Yesterday, I received a voicemail message I had been dreading.

“Ms. Singleton, I wanted to say, again, how sorry I am and to express my sympathy at the loss of Precious. I also wanted to remind you that you requested a private cremation and we have her ashes here for you to pick up.”

I felt sick.

Making the decision to euthanize my sweet dog a couple of weeks ago had been heart wrenching. And in that moment, I also had to decide what to do with her remains. Did I want to take her for burial? Did I want her to be cremated? Did I want to keep the ashes?

I couldn’t imagine trying to dig a hole to bury her, or if it would even be legal for me to bury her in my back yard. I also didn’t think I would be able to handle carrying her body out to the car, emotionally or physically. But I had never thought of cremation. Knowing I needed to make a decision and fast, I just chose cremation and decided I would deal with the cost and consequences of that later.

It is now later, and I have a small blue tin sitting in the living room with the ashes of the dog I loved so much. I still walk into the house and expect her to meet me. Having her remains here does nothing to change the loss. 

So, on Thanksgiving Day, when I leave the house to go celebrate with my family, I will take the little tin along. And sometime that morning, I will walk up to the stand of trees overlooking my parents farm and scatter those ashes in the same spot where my childhood dog, Spanky, is buried.

I will probably cry, I will try to pray, and I will be filled with gratitude yet again that I was able to lovingly return my pet to the one who made her.