Ah, yes, another article picked up by Google Alert about pet funerals. Actually, it was a blog that was exploring the question, “How much is too much to spend on your pet’s funeral?” From opinions expressed by veterinary professionals, to many times non-pet owners, people are quick to weigh in on this topic.
I personally find these types of conversations absolutely astounding! In fact, almost uncomfortably embarrassing at times. After all, who on earth would think it would be appropriate to tell another person what’s acceptable to spend on ANYTHING?
Being a veteran of the funeral industry, it was never, ever, part of my training to learn how to guide a family on what’s acceptable to spend on their loved one’s final service. I never heard “If you loved Mom enough, you’d buy this casket”, or “That type of casket doesn’t really show how much you loved your husband, does it?” It was more about a service and the memorialization pieces that provided the most VALUE to the family in creating a final tribute. The value of the services and memorialization pieces, right? There was nothing in this process that equated the amount of love to the amount of money spent. Quite the contrary – our goal was to provide a service where the value of the service delivered far outweighed any amount of money spent.
I find it almost amusing that people are forthright with these opinions when it comes to pets. For those that aren’t pet parents, there are opinions on what’s “acceptable” to spend on any type of pet care and ultimately on the final arrangements for the pet. And, the only time that scrutiny comes into play is when it’s “too much.” Whatever that number is, based on each person’s own opinion! Gosh, this is almost like AARP telling seniors what’s “appropriate” to spend on a funeral for their mother. Appropriate based on what?
65% of our society has a pet and as a pet parent, I, as well as other pet parents, take pride in being a RESPONSIBLE pet parent. It’s what we sign up for when we take one of these furry creatures into our homes. It’s an option we have knowingly and willingly committed to when we accepted this role.
But, it’s a role that leaves us open to shame and criticism to the other 35% of people who don’t have pet companions. All we’d like to do is celebrate these little creatures when they are alive – and pay tribute to them when they pass. For those non-pet owners, we appreciate your sentiments but seriously, keep them to yourselves. For veterinary professionals, please remember that many times, we WANT to spend on our pet. As I’ve said so many times in my public speaking on the topic of pet loss and pet grief, stay out of my checkbook. I WILL spend what I want!
I will be the one to determine what’s the right amount to pay for this type of honor! It’s what I WANT to do!
Written by: Coleen Ellis