If you live in New York and you want to spend eternity in a pet cemetery next to your faithful companion, you’re in luck: Under a new regulation, all six of the state’s licensed pet cemeteries will now allow humans, according to the New York Daily News.
The only caveats: You must be cremated, and the pet cemetery must not charge a fee and cannot advertise for human burial services.
You might not have know about the practice, but it has quietly been occurring in cemeteries around the country for years. This month’s rule change in New York stems from a case back in 2011, when retired NYPD officer Thomas Ryan wanted to be laid to rest next to his three Maltese dogs — DJ 1, DJ 2, and DJ 3 — along with his wife, at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery in Westchester.
The cemetery had been quietly allowing humans to join their animals for years, and upwards of 700 people were already there, according to owner Ed Martin. Then the New York Department of State caught wind of Ryan’s desire and banned the practice outright.
“They didn’t have any children,” said Ryan’s niece, attorney Taylor York. “Each (Maltese) was their pride and joy.”
York took on the state, and after an “intense” campaign from York and other Hartsdale patrons, the Department of State relented in late 2011 and allowed the cemetery to accept human remains, according to the New York Daily News.
“People do get a sense of comfort from knowing they can lie for eternity with their beloved pet, that they can be loved and protected in the afterlife just as faithfully as when they were alive,” York said.
Hartsdale, however, remained the only New York pet cemetery to “officially” allow humans, but it was clear the Department of State would have to address the issue for the other pet cemeteries in the state. This month, it finally did that. Now, all pet cemeteries in New York can accept human remains.
“A pet relationship, some believe, including me, is a different relationship,” said Martin. “They are only with you a very short period of time, compared to a human life, and you grow very close to them.”
A lot of pet owners in New York are cheering the decision, and many interviewed by the Daily News said they would opt for eternity with their pet.
What about you? Is a pet cemetery in your future? Let us know in the comments.
Via New York Daily News; photos via Hartsdale Pet Cemetery’s Facebook page