MOM’S VOICE: Ashes to Ashes

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I’m sure I will have picketers in front of my house once this is published, and PETA may come knocking.

However, I believe I acted in a loving and humane way, with only pure intentions. No one was harmed. Both dogs had already passed on to the greener pastures when the decision was made.

My friend Dawn found a dog sitting in the middle of the road a year ago. She pulled over and rescued him. Waffles quickly became a cherished member of the family. He drove everywhere with Dawn, his rescuer and new mommy.

Her four kids were ecstatic. The cat, June Bug, and husband, Josh, were less enthused, but it didn’t take long for them to fall in love with Waffles, too. He snuggled under the covers at night. Barked at passers-by, played with stuffed toys.

Waffles was young and full of personality, which made the news of his death a shock to everyone. Unfortunately the back problems he experienced in the beginning, unknowingly foretold of sad and sudden departure.

Upon his death, I called Dawn to express my sympathy. The family was devastated. After we talked a while, my friend explained her angst of what to do about the cremation. It was no cost to participate in a group cremation with other dogs, but to be done individually and receive Waffle’s ashes was very expensive. That was what her kids wanted though.

That’s when I had my idea.

Our old dog Buddy was a Great Dane mix. Waffles was a beagle-dachshund. I explained that sharing some Buddy’s ashes would accomplish the objective of letting her four kids feel a sense of closure. Plus, with the size difference between the breeds, we had plenty to share.

Waffle’s soul, the important part, was already in dog heaven. If you’re like me and believe the body is just the shell, then there is little attachment to it. Having ashes is for humans. In the animal kingdom, dogs don’t cremate each other.

Buddy could be Waffles’ ashes donor.

It may seem crass, but I really did care. For those of you who are about to judge us – cast the first stone, so to speak – I ask instead that you throw us a bone. Show me a parent that has not participated in some type of benign deception. There are some real big whoppers that occur annually. And when trying to clothe, feed, and fund extracurricular activities for four kids, every penny is needed.

But I digress.

Dawn and I arranged it. I brought out the golden tin. I opened the bag inside and carefully scooped part of Buddy, may he rest in peace, into a new Ziploc bag.

I held it up, “Do you think this is enough?”

“I think he was a little bigger than that, maybe one more scoop.”

Dawn purchased a beautiful container to serve as an urn. The kids created a shrine for Waffles on the mantle. With a photo of him, a plaster of paris paw print, his dog collar, and “his” ashes. Although they are still sad and missing Waffles, just feeling like his is close by helps ease the sorrow.

I think Buddy and Waffles are looking down on us, wagging their tails, smiling at our silly human tricks.



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