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Build a Stairway to Paradise for Your Beloved Pet

Updated on December 16, 2017

A.R. LaMura with his dog, Sandy, in front of her eventual mausoleum in the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery. It now holds a picture of Mr. LaMura's late German shepherd,

Also in the Hartsdale cemetery lies Jerry, whose portrait is on the headstone.

The American Way of Pet Death

Gone are the days for putting an old dog or horse out of his misery with a bullet in the head and shoveling sand or dirt over the remains in a wash or gulley without wasting money or time on futile veterinary bills or costly rituals honoring the deceased animal. This practical and inexpensive approach was not an indication of lack of feeling for the dog or horse any more than were the simpler human funeral customs of our forbears advocated by William Carlos Williams in his poem, "Tract."

Prosperity has brought with it some bizarre changes in American customs for disposing of good old Fido's remains after thousands of dollars of veterinarian bills have failed to prolong his life any further. Some people spend big bucks to have their pet cat or dog stuffed for eternal display in the living room by the fireplace. Bob Dorta will freeze dry your cat or dog for $650 plus $50 per pound over 10 pounds. Others spend six figures for burial in one of the 1,000 pet cemeteries in the United States as if they were our deceased spouse or child.

"We've always had strong affection for our pets, but in the past five to seven years marketers have really picked up on this," said David Lummis, lead pet market analyst at Packaged Facts, a market research publisher based in New York. "They've taken the ball and run with it. What we're seeing now--in all those humanized products, many of which have premium prices--is the sanctioning of treating pets like family."

In 2005, revenue in the pet care service industry reached $18.2 billlion (of which $13.2 was for veterinarian services alone) and is predicted to reach $25.3 billion by 2010, according to a report by Mr. Lummis.

[An 1-14-06 NYTimes article by Barbara Whittaker is linked below.]


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    • jimmythejock profile image

      James Paterson 11 years ago from Scotland

      it really is a dogs life Ralph lol.....jimmy