Social Question

prolificus's avatar

Would you have your pet euthanized upon your death in order to be buried alongside each other? Why or why not?

Asked by prolificus (6540points) November 30th, 2010

In a MSNBC news article, several families members discus their beloved deceased ones who had willed their pets to be euthanized and buried alongside.

What do you think? Would you do this for yourself or your loved ones who make provisions in their will? Why or why not?

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83 Answers

Soubresaut's avatar

No. I think it’s horrible. I wouldn’t ever ask for it, and I’d fight tooth and nail for the poor animals that have been condemned to death.
Wills are for passing along your things to others, so that they have a piece of you. Not for taking the life of another creature along with you to the grave. I can’t believe people even have the right to ask that.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I wouldn’t want my pets killed because I drop dead.
Someone in my family or one of my friends would gladly take any one of them in.They are that lovable :)

CyanoticWasp's avatar

My dorg is more apt to kill me in a murder-suicide thing.

zenvelo's avatar

what a gawd-awful egotistical idea! The pets have a right to live; I don’t see these people volunteering to be put down when their pets die before them. Wait, maybe that’s a good idea….

lillycoyote's avatar

No. I would never do anything like that. I would find a home for my animal. That’s crazy. You have no right to euthanize a perfectly healthy animal just because you’re dead.

phoebusg's avatar

No, nothing belongs to me, let alone my pet. My own body first belongs to itself, and secondly “serves” as housing for my brain. I on the other hand belong to my bio-lineage. I think this request is horrendous. At the same time, on a different plane, would I eat my pets if I was about to starve to death? Yes. The rule of the jungle comes out of necessity. And I know some people love their pets too much and wouldn’t do that. But only then would I accept killing your pet – or if your pet is suffering and it cannot be solved any other way.

NanoBiscuit's avatar

Absolutely, positively not! Some folks are just simply wacko..

They talk about it in front of the dog and before you know it… what @CyanoticWasp said. :)

cockswain's avatar

Jesus Christ, that would be a fucked up thing to do. It would never occur to me. Such a pompous, selfish, stupid act.

unless it was the pet’s idea

marinelife's avatar

Why not instead come up with a pet guardian that you trust to take care of your pets?

What a horrible idea.

iamthemob's avatar

Yeah, that’s perhaps one of the most terrible things I’ve ever heard any real pet owner ever suggest.

prolificus's avatar

Personally, I think it should be against the law. It’s animal abuse, especially if it’s a healthy pet! I do not see how it can be legally done. How could a vet legally euthanize an animal if the animal is not in poor health and/or near death?

I would never do it for myself, or for a family member who requests it. It’s unimaginably cruel for the pet, and there are better ways to show love after death by ensuring a good home, etc.

xxii's avatar

That is ridiculous. I would never do it and I don’t think I’ll ever understand why people do.

AmWiser's avatar

That would be terribly inhumane and unethical.

crisw's avatar

Horribly unethical and ridiculous. When you’re dead, you’re dead- killing your pet isn’t going to give you any comfort then.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

In defense of the idea… since it appears to need an advocate here, and it’s my lot to be the advocate of unpopular ideas in Fluther…

It’s not such a horrible idea, really. If the bond between the pet and owner is very tight, then the pet will grieve the owner’s loss… and won’t understand the concept of “death of the owner”. We can grieve the loss of our pets if they die before us, and at least we understand the concept and know that we’ll get over it eventually. The pet understands none of this. It’s just in a world of hurt, and in that case putting it down humanely is not such an awful thing.

If the pet has another place to go, is young and healthy, will have great care in the new place, and the family has assured the owner of that, then fine, do that instead. But it’s not always the case, is it? We live long distances from our kids, the kids have a lifestyle that at least for now precludes animal care, or the pet is also old and hanging on by a thread… there are a lot of considerations.

And if people believe in ‘spirits’ and rebirth, that sort of thing, then they may believe that the two of them can go on together in another life. People have much stranger beliefs than that.

In any case, as a pet owner I have an absolute right to (humanely) put my pet down at any time and for nearly any reason. And I wouldn’t consider it ‘unethical’ in the least, if I thought the animal wouldn’t be cared for at least as well as I could. In fact, it might be the most ethical choice to make.

Just because people don’t like the idea doesn’t make it a bad idea, a wrong idea, or the owner a horrible person. And personally, I don’t like the idea, myself, because at least for now Willow and I have other options. For example, when I fall down the cellar stairs and break my neck, she’s going to feed off my carcass for a month or so and learn to drink out of the toilet.

cockswain's avatar

@CyanoticWasp If I asked “Do you think eating poop is a good idea,” would you find a way to defend that too?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@cockswain no, but Willow would, I think. She’s partial to the rabbits’; doesn’t much care for the squirrels’.

cockswain's avatar

my dog ate some cat poop the other day, then puked it up on the rug. While I was half done cleaning it, she walked over and started licking what was left. There’s a scurvy animal.

zenvelo's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I’m not quite sure you have the right to put down a healthy animal just for your whim. Isn’t that one of the reasons Michael Vick got jail time?

iamthemob's avatar

Parents and children share a strong bond too. Disabled children will need care and may not understand the separation of death, and may never.

crisw's avatar


“In any case, as a pet owner I have an absolute right to (humanely) put my pet down at any time and for nearly any reason.”

This is the part I most disagree with. While in many places you have that option under the law, that doesn’t make it an ethical thing to do. Animals are not used furniture to be discarded on a whim, although our society has a long way to go to learn this lesson.

As far as the grieving- yes, they grieve, Anyone who has ever done dog rescue has seen the grieving- and it’s heartbreaking. But this is not a reason to kill them, They get over it.

lillycoyote's avatar

@crisw Is right. You don’t have a “right” to put a healthy animal down any time for any reason. Animals are not property that you have a right to dispose of at your will. You have a responsibility to and for them, not a right to kill them on a whim.

BarnacleBill's avatar

When my brother-in-law died, his ornery, old, anti-social cat was euthanized and put in the casket with him, between his feet, where he usually slept. The cat would not have done well without him, no one was in a position to take on another cat. It’s nice to think of them together.

FutureMemory's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Your post is so full of bullshit it’s not even worth attempting a response.

Blackberry's avatar

No, because I’m not a selfish idiot…..

rangerr's avatar

I’ll take @CyanoticWasp‘s side on this one.
While I disagree about the right to euthanize healthy pets, he’s right about pets who grieve after their owners have passed.
My grandfathers cats starved themselves to death after he died. They slept on his bed and refused to get up, or eat food that was put on the bed. They just wanted to lay there and do nothing.

We attempted to take in our neighbors hunting dog after he died, and the dog would sit at the window and stare at his house all day. When we’d try to take walks with the dog, he’d break loose of the leash and run and sit on the front porch. The dog would whimper every night and just stare outside like he was expecting his owner to come back and get him.
He ended up having to be put down because he started chewing his legs to the bone.

And who could forget Hachikō?

Pets who have been with the same owner for their entire life, then get taken away and put in an entirely new environment can be fatal for animals. Their brains can’t comprehend it. I can almost understand euthanasia for them at that point.
I’d never do it, because well.. my horses are far too big to be buried with me.. and they have more than one person they are attached to.

@iamthemob Your argument about disabled children is totally irrelevant here, but one I’d have unpopular feelings on as well. (And yes, I’m well aware of what it’s like to live with a disabled family member.)

rooeytoo's avatar

I live in the real world where unwanted animals are euthanized at an unbelievable rate in all civilized countries and die of starvation or abuse and neglect in the same civilized countries plus the “uncivilized” ones as well. Therefore, unless I personally knew someone who would take care of my animals in a way that I find responsible and acceptable, I would rather have them put to sleep by their own vet in a fashion I decide upon than picked up by a county dog enforcement officer, spend the prescribed # of days in a pound, then if not adopted by a total stranger, who again may not take care of them properly, be killed in a perhaps inhumane fashion.

It is my legal right and I personally feel my moral responsibility to take care of my animals in the way I see fit whether I am dead or alive.

I would do this not so the animals could be buried with me, rather that I know they will never spend a day of their lives tied to a tree in the back yard, or get loose and roam streets starving and looking for their next meal. Nope much more humane to have them put down upon my demise.

ucme's avatar

That would be an extraordinarily selfish act. I say no to pooch genocide….no I tell you! :¬)

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

What the fuck??

No. That’s ridiculous.

iamthemob's avatar

@rangerr – Not at all. Stating irrelevance isn’t proving it. The point is is that nobody has the right to determine whether a living being would be better off dead when the only problems are emotional.

Predicting that something would not do well without you and therefore shouldn’t go on living without you is…well…just arrogant.

FutureMemory's avatar

@iamthemob Predicting that something would not do well without you and therefore shouldn’t go on living without you is…well…just arrogant.

Why sugarcoat it? It’s fucking ridiculous.

iamthemob's avatar

Wow…I didn’t know that “arrogant” was a phrase people used to sugar-coat these days. People be getting nasty if that’s a euphamism now.;-)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

How about we euthanize the pet owner when the pet dies?

FutureMemory's avatar

@iamthemob Compared to arrogant beyond all fucking measure it’s sugarcoated. Sorta :)

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Actually, @FutureMemory, the height of arrogance is assuming that your own opinions are so unassailably perfect (and self-evident) that you don’t even need to express them or make a single argument in favor of them. Speaking of pure bullshit…

Thanks so much for your wonderful contributions to the debate. Not.

prolificus's avatar

^^ play nice boys, or I might need to put you down. ~

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t have a pet, but if I did, I’m not playing Pharaoh. I’d try to arrange for someone to take care of my pet after I was deceased.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

I wouldn’t be able to do that. My dog is only a puppy, and I couldn’t bear the thought of her dying a premature death that I caused. I hope that she wouldn’t pine away without me, and I’d leave her with a person she knows and trusts, if possible.

Agree with @wundayatta. Say no to playing Pharaoh. Let my people (and dogs) go!

mammal's avatar

no, they should be euthanized if their pet dies first though, they aren’t Pharaohs.

JustJessica's avatar

It’s a disgusting thought that anyone would even consider doing that. I’m leaving my cat to my sister if I were to perish before my sweet kitty.

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tinyfaery's avatar

Absolutely not. This is just another example of the ego and selfishness of humans. Some people do not deserve the love and companionship of animals.

Soubresaut's avatar

I know some people see is as the humane thing, and I’ve already voiced up here, but I just keep seeing this scene in my head. Feel free to replace the subject with anyone/anything you believe you will or won’t meet, he’s just well known so he’s who I’m seeing.

“Hey St. Peter! Guess what? I know you were just asking for me, but I thought it’d be nice if I brought a guest to this party! Great, right?”

rooeytoo's avatar

May I just offer a possible scenario and see if that changes your minds?

Let us assume it is an older person with no relatives or friends upon whom to rely to take care of the dog in the event of their demise. This person is aware of the conditions of the average rescue or pound which would be terrifying to their already unsettled dog. This person knows the very low percentage of adult dogs that are adopted. This person knows their dog would sit in the pound or rescue for the prescribed # of days, uprooted from its home and owner who has died, terrified. Then probably be euthanized anyhow but perhaps en masse by gas instead of a quick and peaceful injection.

I feel this is being responsible for your dog not being egomanical or selfish, it is acknowledging that there are more dogs and cats in this world than people who want to care for them. In my mind the selfish people are the ones who buy pets and then don’t have them desexed or abandon them in the country or who get rid of them because they are moving or it has become inconvenient or too expensive to keep them.

Having a pet put to sleep is often the least selfish (but most difficult) option.

crisw's avatar

Of course we can come up with some scenarios where it seems to make sense. But most of the time it doesn’t. The case in the article, for example, was a perfectly healthy, eminently placeable 2 year old Yorkshire terrier.

The moral of this story- provide for your pets in your will.

Eclipse's avatar

No, but I might order some of my enemies to be “euthanized” when I die and just have them buried in a shallow grave.

rangerr's avatar

In regards to having the owner put down after the pet dies.. I’ve got a horse that when he dies, I can guarantee you I’ll want to be put down. I went suicidal after the horse I raised from a pony died. Sooo. I’m cool with that option, too, really.
I’m one of the most animal-sensitive people that I know, and I hate seeing any animal put down. I’ve held the dogs at the animal shelter until they died when they got put down.
Not everyone has the luxury of having caring people willing to take in your pets if you die.
Those pets generally end up at the shelter, and like @rooeytoo said, it quite often doesn’t end well. Especially if the animal is already traumatized and not willing to cooperate with other people.

iamthemob's avatar

We can build an argument about situations in which it would be appropriate. However, the unfortunate thing is that a dead person can’t tell what those situations would really be.

If a dog can’t adjust and is a danger to others, this might be a reasonable option. If it is sick and dying itself, this might be an option.

However, someone can easily provide for some sort of god-parent for their animal and allow them to build a relationship. If there isn’t anyone for them to leave it to, then the will isn’t really a major issue (people in this state generally die intestate). But if you have a pet, and this is a possibility, the thing any responsible owner would do is provide for the dogs care after death, not death.

Paradox's avatar

I already have someone to care for my cats if I passed on. No I would never kill my pets just because I was dying.

gondwanalon's avatar

Such a criminal act!

YARNLADY's avatar

The dog I used to have would have had to be euthanized, because I was the only one she liked. She was vicious, and would have been anyway.

The dog I have now is a sweetheart and everybody loves him, so there would be no issue with finding him a home. I don’t believe in an afterlife, and my carry a full body donor card with me at all times, so there won’t be a grave or such.

Coloma's avatar

I have no desire to be buried with my pets, let alone do them in for that purpose, BUT…I have told my daughter that if she could not find good homes for them I would prefer them to be euthanized over suffering emotional trauma. I stand firmly by this and feel it is the highest choice I can make in that circumstance.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Coloma – now why would you possibly dare to introduce common sense and responsibility into this paragon of pompous self righteousness????

ga matey!!! :-p

Coloma's avatar


Haha..yes, well…some of our boats are leak free! ;-)

iamthemob's avatar

@Coloma – Provisions leaving the care of a pet in the hands of someone who you trust to make the correct decision is a very, very different scenario. Kudos.

Coloma's avatar


Exactly, provisions, good choice of words.

I dunno though, I might kill the cats right now, the nightly claw shredding laps around the house have begun. lol

tinyfaery's avatar

What is more self-centered than thinking your pet can’t live without you? Please.

Coloma's avatar


If the pet is elderly and very used to a particular level of care it merits consideration if one is not able to find a suitable replacement home.

It is about the pet not ego at that point.

Finding homes for senior animals is not easy, and, in my case I have farm animals as pets as well. Not too many people would treat my geese the way I do.

tigress3681's avatar

Certain people in human history have had belongings to include wives, buried with them. This practice was abandoned long ago for many reasons. The least of which is human/animal rights. Not to mention religious reasons.

FutureMemory's avatar

Why do people assume animals have complex emotions like humans do? All this “emotional trauma” bullshit is really laughable.

rangerr's avatar

@FutureMemory Your last bullshit statement is laughable. I’d love to know where you get the idea that animals don’t have complex emotions.

FutureMemory's avatar

I doubt many animals are wishing at the time of their owner’s death that they had an opposable thumb so they could write a suicide note before they end it all.

I’d love to know where you get the idea that they, as a rule, do?

rangerr's avatar

I never said they did, that I’m aware of.
But there are plenty of animals who have been mentally unstable enough to care for themselves after being separated from their owner. I’ve seen it in more animals than I wish I ever have.
Animals understand more than we think they do. They form attachments the same as humans do, and to think otherwise is completely ludicrous.

tigress3681's avatar

@rangerr Animals do not have developed amygdalas. Granted emotions are not solely centered in the amygdala, they are a huge part of why we are able to experience the wide range of emotions that we do. This is a part of why animals are considered, widely, in the scientific community to be unable to experience emotions.

Coloma's avatar


Well, the scientific community is very one dimensional and has trouble with their own integration of emotional and intuitive response. Being solely mind and thought driven is hardly part of a fully integrated human psyche. lol

Animals feel joy, love, fear, excitement, anxiety and sadness, every bit as much as a human.

Many animals suffer depression at the loss of a bonded human and/or loss of a mate in the species that have strong pair bonds.

Laugh if you will but my avian vet put my chinese gander on a natural anti-depressent after his mate of 10 years died.

Geese are one of the animals that can actually become so depressed when losing a long term mate that they can die.

I’d say that signifies plenty of emotion.

What animals don’t do is make up stories in their minds about how terrible things are, ruminate, and create identities out of their stories like humans do, but they certainly do experience emotion and are very much creatures of habit that do suffer when their routines and familiar caretakers go missing.

There are countless stories of animals devotion and emotional attachments to their people.

crisw's avatar


Cite, please? I have never heard that argument, and I have read a lot of sources on nonhuman animal psychology.

tigress3681's avatar

@Coloma One dimensional? Are you kidding me? Scientists come from many areas of expertise. Each area of expertise gives an added dimension of knowledge and understanding about a studied topic. By stating that you believe that the ENTIRE scientific community has problems integrating their emotional and intuitive responses, you seem to be oversimplifying and polarizing a HUGE group of people. This stereotype is unacceptable and irresponsible of you.

Science is hugely about quantifying data and finding explanations for the data. Often these explanations are intuitive. Also, the scientific method involves coming to a hypothesis which is often intuitive, and then finding data that either supports or doesn’t this hypothesis. Obviously emotions are avoided in this process as much as possible because this can cause people to steer evidence in favor of or against said emotions.

@crisw Please forgive my crappy reference citing:
1. An Introduction to BEHAVIORAL ENDOCRINOLOGY 3rd Ed, Randy J. Nelson copyright 2005, see pages 737–740
2. Hormones and Behavior, Lecture, Heather Caldwell, Fall 2009

Paradox's avatar

I think many animals have the capacity to love and feel emotions as well as sense people’s emotions as well, especially their owners. My cats wouldn’t leave my side when I was grieving over losing my brother in a tragic accident.

crisw's avatar


Obviously I can’t access your lecture notes, but the book is mostly readable on Amazon. I don’t see anything to support your contention on those pages. There’s no mention that I see of animals having less intense emotions due to a less developed amygdala,

tigress3681's avatar

Ya, sorry you couldn’t have been there. By the way, less intense =/= wide range.

I do not have full access to pubmed or other similar sites but I am sure you can find plenty of amygdala and other brain part study information there. Start with “mammalian amygdala” and see what you get. I got first try, you could start there.

Coloma's avatar


Clinical expertise and real, hands on experience are two different things entirely.

Studying animal behavior from a purely biological approach does not present a fully integrated picture. Therefore I would say that you are equally ‘guilty’ of making a blanket statement that animals do not feel emotion.

That too would be incomplete, biased, and not acceptable.

That would be over simplifying a HUGE group of animals. lol


Although my statement was not intended to blanket the entirity of the scientific community.

Studying a caged dog or it’s dissected brain is not even remotely close to living with and experiencing the full monty of dog complexity which can only be experienced via experience not simply observation nor text book study.

Claiming animals feel no emotion is akin to claiming that a romance novel is reflective of real life relationship. Absurdity at it’s finest.

Science has also proven that brain size has nothing to do with intellignece and that a variety of diverse stimuli increases brain size & development in many species of young animals, soooo… my EXPERIENCE with many different species of animals I can say with absolutism that any creature can exhibit many diverse emotions and behaviors dependent on stimuli, attention, caring and bonding just as a humans development, mentally, emotionally can be excelerated or stunted by the same or lack thereof.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I wouldn’t want my animals to die just because I had. The only thing I wish for them is that they are rehomed to people who will love them as much as I do which is why, even though I am only 24 years old, I have already made plans for my animals, should I die before them.

I once heard of a woman who put her Great Dane to sleep because she was moving and couldn’t take the dog with her. Her reason was that she didn’t like the idea of not knowing what would become of the dog even if she were to rehome it. I’m not really sure if these intentions were in the dogs best interest but I can’t help feeling she robbed the dog of the rest of it’s life.

tigress3681's avatar


“Therefore I would say that you are equally ‘guilty’ of making a blanket statement that animals do not feel emotion.”

I think you need to learn how to read.

iamthemob's avatar

The scientific community as I’ve encountered it seems fairly accepting of animal emotions, maybe not to the range humans experience. Most resistance appeared to be regarding attributing the terminology of human emotinos to animals – but it seems that there’s a lot more acceptance now.

Regardless, there are animals that have particularly developed amygdalas, so we can’t really generalize at all about them. Further, assuming that human amygdalas are central in experiencing emotions would sort of defeat the purpose of animal research trials.

So…you were making a fairly sweeping generalization that isn’t really supported by the evidence. I think that warrants a commentary on your blanket statement – because it looks more like maybe you’re the one that might need to learn how to read…

Coloma's avatar


Well said, and informative links. :-)

I had an experience last summer with my newer female rescue goose that is blind in one eye.
She has made a lot of progress in her socialization the last 2 years and upon a trip to the vet for a sprained hock she went wild when I left the room. Shrieking and inconsolable until I returned.

My Avian vet whom I have know for the last 12 years was amazed at the depth of bonding and emotion she displayed. Her panicked shieiks could be heard all over the building.

She calmed right down when I returned and was able to be injected and medicated and weighed without struggle.

It was heart wrenching and heart warming at the same time.

That was the day I knew our bond was solidified and she absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, felt extreme fear and anxiety upon my disappearance.

Proof enough for me! ;-)

iamthemob's avatar

rescues are awesome!

tigress3681's avatar

@iamthemob your first sentence is exactly the same thing I said. Thanks!

iamthemob's avatar

Which first sentence was exactly the same thing you were saying where?

tigress3681's avatar

“maybe not to the range humans experience.”

iamthemob's avatar

Here’s why I think it is unclear then…:

Animals do not have developed amygdalas. Granted emotions are not solely centered in the amygdala, they are a huge part of why we are able to experience the wide range of emotions that we do. This is a part of why animals are considered, widely, in the scientific community to be unable to experience emotions.

The above was in response to @rangerr‘s claim about her pet’s emotions….so it reads pretty clearly that you’re not claiming that animals have emotions but not the range humans do…but rather, as the last clause of the post, that animals are unable to experience emotions.

Coloma's avatar

I’m confused now. lol

Sooo, when my cat goes nutso and attacks me he is experiencing no driving emotion?



tigress3681's avatar

@iamthemob I claimed that a large part of the scientific community believes many animals are incapable of emotions (which emotions, depends on species) presumably at part because certain parts of their brains are less developed than ours, and in further thought possibly also due to evolutionary mechanisms . I left out my opinion on the matter. For the sake of argument, here it is:

I believe that animal emotional range varies with species and that it is smaller than the human range of emotions as we are experience a huge variety of overlapping emotions. For example, I do not believe sponges experience any emotions at all and cats/dogs do not experience anger or rage at all and jealousy/envy exist as ownership/territorialism. The exact difference between jealousy and territorialism is unclear to me but I intuitively know there is one and look to my youngest cat as an example, she doesn’t seem to mind if my eldest cat uses a resource (cat tree, food dish, my hand, etc) until she wants to use it. I know that the types of animals that I have enjoyed the company of in my life have experienced fear, excitement, and anxiety. I also know that certain types of primates exhibit behaviors that appear as hissy fits and similar anger type emotions. I think that that may actually be anger but then again, it could be a fight or flight response and I have never spent any time with them. The presence of certain brain components, regardless of their development status (not size necessarily, but complexity perhaps) indicates to me that emotions such as fear are present and helpful for some animals to learn some things. I am pretty sure that some animals do not experience loneliness in the way that we might, tigers for example typically live alone except to mate and raise young. Those species tend to live alone and not in packs or pairings. Perhaps they may feel loneliness when they come into estrus and other certain mating related events? Dogs and other pack animals probably feel lonely anytime they are not with a pack.

Back to the topic of this question: I believe that euthanasia for no other reason than the desire of a human to have a loved pet with them at the end is cruel and should be shunned. Why? Not because of anything the pet experiences but simply because they are alive. Killing animals should never be done just for sport, fun, or comfort, except spiders who crawl across my walls, which should be thoroughly destroyed with enthusiasm, as there are more than enough of them on the outside of my house. Sacrifices that improve the lives of people in an objective way are acceptable to me, food, warmth, research, etc

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