Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Where should you bury your dog?

A couple of days ago I visited a friend. Our lives have been occupied by many and varied events since we last chatted and far too many months have passed with no communication between us. My friend has been ill, very ill and I worried about what state of health he might be in on this day.  As it turned out I found him better than I had hoped and worse than I had expected. I know that sounds strange but let me explain. His health issues were under control and he as he always did was facing his problems with courage and good humour but, last week, his dog died.
If you are not a dog owner this means a dog died. If on the other hand you have ever owned a dog then you know how deeply grieved and unsettled my friend was. He sadly told me that this past weekend was his first weekend since 1982 that he had been without a dog. Such a comment spoke volumes about this mans love of his dogs.
I sat with him as he recounted life with his dogs and remembered many wonderful adventures. With each new memory I too drifted into the past, to walk the hills with dogs now gone, feel their breath on my face and hear their insistent happy barking.
I  have led a life often connected with dogs. I currently own three and the passing of my canine friends has always left a huge hole in my life and heart. There is something quite unique about a relationship with a dog. A dog loves with no conditions and never tells you how you must act or dress. A dog isn't embarrassed when you forget to grow up, quite the contrary, it is a dogs greatest joy when you get down on your knees and roll in the grass with him or her, or better still, when you run and splash in the sea with abandon.
To say goodbye to a dog is to leave a part of your soul chasing the wind.
I saw the carefully laid grave of my friends dog and silently said a gentle goodbye to an old acquaintance who was always gracious in his welcome and gently polite as he sat next to my feet.
I have buried  my dogs in gardens and feilds up and down this country. I have carried the collar of one to our favorite hut in the hills to leave it there, tied to a rough cross. A testament of the spirit of that particular dog and the life we lived together. We deal with the passing of our dogs in many varied ways and each is appropriate to the dog and the person concerned. There is no right or wrong place to bury your dog, no sober or acceptable way to mourn such an indescribable relationship. But tonight I read a quote that went like this..."the only place to bury a dog is in the heart of its owner" and that I suspect is why we cannot describe what it is like. A dog doesn't just live in our physical lives he dwells in our heart.

Long live the dog!


  1. Right now in an antique secretary in my living room is the ashes of Dreyfus, the last Airedale I will ever own. I was fortunate to own a small farm for 22 years where I had a small cemetery to bury my other dogs as they left me. One of the reasons I hung on the property was to allow a last resting place for my 28-year-old quarter horse. By the time my other horse had to be put down, he was living with his 28-yr-old buddy at a stable 35 miles away.
    At this time, I have 2 small dogs, one whom I doubt will make it through the winter. She will be cremated and have her own urn. Until I can own a place again, I will go the cremation route rather than have to leave them behind.


  2. We adopted King, a German Shepherd several years ago. He was a "basket case" and we were his only chance at life outside the shelter that had siezed him from an extremely abusive owner. Even tho he was curled up in a corner refusing any contact with visitors we felt we could help him. We thought that with all of our love and past experience with GSD's that we would bring him around in no time. oh how wrong we were. He was not aggressive he was just done with humans. He wanted nothing to do with us. hIs heart and his spirit had been broken. His first months with us he had to wear a leash in the house at all times just so we could catch him or keep him with us. Left to his own devices he would hide in the bedroom..anywhere to be away from us. He had chronic (and sometimes explosive) diahrrea from the stress he was under. Since he had been tortured and punished with food he had many issues regarding that most wonderful of things for most We despaired of every helping him find his way to a lfe that was worth living but we are nothing if not stubborn and in time, over many months he began to come around. Oh the courage he showed in trying to trust us. It just made you weep to see him mustering the gumption to actually walk over for a pat or kind word. And eventually he found a joy in lving and in being with us. We adopted another GSD, a female that was truly the love of his live. So in his final years he was a happy and loving dog. And oh he was loved. We scattered his ashes at the farm we bought. The place he was happiest with his precious girl dog. But like you said...he is buried in my heart and always will be.



Our friends- please share with us your thoughts and words too. We welcome hearing from you and your unique insights.With love ..Greg and Tammy