New Zealand Considers Whole-Family Cemeteries

Michael Coghlan, Rural Wonderland (detail). 2011. flickr url: http://tinyurl.com/neq2j67.

Michael Coghlan, Rural Wonderland (detail). 2011. flickr url: http://tinyurl.com/neq2j67.

New Zealand is modifying its cemetery law.
Will it honor the wishes of those wanting to bury
their animals’ remains in their family’s cemetery plot?

by Rachael Ford  1709 words

In late 2013, Rachael Ford informed the Green Pet-Burial Society about New Zealand’s process of updating its cemetery law. A registered nurse, Rachael is the founder of With Our Loved Ones (WOLO), dedicated to establishing whole-family cemeteries in NZ. We support WOLO and sent a detailed letter to the NZ government in support of conservation whole-family cemeteries. We invited Rachael to prepare a guest blog about pet burial practices in New Zealand and her founding of WOLO. Here she provides a background on NZ cemetery law, Māori tradition, and a poetic recollection of grief for her dog Beulah.


NZcoat-of-armsNew Zealand, a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, is in the process of updating its Burial and Cremation Act of 1964. The Law Commission invited submissions from citizens, stakeholders and experts on how to improve the current law (the Green Pet-Burial Society was among the respondents). So in November 2013 I formed With Our Loved Ones (WOLO), an ad hoc group of New Zealanders and supporters dedicated to the formation of whole-family cemeteries in NZ. Continue reading

Memories and Holidays

Still frame from The Snowman and The Snowdog. 2012.

Still frame from The Snowman and The Snowdog. 2012. Hilary Audus, director.

Most every holiday highlights family – the family into which we were born or adopted, or the ones we create for ourselves. All those relations of different ages, thoughts and species are special to us in their own way. For those who have experienced the recent passing of a family member, close friend or teacher, or who are reminded of days gone by, of reassuring glances, or of playful and gentle touch, we ask: how can one’s reminiscence and grief coincide with so much holiday cheer? Continue reading

One Year Sleeps, Another Awakes

Gerrit Dou (1613–1675), Sleeping Dog (detail), 1650. Oil on panel, 6 ½ x 8 ½ inches. The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection. Image courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Gerrit Dou (1613–1675), Sleeping Dog (detail), 1650. Oil on panel, 6 ½ x 8 ½ inches. The Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection. Image courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The end of a year can be challenging, especially when we consider those who have recently passed, or those who passed years ago. Bereavement sneaks in, but only if we shut it out. As we close 2013 and look ahead to 2014, we’d like to share this poem by Denise Levertov.

Talking to Grief by Denise Levertov

Ah, Grief, I should not treat you
like a homeless dog
who comes to the back door
for a crust, for a meatless bone.
I should trust you. Continue reading

A new kind of pet cemetery – Pet Memorial Acres

Note: We are sorry to announce that this beautiful cemetery has since closed due to lack of business and interest within the surrounding area. The Green Pet-Burial Society will continue to encourage and support more strongly new green cemeteries in the future.

A beautiful new pet memorial park, Pet Memorial Acres, recently opened in central New York State. With its commitment to green burials within its borders – and in general – it represents a future direction for pet cemeteries in the U.S. and abroad. Since there are few options for green pet-burials in dedicated cemeteries, we wanted to recognize Pet Memorial Acres by inviting its founder, Darryl Simcoe, to write of his inspiration and aspirations for this new venture.

by Darryl Simcoe, Founder, Pet Memorial Acres

Pet Memorial Acres

Summer at Pet Memorial Acres

My interest in pet cemeteries evolved from my research into green burials. I came across the website for Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve located in Newfield, New York. A human cemetery, it is one of a very few cemeteries in New York State that provide the option of a green burial for all people. [Note: New York State cemetery law prohibits animals from being buried in human cemeteries.] Continue reading

“We’ll do this – together”

Buster, Maudann and Doyle Shugart

Buster, Maudann and Doyle Shugart

A dear friend of our Green Pet-Burial Society, Doyle L. Shugart, passed on July 8, 2012. He is widely known and respected for establishing Deceased Pet Care, Georgia’s first and only full service pet funeral home and the largest pet funeral home in the nation.

Doyle founded Deceased Pet Care in 1972 at a time when (many if not most) regarded pet cemeteries as curiosities. Along with his wife, Maudann, and their three children, Keith, Kyle, and Donna, the Shugarts grew Deceased Pet Care to three locations, which include two pet cemeteries. Under his compassionate guidance, they have supported and comforted numerous bereaved families. Continue reading