How to Bury a Dog: A Brutally Honest Step-by-Step Written by Someone Who Knows
- Decide if you’re ready for a 13-year commitment to an animal that will have an undying loyalty to you. Be grateful when she finds you.
- Spend weeks, months, years, doing the following: taking her for walks, rubbing her muscles, brushing her fur, teaching her tricks, watching her dream in her sleep, letting her make you feel safe, feeding her from the table, letting her play with other dogs, watching her watch you watch her, letting her make you smile, being grateful when she wags her tail because she sees you, scratching her neck, and giving her what she needs instead of what you need. Remember: years.
- Help her walk when she stumbles. Bring her water and food when she cannot walk. Give her medicine when she is sick.
- Note: This is the most difficult step. Determine if you have to help her pass on. No one can tell you what you want or need to hear because there is nothing that you want or need to hear that’s true. You may decide it’s time too early. You may decide it’s time too late. You will feel guilty either way. You must come to peace with what you decide when you decide it.
- Help your dog walk to a grassy spot in the yard, where she loved to lay. Let her sit and surround her with her closest loved ones. Pet her. Hug her. Talk to her, and say things like, “I love you.” “You’re such a good dog.” “Thank you.” “I’ll meet you on the other side.”
- When she lays her head into the grass for the last time, bury your face in her fur. Breathe it in, cry it out. Stay there as long as you need to, because it’s the last. In fact, stay there longer than you need to.
- Find a spot of earth that is nearby, somewhere special, or somewhere you can visit when you like, preferably facing West, so that the sunsets will give you something both breathtaking and symbolic to view.
- Use a backhoe to dig the hole. Preferably ask a friend or neighbor, who has done the job before, and understands the loss. You will find comfort in this.
- Carry her body, held by her closest loved ones, and lay her in the earth, covered in a blanket. Put a rawhide next to her. Cover her face. Let the earth take her back.
- Stand at the mound of earth and let your mind go where it needs, which will be unexpected places. Cry when you try to talk. Forget what she looked like wrapped in a blanket. Remember instead the weeks, months, years. Watch the sunset.
Of course, this isn’t the only right way to bury a dog. It felt right to my family, on this day, with our beloved. This is dedicated to Cowgirl, also known as Even Cowgirl Gets the Blues, Cracker Attacker, Meringue, and other names of affection, 2002-2015.
~All my love, Cowgirl,