As a guardian to three precious dogs who bring unbounded joy and who have helped me through loneliness and challenge, it was gratifying to read the front page article reflecting the extent to which our companion animals are important to us and the acceptance shown by society toward those grieving their loss in various ways (“When a beloved pet dies, Jewish owners have options,” March 31).
The story not only describes the options available in order to dispose of the body of a deceased pet, but the means by which some organizations are providing their guardians an opportunity to memorialize them.
As Rabbi Barbara Symons, who is quoted in the article, says: We must not consider the death of a pet to be the same as the passing of a human being. There are, however, proper means of mourning our precious creatures.
I have not forgotten the article written by Rabbi Mark Mahler and published eight years ago, in which he described the bond he and his family had with their beloved late cockapoo Chi and how pained they were when the time came to do the humane thing and euthanize him when he had become gravely ill.
Our spiritual leaders provide comfort and solace to us when a beloved family member passes away. Dogs are not human beings, but they too are family members for whom we grieve when the sad day arrives that we must say goodbye. Thankfully, there is no longer any shame in doing so.
Upper St. Clair