Rhona Levy of the Bronx, NY got what she described as "sort of like an early Christmas present" -- the right to be interred with her beloved pets who have passed on. New York's state cemetery board has ruled that humans may now arrange for burial at Hartsdale Pet Cemetery and Crematorium, reversing a ruling from the summertime that prohibited the practice. The ban apparently had to do with the non-profit tax status of human cemeteries and memorial parks, but humans who had planned their post-lives to include the companionship of their pets protested. Now Hartsdale -- the nation's oldest and largest pet cemetery, with over 70,000 companion animals (and 700 humans) making it their final resting place -- can again allow owners to be laid to rest alongside beloved pets, as long as they do not advertise, or charge for, that service.
Hartsdale, founded in 1896 by veterinarian Dr. Samuel Johnson, is no doubt a lovely facility, but we're not sure we'd describe the ability to go there after death as a "gift," so much as a somewhat unhealthy attempt to control death and grief. But everybody's relationships with their pets -- and their grieving processes -- are different, and Levy isn't the only one who appreciates the lifting of the embargo; the New York Post quotes Taylor York as feeling relieved that her late uncle, NYPD officer Thomas Ryan, can be laid to rest at Hartsdale beside his wife and their Maltese dogs.
If a family member made such arrangements, we'd have no problem with it; we'd honor their wishes. But it's not something we'd do for ourselves, and we'd have a tough time not making "mew-soleum" jokes. And we definitely have to draw the line at pet seances.
Have you ever buried a pet -- or a pet's owner -- at a pet cemetery? Do you think it's a sweet idea, or a creepy waste of money? Did the Stephen King book scare you off the idea years ago? Talk to us in the comments.