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Robbie came home yesterday

… not in his old familiar bully-boy form, of course. But he’s home.

The only other time I had a private cremation (for Jasmine), my dog came home in a plain cardboard box. This time, Robbie arrived in this sweet little tin.

An envelope claimed his certificate of cremation was within. Skeptical me figured the pet cemetery was offering confirmation that this little box really did contain the mortal remains of my bully boy. After all, the potential trust issues with cremation are enormous. How do I know this is really Robbie? Not somebody’s cat? Or a mixed-up batch of assorted burned animals? Or sweepings from somebody’s fireplace? I opened the envelope eager to see what assurances the crematorium might offer.

But what was inside was no certification of anything. Just a poem so glurgy it could induce a diabetic coma. Especially those last two lines. (I do not think Robbie would want to spend eternity sleeping on a soft cloud in heaven, dreaming pretty dreams. And he certainly wouldn’t do it sweetly; trust me, sweetness was never Robbie’s thing.) Still, as I rolled my eyes at the sodden sentimentality, my eyes teared up.

My neighbor J. has offered a handmade wooden box. Shortly before his sudden death, her husband made a number of pet coffins and small containers for ashes. The tin from the crematorium is cute, but Robbie will soon be partly scattered in the woods while the rest of him remains at home, in a lovingly handmade box, next to Jasmine.


  1. Pat
    Pat July 19, 2016 2:17 pm

    That’s sad. A far distance from a warm, active body to a tin full of cold ash. Take another walk with Ava.

  2. Claire
    Claire July 19, 2016 2:29 pm

    Many, many walks with Ava. Long, vigorous, sweaty ones.

    But not today, thank you. I had some minor servicing done on Old Blue this morning. Walked two miles home from the shop after the drop-off, two miles back to get it when they were done.

    I’m beat! Ava thought it was all fabulous, of course, but even she hit the floor snoring after the second trip.

    Yes, it’s sad knowing Robbie went from his warm, cuddly self to cold ash. And he was the most oddly warm dog, too. I used to love to lay my cheek against his forehead, which just radiated his warmth. But the hard part was making the decision to put him down. Since then, all has been peaceful.

  3. jed
    jed July 19, 2016 4:13 pm

    I’m glad you used the term ‘glurgy’, because after the initial ‘OMG’ the first thing I thought of was a Folger’s can. But then, they have to use something.

    Yeah, I know, you called the poem glurgy, not the tin. So, my brain conflated things a bit. But yeah, the saccharine sentimentality was a bit much.

  4. Karen
    Karen July 19, 2016 4:59 pm

    We have 5 pottery “urns” that adorn our mantle, keeping warm and close until either DH or I pass to all be mixed together. When the last girl passed I asked the vet’s office please not to send me another condolence card because I just couldn’t face it.

    I do like the idea and hope of the Rainbow Bridge where they’re all happily waiting for us, lively and active, not sleeping on some cloud.

  5. MJR
    MJR July 19, 2016 6:30 pm

    No matter the circumstances our fuzzy friends should always come home. The very thought of leaving them for strangers to dispose of has always been repugnant to me. For each one of my fuzzy friends, after the deed was done I brought them home, made a wood casket and buried them in a section of the property that I have reserved for them. In a couple of instances I had to work through frozen ground but no matter what, this was their home and it will be their home. With all the love my fuzzy little friends have given my wife and I this is a small price to pay.

  6. David
    David July 20, 2016 5:22 am

    Whenever one of my furry friends passes, I try to think of the ashes as the left-overs of this life – the age, aches and pains of a body, the thing that held all the emotional hurts and insults from their first families. Then I think of them as free of am that to roam wherever they will at the big park in the sky.

    And usually, at that point, my eyes start dripping tears.

  7. Ellendra
    Ellendra July 20, 2016 8:12 am

    When my previous cat died, the clinic made a casting of her paw print and decorated it with ribbons. It may be a personal thing, but that meant more to me than her ashes did. It reminded me of when she was alive.

    I’m dreading the day my current one gives in. She’s a cuddler, and with cats that’s rare. Going on month 6 of her 3-month life expectancy . . .

  8. TMZ
    TMZ July 20, 2016 11:40 am

    wow, I thought I was the only one. When my dog Aussie (with me 24/7 for 16 years) passed, I also had her cremated. My first thought when picking up the ashes was how do I know that is her, it could be some other dog or just ashes from a fireplace and they took Aussie out back with the other animals that were supposed to be cremated. I still wonder if those are her ashes. Glad to know someone else is as skeptical as myself 🙂

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