People have been getting buried with their pets since the days of Ancient Egypt when the pharaohs had their cats mummified. But usually it’s the animal that moves into the human’s final resting place. Now residents of New York State can take their place in the pet cemetery next to their dearly departed fur baby.
Thanks to a recent rules change, pet cemeteries throughout the state can now accept the cremated remains of humans who want to make a true forever home with their best friends. The rule stipulates that the pet cemetery cannot charge extra for human burial, or advertise it.
In other words, if you’re looking for a pet cemetery that will take your remains, you’ll have to do some homework.
The new regulation is a sort of postscript to a dispute between New York State and the family of an NYPD police officer who died in 2011. The NYPD officer wanted to be buried next to his three Maltese dogs in Hartsdale Pet Cemetery. When the state refused, his niece took them on and eventually won. While previously only Hartsdale could allow human burial, this rules change opens it up to the other pet cemeteries in the state.
While it’s not something that pops up in casual conversation very often, instances of people getting buried at pet cemeteries aren’t that unusual. In fact, Hartsdale’s owner says there were already about 700 humans buried at that cemetery when all the hubbub started. Other cemeteries in the United States, Britain, and other countries also allow human remains – and have for a long time.
Is this a growing trend? Only time will tell, but there is little doubt that people are increasingly treating their pets more like members of the family. It shouldn’t surprise anyone if that treatment continues after the furry companion has died.
There’s a darker side to this phenomenon as well. According to a report in the Dallas media, some people choose to be buried in pet cemeteries because it’s cheaper. The typical cost for burial at a pet cemetery that is allowed to charge for it is $300. That’s a fraction of what a burial in a human cemetery costs (though it does require cremation).
Still, it’s safe to say that most people who choose to be buried with their pets do so out of love for the animals. Many people don’t have children or other strong family ties, and for these people, a dog or cat might just offer the most meaningful and intimate companionship of their lives. Scoff and snicker if you must, but we say final requests are sacred and the decision to be buried with a pet is perfectly understandable.
What do you think? Do you want to be buried with your pets? Human cemetery? Pet cemetery? Other arrangements? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section.