Dog funerals may sound self-indulgent,
but there should be no shame in pet grief

There are two ways to feel about Jennifer Aniston and her ex-husband Justin Theroux reuniting for an elaborate funeral for Dolly, their 12-year-old, pure-white German shepherd. The first is to splutter at the photos of billowing incense, and the dog’s corpse laid respectfully on white linen strewn with rose petals, before quacking something about bloody self-indulgent Hollywood celebs who value a pet’s life more highly than a human’s.

The second is to be momentarily wobbly-lipped, recalling small friends now departed of one’s own. Four paws; waggy tail; many, many eaten slippers – our own personal idiots, taken too soon. OK, wobbly-lipped, but at the same time fascinated by this new turn in pet-owning culture. Because, are pet funerals a thing now? Dog eulogies? Post-cat official mourning periods? Is this the new normal? Should I begin saving for elaborate closing ceremonies for my current menagerie: two cats, a labrador and a collie? Also, is it now the done thing to tell your ex if the pet has passed away? Is that the Californian, well-adjusted, zen thing to do? Can you no longer just let them find out from Facebook, condemning them to spend the next decade showing the animal’s picture to people in pubs, and ranting: “She didn’t even tell me about the dog!”?

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