Books/Articles/Films

Works included may not represent the philosophy of the Green Pet-Burial Society (e.g., we do not support disrupting cemeteries or the practice of mummification), yet they contribute to our understanding of the roles that ‘pets’ and other animals play in human lives and imagination cross-culturally and throughout history.

Note:  If you know of a published work of fiction or non-fiction that represents or explores themes of animal death, particularly pet burials, leave your comment below.

  1. Nonfiction
    1. Animal-Focused
    2. Death in General
    3. Loss of Nature
  2. Fiction
  3. Journal Articles & Chapters
  4. News & Magazine Articles
  5. Poetry & Art Books
  6. Film
  7. Children’s Literature
    1. Older readers
    2. Middle readers
    3. Younger readers

Nonfiction

Animal-Focused

*Adams, Carol J. , Patti Breitman and Virginia Messina. Even Vegans Die
A Practical Guide to Caregiving, Acceptance, and Protecting Your Legacy of Compassion. Lantern Books, 2017. [our work is highlighted in the last chapter]

Aloi, Giovanni. Speculative Taxidermy: Natural History, Animal Surfaces, and Art in the Anthropocene. New York: Columbia University Press, 2018.

Ambrose, Barbara. Bones of Contention: Animals and Religion in Contemporary Japan. University of Hawaii Press, 2012.

Brooks Pribac, Teya. Enter the Animal: Cross-species perspectives on grief and spirituality. Sydney: Sydney University Press, 2021.

*DeMello, Margo, ed. Mourning Animals: Rituals and Practices Surrounding Animal Death. Michigan State University Press, 2016.

Desmond, Jane C. Displaying Death and Animating Life: Human-Animal Relations in Art, Science, and Everyday Life. University of Chicago Press, 2016.

de Waal, Frans. Mama’s Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves. W. W. Norton & Company, 2019.

Heinrich, Bernd. Life Everlasting: The Animal Way of Death. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. [Read an interview with the author.]

Hirschfeld, Rachel. Petriarchy: The Complete Guide to Financial and Legal Planning for a Pet’s Continued Care. New York: AICPA, 2010.

Ikram, Salima, ed. Beloved Beasts: Animal Mummies from Ancient Egypt. New York: The American University in Cairo Press, 2006.

——-. Divine Creatures: Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt. New York: The American University in Cairo Press. 2005.

Johnston, Jay and Fiona Probyn-Rapsey, eds. Animal Death. Sydney: N.S.W. Sydney University Press, 2013. [review]

Jones, Barbara Lee. “Mythic Implications of Faunal Assemblages from Three Ohlone Sites.” Master’s thesis, San Francisco State University, 2010. http://online.sfsu.edu/mgriffin/Jones2009.pdf.

Kean, Hilda. The Great Cat and Dog Massacre: The Real Story of World War Two’s Unknown Tragedy (Animal Lives series). University of Chicago Press, 2017.

King, Barbara J. How Animals Grieve. University of Chicago Press. 2013. [Commentary by the author on NPR]

Kuzniar, Alice. Melancholia’s Dog. University of Chicago Press. 2006. [Review by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.]

Monahan, Linda Angela, “Understanding “Roadkill” through an Animal Method”. William & Mary: Dissertations, Theses, and Masters Projects. 2015. Paper 1539626782.
https://dx.doi.org/doi:10.21220/s2-spt2-pa51

Monsó, Susana. La Zarigüeya de Schrödinger: Cómo viven y entienden la muerte los animales. Madrid: Plaza y Valdés Editores, 2021. [A Spanish-language book exploring ways animals experience and possibly understand death.]

Morey, D. F. Dogs: Domestication and the Development of a Social Bond. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Porcher, Jocelyne. Pour une Mort Digne des Animaux. Introduction by Elisabeth de Fontenay. Paris: Éditions du Palais, 2014.  [Note: Porcher is a leading advocate of “traditional farms” and a critic of industrial farming.] review

Rose, Deborah Bird. Wild Dog Dreaming: Love and Extinction (Under the Sign of Nature). University of Virginia Press, 2011.

Seed, John, Joanna Macy, Pat Fleming, and Arne Naess. Thinking Like a Mountain: Towards a Council of All Beings. New Catalyst Books, 2007 (originally published in 1988). [Fostering notions of Deep Ecology through ritual and creativity]

Solomon, Sheldon, Jeff Greenberg and Tom Pyszczynski. The Worm at the Core: On the Role of Death in Life. Random House, 2015. review

Walker-Meikle, Kathleen. Medieval Pets. Boydell Press, 2014.

Death in General

Aries, Philippe and Helen Weaver. The Hour of Our Death: The Classic History of Western Attitudes Toward Death over the Last One Thousand Years. 2nd ed. Vintage, 1982. [not animal-focused]

Becker, Earnest. The Denial of Death. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1973.

Dobscha, Susan, ed. Death in a Consumer Culture. Routledge, 2016.

Doughty, Caitlin. From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death. W. W. Norton & Company, 2017.

Harris, Mark. Grave Matters: A Journey Through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial. New York: Scribner, 2007.

Hertz, Robert. Death and the Right Hand. (reissued by) Routledge, 1960. [not animal-focused]

Kelly, Suzanne. Greening Death: Reclaiming Burial Practices and Restoring Our Tie to the Earth. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.

Laqueur, Thomas W. The Work of the Dead: A Cultural History of Mortal Remains. Princeton University Press, 2015.

Ligotti, Thomas. The Conspiracy against the Human Race: A Contrivance of Horror. 2018. Penguin Books (Reprint edition. originally published in 2010) [“At once a guidebook to pessimistic thought and a relentless critique of humanity’s employment of self-deception to cope with the pervasive suffering of their existence”]

Lopez, Patricia and Kathryn A. Gillespie, eds. Economies of Death: Economic Logics of Killable Life and Grievable Death. Routledge, 2015.

McDuff, Mallory. Our Last Best Act: Planning for the End of Our Lives to Protect the People and Places We Love. Broadleaf Books, 2021.

Mitford, Jessica. The American Way of Death Revisited. Vintage. 2000. [not animal-focused]

Robben, Antonius C. G. M., ed. Death, mourning, and burial: a cross-cultural reader (2nd edition). Hoboken, NJ : John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2018. 

Sloane, David Charles. The Last Great Necessity: Cemeteries in American History. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.

Slominski, Elena Michele. The Life and Death of Funeral Practices: Persistence and change in the death system and the rise of eco-funerals in the United States. Master’s thesis in Development, Environment and Cultural Change, Centre for Development and the Environment. Reprosentralen, Universitetet i Oslo. 2020.

Sullivan, Daniel and Jeff Greenberg, eds. Death in Classic and Contemporary Film: Fade to Black. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. review

Loss of Nature

Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. Mariner Books, 2002 (originally published in 1962).

Douglas, Marjory Stoneman, with afterword by Michael Grunwald. The Everglades: River of Grass – Special Edition. Pineapple Press, 2016 (originally published in 1947).

Graves, John. Goodbye to a River: A Narrative. Vintage, 2002.

Jamail, Dahr. The End of Ice: Bearing Witness and Finding Meaning in the Path of Climate Disruption. The New Press, 2019.

Kolbert, Elizabeth. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. Henry Holt, 2014.

Longoria, Arturo. Adios to the Brushlands. Wardlaw Books Texas A&M University Press, 1997.

Snyder, Gary. The Practice of the Wild (with a new preface by the author), 2010. Counterpoint. (originally published in 1990)

Fiction

Arikawa, Hiro. The Travelling Cat ChroniclesTranslated by Philip Gabriel. Berkley, 2018.

Bodsworth, Fred, illustrated by T. M. Shortt. Last of the Curlews. 2nd ed. NY: Dodd Mead & Co, 1988. review

Boyer, François. The Secret Games. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1950. [later turned into the film The Forbidden Game]

Hamilton, Walker. All the Little Animals. London: Littlehampton Book Services Ltd., 1968.

Kawamura, Genki. If Cats Disappeared from the World: A NovelTranslated by Eric Selland. Flatiron Books, 2019.

King, Stephen. Pet Sematary. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1983. 

Pletzinger, Thomas. Funeral for a Dog. Translated by Ross Benjamin. W. W. Norton & Company, 2010.

Stein, Garth. The Art of Racing in the Rain. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2008.

Waugh, Evelyn. The Loved One: An Anglo-American Tragedy. New York: Little, Brown, 1948. [The book was the basis for the film The Loved One, 1965.]

Journal Articles & Chapters

*Ambrose, Barbara R. and Laura Hobgood. “Animals” in The Routledge Companion to Death and Dying, ed. Christopher M. Moreman. Routledge, 2018, 371-384.

Brandes, Stanley. The meaning of American Pet Cemetery Gravestones. Ethnology 48, no. 2 (2009) : 99-118.

Brant, Linda. Monuments of Compassion. The Journal of Public Space 5, no. 4 (2020) : 221-230. 10.32891/jps.v5i4.1421. [This article describes a taxonomy of monuments, as well as Linda’s memorial for farmed animals. It also introduces the term, monuments of compassion, coined by GPBS founder, Eric Greene.]

Cole, Brigitte F. and Phillip E. Koerper. The domestication of the dog in general–and dog burial research in the southeastern United States. Journal of the Alabama Academy of Science 73, no. 4 (2002) : 174(6).

Desmond, Jane C. “Animal Deaths and the Written Record of History: The Politics of Pet Obituaries,” in Making Animal Meaning, 99-111. Michigan State University Press, 2012.

——-. “Requiem for roadkill: Death and Denial on America’s roads” in Environmental Anthropology: Future Directions. Taylor and Francis, 2013. pp. 46-58.

Enright, K. Exhibiting Extinction: Martha and the Monument, Two Modes of Remembering Nature. Cultural Studies Review 25, no. 1 (2019) : 154-171.

Howell, Philip. A Place for the Animal Dead: Pets, pet cemeteries and animal ethics in late Victorian Britain. Ethics, Place and Environment 5, no. 1 (2002) : 5-22.

Iliff, Susan A. An Additional “R”: Remembering the AnimalsILAR Journal 43, no. 1 (2002) : 38-47. [Note: at the time of publication, Susan Iliff D.V.M., Dipl. ACLAM, was a Senior Research Veterinarian at Merck Research Laboratories, Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, New Jersey.]

Kenney, E. Pet funerals and animal graves in Japan. Mortality 9 (2004) : 42-60.

Lee, Sherman A and Nicole A Surething. Neuroticism and Religious Coping Uniquely Predict Distress Severity among Bereaved Pet Owners. Anthrozoos 26, no. 1 (2013) : 61-76.

Morey, D. F. Burying key evidence: the social bond between dogs and people. Journal of Archeological Science 33, no. 2 (2006) : 158-175.

——-. Burying Man’s Best Friend (an interview with Darcy Morey). Archaeology, Interviews: a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America. November 8, 2006.

Rose, Deborah Bird. “Judas Work: Four Modes of Sorrow,” in Environmental Philosophy 5, no. 2 (2008): 51–66.

Tourigny, Eric. “Do all dogs go to heaven? Tracking human-animal relationships through the archaeological survey of pet cemeteries,” Published online by Cambridge University Press: 27 October 2020, pp. 1-16. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2020.191.

Veldkamp, Elmer. “The Emergence of Pets as Family and the Socio-Historical Development of Pet Funerals in Japan,” in Anthrozoös 22, no. 4 (2009): 333-46.

News & Magazine Articles

Felicidario, Nina. Commentary: Mourning roadkill, in Great Lakes Echo (a project of the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University). May 7, 2021.

Kreider, Tim. A Man and His Cat, in New York Times, Menagerie. August 1, 2014.

Monsó, Susana. What animals think of death, in Aeon.com. 14 September 2021.

Pickerell, John. Oldest Known Pet Cat? 9,500-Year-Old Burial Found on Cyprus in National Geographic. April 8, 2004

van Vuuren, Karen, ed. Natural Transitions Magazine: Pets and Death 6, no. 1 (2017).

Poetry & Art Books

Lilley, Joanna. Endlings. Winnipeg, CA: Turnstone Press. 2020.

Lopez, Barry, illustrations by Robin Eschner. Apologia. University of Georgia Press; 1998. [Apologia reflects upon the animals killed by vehicles on the road. Read an interview with the author here.]

Film

Note: We are always concerned for the wellbeing of animals who appear in films. Films are listed here based on subject matter, without knowing the actual conditions on set. 

A Dog’s Purpose. Directed by Lasse Hallström. 2017. Los Angeles: Amblin Entertainment. Based on the book by W. Bruce Cameron

All Dogs Go to Heaven. Directed by Don Bluth. 1989. Dublin, Ireland: Sullivan Bluth Studios, Goldcrest Films International.

All the Little Animals. Directed by Jeremy Thomas. 1998. UK: Recorded Picture Company. Based on the book by Walker Hamilton.

Bwakaw. Directed by Jun Lana. 2012. Philippines: Cinemalaya.

Closet Monster. Directed by Stephen Dunn. 2015. Canada: Rhombus Media.

Denali. Directed, written, edited by Ben Knight. 2015. Moonhouse.

Duck, Death and the Tulip. Directed by Matthias Bruhn. 2010. Trickstudio. Based on the book by Wolf Erlbruch.

Fantastic Fungi. Directed by Louie Schwartzberg. 2019. USA documentary.

Forbidden Games (original title: Jeux interdits). Directed by René Clément. 1952. France: Silver Films. [part of The Criterion Collection].

Frankenweenie. Directed by Tim Burton. 2012. Los Angeles: Tim Burton Productions. 

Gates of Heaven. Directed by Errol Morris. 1978. Los Angeles: MGM Home Entertainment, 2005. DVD. 

Get Low. Directed by Aaron Schneider. 2009. Los Angeles: Sony Pictures Classics, 2010.

Hachi: A Dog’s Tale. Directed by Lasse Hallström. 2009. Los Angeles: Hachiko, LLC. Based on Hachi-kō by Kaneto Shindô.

Heart of a Dog. Directed by Laurie Anderson. 2015. New York: Canal Street Communications.

Hud. Directed by Martin Ritt. 1963. Los Angeles: Paramount Pictures.

Kes. Directed by Ken Loach. 1969. UK. [Based on the 1968 novel, A Kestrel for a Knave, by Barry Hines, depicts a boy who captures and trains a kestrel against the background of oppressive attitudes towards working class children, bullying, and an older brother’s aggressions.]

My Life as a Dog. Directed by Lasse Hallström. 1985. Sweden: FilmTeknik. Based on the book, Mitt liv som hund, by Reidar Jönsson. The Criterion Collection.

Old Partner (Wonang Sori). Directed by Chung-Ryoul Lee. 2008. South Korea: Studio Neurimbo.

One Nation Under Dog: Stories of fear, loss and betrayal. Directed by Jenny Charchman, Ellen Goosenberg Kent, and Amanda Micheli. 2012. New York: HBO Documentary Films.

Orphée et Eurydice. Music by Christoph Willibald Gluck. Libretto by Pierre -Lois Moline. Directed, choreographed and designed by John Neumeier. Directed by Matthew Diamond for PBS Great Performances. [While not specifically addressing the death of animal companions, this spellbinding opera-ballet illustrates how love transcends death and grief, and reaffirms life.]

Pet Sematary. Directed by Mary Lambert. 1989. Paramount Pictures.

Pet Sematary. Directed by Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer. 2019. Di Bonaventura Pictures; Room 101, Inc.

Roma. Directed and written by Alfonso Cuarón. 2018. Espectáculos Fílmicos El. [A review of the film’s symbolism here]

Secondhand Lion. Directed by Tim McCanlies. 2003. David Kirschner Productions. USA. [Hint: the lion is metaphorical]

Sounder. Directed by Martin Ritt. 1972. Radnitz/Mattel Productions.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor. 2019. Participant Media. UK, Malawi. [Based on the memoir, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.]

The Loved One. Directed by Tony Richardson. 1965. Sonoma County: Filmways. [based on the book by Evelyn Waugh]

The Three Lives of Thomasina. Directed by Don Chaffey. 1964. Los Angeles: Disney Studios.

Tikkun. Directed and written by Avishai Sivan. 2015. Israel: Plan B Productions. [Note: frontal nudity, sexual content, images of butchery] Read a review: After Life in Art Forum.

To Dust. Directed by Shawn Snyder. 2018. King Bee Productions. [Spoiler alert: in dealing with the death of his wife, the protagonist seeks to learn about the body’s decomposition. Yet it is a comedy of errors. In investigations, a pig is murdered and buried. While the film received critical respect, the murder of the pig – presented as a comical, ironic trope – wasn’t necessary to move the story forward, or reflect upon deeper themes.]

Where the Red Fern Grows. Directed by Lyman Dayton and Sam Pillsbury. 2003. Bob Yari Productions.

Children’s Literature

Older readers

de la Ramée, Marie Louise. A Dog of Flanders. London: Chapman and Hall, 1872.

Gallico, Paul. Thomasina: The Cat who Thought She was God. New York: Doubleday, 1957.

Middle readers

Armstrong, William H. and James Barkley (illustrator). Sounder. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1969.

Cooney, Doug and Tony DiTelizzi (illustrator). Beloved Dearly: Requiem for Fluffy. New York: Simon & Shuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2002. (ages 9-12)

Rawls, Wilson. Where the Red Fern Grows: The story of two dogs and a boy. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1961. (ages 9-12)

Younger readers

Brown, Margaret Wise and Christian Robinson, illustrator.  The Dead Bird. New York: HarperCollins, 2016. (originally illustrated by Remy Charlip in 1958). Kirkus review. A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of 2016.

Demas, Corrine and Ard Hoyt, illustrator. Saying Goodbye to Lulu. New York: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009. (ages 4-8)

Erlbruch, Wolf (author and illustrator). Duck, Death and the Tulip. New Zealand: Gecko Press, 2011. (ages 5-8 and beyond). review. See film adaptation on our animation page.

Harris, Robie H. and Jan Ormerod, illustrator. Goodbye Mousie. New York: Alladin, 2004. (ages 2-4)

Hill, Frances and Vera Rosenberry, illustrator. The Bug Cemetery. New York: Henry Hold and Co., 2002. (ages 4-8)

Hughs, Shirley (author and illustrator). Alfie and the Birthday Surprise. HarpurCollins Children’s Books, 1998. (ages 4-8)

Komagata, Katsumi. Little Tree (Petit Arbre). 2018. Cosmographe. (ages 7 and up. Also French and Japanese versions) [The life cycle of a tree, presented as an exquisite pop up art book with beautiful paper.]

Luyken, Corinna (author and illustrator). My Heart. 2019. Dial Books. (ages 4-8) [This book is about the expressions of one’s heart, which can be nurtured and found in everyday life. Appropriate, since grief, as an expression of love, carries and guides us throughout our lives.]

Rogers, Fred. When a Pet Dies. 1998. Puffin Books; Reissue edition. (ages 4-8)

Viorst, Judith and Erik Blegvad, illustrator. The Tenth Good Thing About Barney. New York: Atheneum, 1987. (ages 4-8)

Wilhem, Hans. I’ll Always Love You. New York: Dragonfly Books, 1988. (ages 4-8)


* Denotes mention of the Green Pet-Burial Society

updated November 28, 2022

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