grieving outlet or a way of proper commemoration. As is the case with human loss, this can be incredibly difficult with the loss of a pet.
Regardless of what species the pet is, they can be an integral part of the family. While most are concerned with the loss of a family dog or cat, we see that birds, mice or guinea pigs are also dearly loved and missed after passing.
Recently, for instance, a woman came to us in search of an urn after the death of her German Shepard. Such requests, or voiced desires for coffins, or a desire to have the proper means for showing appreciation for a lost pet, are becoming more common. We have even had people request to be buried with their pet's ashes. In the past, we were not as equipped to lead families through the loss of a pet.
However, because we have seen this need, we are in the process of designing services that deal directly and compassionately with the loss of a pet. We are constantly revamping our services and finding better ways to serve our community. The area of pet loss is no different.
Here is a beloved story about 'Why Dogs Don't Live as Long as People':
Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owner, his wife, and their little boy were all very attached to Belker and they were hoping for a miracle. I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family there were no miracles left for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, the owners told me they thought it would be good for the four-year-old boy to observe the procedure. They felt he could learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. The little boy seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on.
Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away. The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives. The little boy, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation. He said, "Everybody is born so that they can learn how to live a good life - like loving everybody and being nice, right?" The four-year-old continued, "Well, animals already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."