Animal Padre's
Christians Against All Animal Abuse
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From Summer 2007 Issue

Saying Farewell At A Pet Crematorium

Some feel that once their pet has died that its body is of no more value than the discarded chrysislis of a caterpillar or the vacated shell of a chick. Indeed, what inner heartache they endure is frequently to be softened by, quite altruistically, procuring another abandoned pet from a sanctuary. Nevertheless, others find a substitute for a deceased pet as lacking in consolation as the offer of a newly adopted babe might be as a substitute for the one just lost.

We all differ in our bereavement processes and what may be helpful fon one may not be the best way for another. Indeed, I lost a child of a few hours due to medical negligence and was strongly advised not to erect a head stone in Andrew’s memory. Both the clergyman and the minister of those 1950s strongly advised against it. I had just been given a place at theological college, away from home. “While you are away at college your wife will be crying her heart out at the graveside” they said. Seek to keep her mind from having such a spot, they said. But later I discovered that such advice was not in our circumstance the best. Years later my ex-wife begged to view where Andrew had been laid to rest. The gravedigger took us to a spot locked by a trap door. “Under here” he said in blunt West Yorkshire; amongst the still born in the pauper’s grave!” “Well, I want his remains removed”, I said. “You’ll need an act of Parliament” was his reply “and, what is more, such ‘hardly lived’ do not receive a name on their boxes!” The memory of that has haunted me down the years. What a way in which to start a four-year stint at Nottingham to train for the strict Nonconformist ministry! It was a reflection of the Puritan heritage! Students for today’s church don’t know they’re born!


Nevertheless, through it all I would learn never ever to dissuade a family’s need to have a grieving spot should such be their wish. Many, of course, prefer to bury their pets in a garden, and others in an animal’s crematorium or pet cemetery. It’s all a matter of personal preference here. Indeed, the photo here is one of a delightful lady of Czechoslovakia. Along with her lovely daughter, they had candles lit for each year of their pet’s life. The pet was called ‘Cheerio’, but - speaking for myself - I sense a better name would have been ‘Orevwa’, as I sense such lovely folk, along with their pet, will meet up again!, never again to part.

Go on to Swallowing One’s Own Words; Or A Taste Of Ones Own Medicine!
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