Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Difference in a Pet Death at Home

I wasn't completely prepared for what to do in the event a pet dies at home. Our previous pets were euthansized and it was a different experience to have one die in his sleep at home.

Now, while I am deeply saddened by Baggy's passing (I am working on a post about grief for the coming days/weeks), I found some of the following to be humours. [My humour may be upsetting to others so read at your own risk].

I found out about Baggy's death in my car drive home (I have a bluetooth, so it was safe). Baggy had died on his mat in the front hall. The Man got a towel and wrapped him in it and put him in the garage until I got home. In my head I have been trying to imagine a box to put my boy in.  What I didn't know was he was in full rigamortis. When I said goodbye to him in the wheelbarrow (which is a bit funny), I realized we didn't have a box big enough for him. He was very stretched out, I forgot how big a cat he was. 

The second problem I encountered is I had a Skype consult that evening. Our vet clinic is about 1 hour away. To take him in for cremation, would be 2.5-3 hours which couldn't happen, I am electing to have all my pets cremated even though we have the land to bury them on because when I die, I want to be cremated and have all our ashes spread together. So I called the clinic to ask what to do and they said to freeze him.

This lead to my next problem, while there was room for him in it, I wasn't sure what to put him in. The idea of having my dead cat in the freezer was a bit disturbing. He wasn't going to fit into a box, so I decided the best bet was to wrap him in another sheet, place him in a garbage bag and put him in the freezer. This struck me as sooooooo funny I couldn't stop laughing to actually do it. The Man had to help because I was crying from laughing so hard. 

The next problem was the next morning, it seemed a little disrespectful to carry my cat into a clinic in a garbage bag. I dumbed out the Halloween costumes and put him in a rubbermaid container. 

My next funny moment occurred at the clinic. I had left for work early, and hadn't seen the Man that morning (he was still in bed). It struck me as very funny that the second sentence I said to another person was "you should know he is frozen and was in full rigamortis when I froze him". These are words I had never thought I would say to someone else. Then to get an estimate on the cremation, we had to weigh him. There I was carrying my dead cat around the clinic in a garbage bag and having him weighed. Which was so strange it was funny. (Baggy was about 18 lbs). 

Overall, I realize I wasn't prepared for a pet to die naturally at home. I have spent my life planning saying goodbye in the clinic with the vet. Even as Baggy was clearly getting more fragile, I was still looking for the moment it was time to go tot he clinic. I didn't know what to do if a pet died at home. Now I know. And I will forever get a little smile when I picture putting my king of the beasts in a freezer . . . . (it was all a little ridiculous). 


  1. Bitter/sweet. At least you solved the problem and go him cremated. He lived a good life and luckily died where he was happiest.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. It is a different experience and maybe the way Baggy planned it all along :)

  3. We think this was Baggy's way of saying... I'm doing things MY way... so Deal with it. And he made sure that you would remember HIS Plan. We are SURE he was Looking Down and Laughing his tail off.

  4. So scaring. This happened to our kitty friend Oscar who passed awY in his sleep. You never think of these things ahead of time.
    Lily & Edward

  5. As a kid all but one of the last dogs died at home. They all were buried on the land. Here it will be a bit more challenging as having tried to dig here, it is next to impossible to dig deep enough without encountering rock to think it would be a viable idea for burial. Hard thoughts, but we will need to make a choice at some point.

  6. Bravo to you for being able to find the humor in this event. Now you've got me thinking about my dogs...Jack at 80lbs...not going to be carrying him anywhere.

  7. I laughed while my tears were running. Many thanks for this post. I agree with you, it can be difficult to manage such a situation.

  8. First of all we are soo sorry to read of Baggy's passing. What a wonderful companion he was.

    All of our pets to date have become very sick with incurable illness...so I too have been with them at the Vets as they passed. Actually the freezer storage has crossed my mind too as should a pet pass when we are away on a trip I would not want the sitter to take the pet away without saying a proper good bye to be cremated w/o saying a proper good bye.
    Hugs madi's mom

  9. This is the first post on the death of a pet that I read all the way through; it is a story of warmth and love and humor and loss. So sorry about your cat. But it sounds like Baggy lived a long life in a family that truly cared for him.

    Purrs and wags and hugs from from Life with Dogs and Cats

  10. AT least you could find some ways to laugh through it all.
    I'm glad you got everything taken care of.
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  11. You have the same sense of humor as my mom (and her whole family is that way). It has its benefits. Oh, sorry . . . they're calling us back into our meeting to sign contracts.

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  12. We can totally see how this played out. You are in good company with the freezer...my peep's family has had to do that with a rabbit, cockatiel, and almost a dog (it was super, super cold in the garage that night). My peep cried laughed as she read your post - it's something you can never prepare for, but it's important to have a sense of humor. You also gave my Mom the best idea of what to do with all her pets! We've never heard of that before and she is going to go update her final wishes to be scattered with her pets. Thank you for posting your story!

  13. Huh. I never thought about what would happen if your pet died at home. (Well, our beagle was euthanized at home - but not the same thing. The vet came to our house, she helped us wrap her up in her blanky and take her to the car, and the pet cemetery was open so we drove her there to be cremated. A sad day...) But still... I can see the humor too. I definitely have the same sense of humor and use humor to deal with tough situations. I can't imagine having space in our freezer for a dog! Egad. We might need a bigger freezer. Or smaller dogs in the future!

    Sorry for the loss of your sweet kitty. I'm sure he had a lovely life with you. Love the idea of having your ashes scattered w/ the pets' ashes. :)

  14. Sorry about Baggy. It isn't easy when they die at home.

    Still, the story about putting him in the freezer gave me a giggle...

  15. We've never had a pet die at home....at least he was where he wanted to be.

    We always think of death as sad, but there was even humour around the death of HER mother. That's what the family remembers most--and what mum would want remembered!

    You'll never forget Baggy in life and in death. Loved your post.

  16. We are very sorry for your loss. We had some losses (pets) in our families and friends too this year so we know how tough it is. Oh, but we still have a dead parakeet in the freezer, and we forgot how long ago it died! Three or four years? Once we stuck an entire hive of live paper wasps in the freezer. We would have left it alone except the kids next door kept messing with it. It made for a great show and tell the next day!

  17. Oh, I'm so glad you were able to find some joy in your sorrow. Some things can't be prepared for and I'm sure Baggy enjoyed giving you a chuckle. Hugs to all of you.
    Grr and Woof,
    Sarge, Pol Comm

  18. It's very bittersweet. I'm very sorry for your loss. I am glad you've been able to find some humor in the situation. It's actually a very common reaction to stressful situations, well at least in my family it is. My grandfather was a police officer and he taught me that it's not disrespectful to be humorous in stressful situations, it's a coping mechanism.

    I've never had a pet die at home. I really don't know if it would make it any easier or not. It's always such a tough thing to go through. Having to make that final drive is something I never want to have to do again... My dogs always got excited to go for rides, knowing it's the last one breaks my heart thinking about it.

  19. It's true, we do find humor in the darkest places. Sounds like something that would happen at my house. Oh wait, it sorta just did--the thawing and disappearance of a corpse. Fortunately, without the grief.


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