DEAR ABBY: Your answer to Brenda in Lakeland, Fla., who asked whether she should leave dead pets buried in her yard when she moves to another home, was off base.
I thought my pets were safely buried under a tree five years ago when we sold our home. Two years ago, I drove by my old house and, to my horror, saw that the tree had been torn out and a swimming pool now sat where we buried my beloved "Prince." The poor thing probably ended up in a landfill or a freeway base. Fortunately, before we moved, I had dug up another precious dog and had his remains cremated. He will go with me when I go.
I urge anyone who loves a departed pet and who is moving to always cremate. With real estate as valuable as it is, you can't trust any land to remain untouched by developers. The house I grew up in was in the country in 1955. Million-dollar homes now sit on that same acreage. My advice is to cremate pets and have them buried with you when the time comes. -- WE'RE ALL GOING TOGETHER IN GARDENVILLE, NEV.
DEAR GOING TOGETHER: Please accept my sympathy. The responses I have received to that letter have been varied, but all have been heartfelt. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I agree with you that the remains should stay where they are. However, I have a suggestion to offer that will help her feel as though her pets are still with her.
When my parents moved from our childhood home where our three family dogs were buried, my brother gathered some dirt from their burial site along with three large rocks. At my parents' new home, he buried the dirt and marked the spot with the rocks, representing each beloved dog. This way they are close to our family, while staying where they lived their lives. -- ALISON IN BOTHELL, WASH.
DEAR ALISON: Now that's what I call a workable compromise.
DEAR ABBY: Sorry, but I don't agree about leaving the pets buried in the back yard when the family moves. Imagine the trauma when the new owner's kids accidentally dig up one of them. Instead, they should contact their veterinarian or the health department about proper disposal of their pets. -- GUS IN WOODSTOCK, ILL.
DEAR GUS: Trauma? Much would depend upon how old the children were. A young child might be frightened; an older child might be curious -- especially if he or she was with friends when it happened.
DEAR ABBY: You advised leaving the pet's remains where they are. My husband and I couldn't bring ourselves to do it. When we moved three years ago, we exhumed our beloved schnauzer's remains (his ashes were buried in a container in our yard) and took the container and headstone with us. We find it comforting knowing he's nearby, and he now has a lovely new spot in our new yard. -- LU IN JACKSONVILLE, FLA.
DEAR LU: If his presence brings you comfort, more power to you.
DEAR ABBY: I buried my pet bird in my back yard many years ago and installed a concrete marker. That marker, dated June 1944, now rests in my daughter's garden, hundreds of miles away, and still looks as good as new. It no longer marks my bird's burial place, but rather a place in our family's heart. Your answer was perfect. -- LARRY IN EMERY, S.D.
DEAR LARRY: Your letter echoes one I received from Pam C. of Duluth, Ga., who wrote: "Tell Brenda to take the markers but leave the animals. The markers will mean nothing to the next owner, but they will bring her warmth every time she sees them in her next yard. I've been there and done that."