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It's difficult to say goodbye when a beloved pet passes away. Whether the passing was sudden, such as an accident, or some time in coming, such as sickness or euthanasia, actually seeing your pet for the last time is a moment you may not wish to end. Different states have different laws when it comes to taking care of your old friend's body; in Indiana, pets must be disposed of within 24-hours of their passing. Methods of helping your companion along include burial and cremation.
Check The Rules
It's important to note that precise laws for burial depth and location vary from county to county within the state. Double-check with your county ordinances before burying your pet at home, or on your private property. While burial is legal in the state, local counties may prohibit it. In Marion County, which includes Indianapolis, it is illegal to bury your pet in your yard, while in Knox County you may bury an animal on your property if the grave is at least 2 feet under ground, and 50 feet from any water supply.
The Indiana frost line is 36 inches, so in counties that allow home burial, a minimum of 3 feet in depth for burial is recommended to avoid seasonal thaws.
Public Options for Private Matters
Another resource for the long-term care of your furry friend's remains is to use a pet cemetery. The International Associate of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories will have listings and information for the closest licensed pet cemetery near you. You can purchase a designated plot ahead of time, choosing the perfect spot for your pet's resting place. As the name suggests, the IAOPCC also can help with the third option open to owners of deceased pets: cremation.
Humane societies and some pet cemeteries can cremate your pet in one of two methods. They can cremate and provide you with your pet's ashes to keep, bury, or sprinkle, as you prefer. Additionally, they can better free up their resources sustainably by cremating your pet along with others, and keeping those ashes in special gardens or cemeteries. There, you can visit your old friend with a walk through a peaceful field or a garden bursting with blooms -- a quiet place where many loved pets are laid to rest in one spot.
Members of the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories have guaranteed perpetual upkeep and care of these grounds. They also offer grief support and counseling, as well as a pledge to treat pets and their owners with complete and compassionate care.
To Make Things a Little Easier
Owning a pet is a wonderful and rewarding experience that must eventually suffer the pain of loss. Preparing ahead of time for your pet's passing will help reduce the stress as you process the initial shock. You can make arrangements with your pet's veterinarian or local Humane Society to walk you through your chosen method of remembrance. Countless online forums and groups are open and willing to talk to you during your time of mourning, and eventual celebration of your little companion's life.