They love you unequivocally, they don’t judge, and they are always happy to see you. Humans’ love for their pets run deep, and losing them can prove devastating.
“It’s awful, just awful, the worst,” said pet owner Sarah Ivory, who lost her dog Dudley in September. “There is some emptiness, there is a hole in the house, there is nothing to do, no one to make you go walking. It’s just different,” she said.
Ivory buried Dudley’s ashes at her lakeside cottage home.
What she didn’t realize is that there is now an alternative. A cemetery in Laval has opened a section called Masters and Companions — where humans can be buried right alongside their pets.
“We have a plot where you can be buried with your animals,” said Benoit Poirier, whose family owns the Laval Cemetery and the Magnus Poirier funeral complexes. “So one or the other goes in first, and then you can rejoin your animal when it passes the time.”
Poirier explains the cemetery first opened a section for cremated pets back in 2012. But demand started growing for pet burials, where the animal didn’t need to be cremated.
“People want to bury because in their religion or mind it’s better to do,” Poirier said.
In 2017, the cemetery created a Harmony section, specifically a burial plot for humans and pets together.
Poirier already has his spot reserved for his retriever, Mia.
“When I come home she is always happy to see me, more than my wife sometimes. So yes, I think people are attached to their animals, and it’s a nice last gesture you can do for your animal.”
Pet cemeteries do exist across the country, but most Canadian cemeteries are associated with churches, which won’t allow burials for pets with humans.
The Laval cemetery offers a full service, including handmade pet coffins, a visitation and a religious ceremony, if you want it.
And people are reserving their spots. One elderly lady just reserved her spot for her cat Oliver from Toronto, and for herself.
“There are no boundaries to be buried with your pet,” said Daniel Robitaille, the director of the Masters and Companions section of the cemetery. “You have to see with your eyes these last moments when people put their pets away. It’s very touching.”