It's hard to say good-bye to loved ones. We mourn and grieve, sometimes for extended periods of time. It's just as hard for many, when that loved one is our pet. Dogs and cats are members of our family. We treat them as such due to all the unconditional love we receive and bestow upon on them.
Early Animal Remains
Dating centuries ago, many cultures have buried their animal remains. The Egyptians, for instance mummified their cats and elevated to them to the status of deities. Askkelon, Israel is the the site of the largest known dog cemetery in the ancient world, dating back to the 5th Century, BC.
America's oldest and most sizable pet cemetery is located in Hartsdale, New York. First opened in 1896, it was the result of a Manhattan veterinarian allowing a grieving pet owner to bury her dog in his hillside apple orchard. Today, that memorial site is the final resting place for more than 70,000 animals, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.
The Long Good-bye
But those are all formal burial sites. What about when you want to bury your pet in your backyard? A common sentiment for many pet owners is to keep your deceased pets close -- and what better place to that their your own backyard?
According to Associate Queensland University professor and veterinarian pathologist, Rachel Allavena, she believes in there are other options, that will aid the welfare of pets in need.
For instance, donating their bodies to science, for research and veterinary training is a beneficial way to help hundreds of other pets, both young and old.
Allavena says her job as a pathologist is to conduct autopsies on animals to uncover their cause of death. With that type of physical examination, they can use the research to improve our understanding of diseases and treatments in both animals and people.
Our pets make excellent “models” of diseases, allowing scientists to study the development and progression of a disease in consideration of developing new treatments.
Dog Cancer is highly prevalent . . .
Cancer is one of the most common causes of fatality for canines. A lot of breeds get the same cancer at high rates, providing insightful and valuable research to understanding origins and causes. These dog cancers are similar in appearance, behavior, treatments and genetic causes to many human cancers.
If you'd like to donate your pet's body, your veterinarian is the best resource to provide you with organizations that specialize in these types of options. In most metro areas, you can find a veterinarian school at your local university.
In addition to research, vet schools need pet body donors to assist in teaching anatomy, surgery and pathology. This is usually done with pets that have died of natural causes.
In summary, the loss of a pet is a heartbreaking affair, but with a little bit of personal research on your part, you can discover a number of beneficial ways to create a meaningful legacy. While your pet provided you with joy while they were alive, these choices will provide you with a comforting way to remember them after their death.
Primary Source: The Conversation