Blake’s Advice Column
My neighbor’s dog just died. She was very close to it, so close she decided to have a funeral for the dog. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs, but I feel like this is a bit much. But since we live very close to each other and we can’t really go anywhere, she wants me to come to her backyard and participate in the ceremony. I think this is way over the top, but I do like this woman. She is older and never had any children. I think she considered her dog to be like a child. Should I participate even though I don’t believe in this sort of thing?
From Boise, Idaho
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I have never heard of a backyard funeral for a dog. But if she is an elderly lady that never had children, I think the respectful thing for you to do, is to attend to humor that old bat. Here are some things I think you ought to do. Ask her is it appropriate for the invited guest to cry, or to mourn they should howl like wolves and coyotes? Ask her if she had chosen to have it cremated, would it have been a “hotdog”? If she thinks that comment was insensitive, immediately apologize, and tell her that you “relish” the time you spent with her canine, and maybe she won’t pick up on your second joke. You didn’t say what breed of dog it was, but if it was a St. Bernard suggesting that it was Catholic, ask her if it was never house broken and often left a mess in her home, would it initially go to purgatory, if not straight to hell? But probably the most compassionate thing to do is for you to replace her pet with a goldfish. That way when it dies, there will only be a few people she can invite to the funeral, since only a few people can fit into a bathroom, with their heads held low standing around a toilet waiting for it to flush… after the eulogy. I hope this helps.