I recently went through a traumatic experience. I have had pets die before. That is all part of life. It's hard. It's really hard. Every pet that has passed away on me was already at the vet's office when we make the decision to end their suffering the humane way.

I would be right next to them and petting them as they cross over that rainbow bridge. That is how it has always been. Until it wasn't. I was working from home on a Friday and I knew the time was getting near for my last remaining dog, Chipper.

I called the vet's office. It was pretty late in the afternoon and they were booked solid. I told them what was going on with Chipper and I thought she would be ok through the weekend. They said if it became an emergency bring her in.

It got to be around 6 pm and her breathing got a little worse but she was still holding on. She finally just passed peacefully in my hallway. Even though I was expecting it I was still not ready. I called my daughter and we cried.

Now, What Do I Do?

My animals have always been at the vet's office when they died so I had no idea what to do next. I knew I was not taking them to Animal Control and leaving them in the dead animal room. There was just no way.

The vet's office was closed. I couldn't leave Chipper until Monday to bring her in.  You have to do something with your dead pet within forty-eight hours. So I made the decision to bury her in my backyard. My daughter called some friends to come over to help. My dog was a little chunky monkey so she was going to need a bigger hole and the ground was tough.

Was it Legal for Me to Bury Her in My Backyard?

I am more of the belief that it is easier to ask forgiveness than ask for permission. So I had her buried and then worried if I did the right thing. I never even thought I might be breaking the law.

credit: Melissa Bartlett, TSM
credit: Melissa Bartlett, TSM

So after doing my research after the fact I found out I did not break any laws. It is legal. It may be legal but it may not be the best idea. If your pet had to be put to sleep, the drug that was administered could stay preserved in the remains of your pet for up to a year.  Other pets or animals scavenging the burial site could be poisoned by the drug. If the animal passed from a disease, that disease could also be passed on in the same way.

Plus just the idea of an animal digging up your beloved animal. I just couldn't imagine that happening. Luckily for me, it didn't. I just had to come up with a fast solution. Burying her in my backyard was the best solution for the situation. I put a grave marker at the site so I get to walk in my backyard and see it and remember my sweet Chipper.

To me, that made it all worth it.

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

Even with all of these resources, however, the best cure for food poisoning is preventing it in the first place. To give you an idea of what human foods can be dangerous, Stacker has put together a slideshow of 30 common foods to avoid. Take a look to see if there are any that surprise you.

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