The Dorks Awaken
"And How Are the Boys Doing?"

Ashes & Ashes

I had a dream last night that Max showed up back at the house. The healthy, heavier Max of days gone by, just back wandering around like oh hey what did I miss?

Part of my brain attempted to argue with the dream logic (or lack thereof), flashing back to memories of his actual passing and removal from the house, arguing with a random sea of strangers who also just happened to be there (because okay) that no, he died, he definitely absolutely died...yet eventually another part of my brain overruled my objections and decided that no, this is real! Let's accept it! It was all a big mistake! Let's be happy! Max is back Max is back Max is baaaaack! 

And then I woke up, and remembered that the vet called yesterday to tell me that Maximillian's ashes had been delivered. 


I picked Ceiba's up last week after Beau's first vet visit. Which: Okay, that's a lot to take in and unpack right there. I held it together pretty well until I got home and proceeded to full-on ugly cry over the tiny little box with the velvet bag inside and the labeled plastic bag inside of that and oh my God, it's all so real now.

I took the rest of Max's expensive prescription kidney food with me this morning so the animal shelter could have it...the same animal shelter that just sent me a letter yesterday as a follow-up to Ceiba's little overnight adventure there, reminding me that repeated off-leash infractions could lead to further fines/consequences...and also a list of general tips and safety precautions to keep your dog from running away. 

Ha ha! Little do you know, suckers! That dog is dead now! But the new dog is EVEN WORSE THAN SHE EVER WAS so you still managed to be ironically apropos and also I'm all sad and confused now, mostly because WHY AM I LAUGHING AT THIS?

The boxes are currently on a shelf in the living room, and Jason was like, "Seriously? We're really doing that?" I didn't put them there on purpose or anything -- the boys were really curious/fascinated about Ceiba's ashes so I needed a spot where they'd be unlikely to attempt opening them without me noticing.

And now a week later I still don't have any better ideas so I guess we are really doing this, for now at least. 


Despite not really knowing what to do with them, I'm glad I got them. They're very small and pretty and quietly speak to me that yes, dammit, these animals were IMPORTANT, These animals MATTERED.

They're something tangible to hold and grieve over, and then to put back on the shelf, and try to move on. 



Funnily, or not, enough, last night I watched Buffy's The Body episode, and was thinking of the differences in grieving between buried and cremated. I feel a need for a headstone, or something with the name written, just a mark that The Body was once something alive and loved and loving. Just a presence. So these boxes, in the living room to boot, just feel just right.
I'm sorry for your losses.


My pup died six years ago. I have a similar little box on the mantle of the fireplace. In a house she never lived in, because we moved after she died. I don't have a place here to scatter her ashes - she never lived in this house so it doesn't feel right. So there she sits, on the mantle, with a picture of her sitting next to the box. Even six years later I still look over every now and then and say hi to her.


I was shocked to receive such a nice wooden box after our cat passed last summer.

We buried ours in the backyard in our butterfly garden area and planted some milkweed over it.

Sue W.

You will find the appropriate place for Ceiba andcMax. Until then, they are fine where they are. It gives you all time to grieve. Hugs to all of you.


Laughter at supposedly "improper" times is normal. It's a defense mechanism to shield ourselves from the immediate hurt. It buys us time. And, also too, we may just be assholes who don't grieve well. People should stop judging us.


I put my cat down recently too, I think a day or two after you put Max down. And the other night I had all these dreams about her. She was running around, happy as can be, and people were all "isn't that your dead cat?" And I was like "yep!"

I have no idea what it means, but I chose to believe it meant that she visited to show me how happy she is in kitty heaven now that she's no longer sick and in pain.



I'm going through the same sort of thing you are with my 2 pets, one of whom died in September. The other was just diagnosed with Lymphoma. They're my first pets as a grown up as well and it's impossible to think of them as ever not here. But alas. And yes, I adoped a kitten after the one died in September, so my life id oddly mirroring yours, albeit on a less compressed timeline.

My sweet Mia, who passed in the Fall, is now buried under some allium bulbs at my sister's house (I live in the city, so no yard). They picked the sunniest spot in the yard for her. And I have found it very comforting to have her ashes in the ground, nurturing bulbs to beauty.

So very sorry for your losses.


The day that we had to pick our dog's ashes up at the vet was the second-shittiest day of my life. Also I remember dreaming, on the day he was cremated, that he was in the dishwasher. My 95 pound dog was being washed in the dishwasher. Brains cope in weird ways.


I remember looking at my dog's box and thinking, "Suzy is in there". Very strange feeling. I thought I would want to spread her ashes in a place we used to walk a lot, but then I had this feeling that she would be alone there so I still have her box and had to add my cat's box next to it in my bedroom a couple months later. That was two years ago, and I don't think there is anywhere else I want them to be.


When our Bella died last summer, we elected to have her cremated as well. We rooted cuttings from two begonias in a jar by the window where Bella used to sit. They were clipped with the expectation of being potted with ashes and fur so that Bella would always be alive in our home, no matter where we were physically located.The clippings are still in a jar flowering sweetly over her tiny brown box on a decorative table in our bedroom.


I keep both my dogs ashes in a china cupboard. Half of the ashes for each dog were spread in Pamlico Sound in North Carolina where they went on vacation with us each and every year and loved to swim. I dont' think it is weird to keep the boxes out. Jennifer Aniston does it for all her dogs! My ugly cry came when each pretty box also came with a clay imprint of that dog's front paw. Those sit on top of the boxes and still make me a little teary when I see them. But that's okay.


Keep them there. My uncle keep his dog's in a jar on the mantle with the dog's collar around it. To this day. It's been 20 years. But animals - they have our hearts. They are important and matter. They should be mourned - it hurts like hell when they go. Mourn how best heals your heart. ~ L


You poor thing, this is just so much at once. Our first pet to pass on was actually a very young cat named "Blacky," still just a kitten really, who got very sick and had to be put to sleep. In our county you aren't allowed to bury pets on your property. So, options are cremation or being buried in a group pet burial. Never having heard of any of this or even thought about it, I opted for cremation. The boys were 4 and 7 at the time, and they were curious about the box, so we went ahead and opened it, and let them know we could open it any time they wanted, they just needed to ask us first. We ended up printing out pictures the kids picked, and they cut them out and taped them to the outside of the box. It resides on my older son's dresser for now.


All 3 of my dogs were buried in a pet cemetery in caskets designed for pets, and have stone grave markers complete with pictures and words inscribed. Some people think that is going overboard. Some people are WRONG. You're absolutely right- animals are important, animals matter, and no one can say how anyone should handle the death of their beloved pet.


I have a very similar little box and I choke up every time I see it. It's been over a year. I finally decided to plant something in memory of my sweet puppy and sprinkle some of her ashes in the soil with it. So that helped...but I still have the box. Dammit.


My parents have lived in the same house since I was 17 months old. Every family pet I can remember is buried under the apple trees in the backyard. When my furbaby was getting ready to go, I got super angry at my dad because he had removed the (sick) apple trees from the yard a few years earlier, and they weren't there to put my Julie under. My mom reminded me that they had a dwarf apple tree in a different part of the yard, which is where he went.


I have two similar boxes for my bunnies, gone ten years now, in my china hutch. The fact that those boxes were nicer than the cardboard canister in which I received my grandfather's ashes is an interesting aside.


I bought a nice hand made ceramic covered dish and put my two cats ashes in it, two little plastic bags. It sits on my fireplace mantel and always will.


My parents still have the ashes of the dog we had when I was growing up. It's in a little box next to a picture of him. You are allowed to do whatever feels right for you! Hugs and love.


that dream you described gave me the ugly cry. I am so so sorry. I have yet to lose a pet but it terrifies me.


Yeah, those animals matter! The things we love matter very much. XOXO.


I have that exact same pretty box on my dresser with a picture of my Clifford, who's been gone for 6 years now. My boyfriend was a little startled when he realized that when I said Clifford was on the dresser, I didn't just mean the picture but that Clifford was actually on the dresser.


My parents keep their last dog's ashes in an urn and a framed photo on their entry hall table as he would always greet everyone at the door. Now, when we visit we always say hello and goodbye to Panda when we arrive and leave. Even my kids do and they never met him. It's oddly comforting. Those are lovely boxes and look like they're in the right spot to me.

Erica Hettwer

I had a cat from about age 5 to 22, when she died in my arms. That cat's ashes are on my nightstand because, damnit, she was very important! That cat WAS my childhood. My dad wants a teaspoon of her ashes buried with him. If it feels right to you, it is right. Screw everyone else. :)


My beloved cat and dog are in identical boxes just like those on a shelf in our living room. I also had a Pandora-compatible bead made for my charm bracelet for each from an etsy seller. She makes the beads using a pinch of your pet's ashes and/or dried flowers if you wish. For my cat Fred we included some magnolia petals from the tree that casts shade on our deck. He loved that deck. The etsy shop is called myflowersforever run by Cristina Segarra In SC.


I'm glad you have the ashes. I'm sure it's comforting. We had to let our 14 year old dog go about a month ago. My husband took him in after I said goodbye. I just assumed we would get the ashes and didn't discuss it with him beforehand. It turns out they generally bury them on site here (very rural area in another country) cremation is something you have to ask for. I still feel sad about it. Mostly because we're only on assignment here for a little while and it feels like abandoning him somehow, even though I know it's silly.


I'm also in the group that believes the vivid pet dreams are them coming back, briefly, to show you they are OK. (I still miss my kitties.)


I still have my Lacy girl's collar on the shifter of our car. It has been there since the night I had to take her in. My husband was deployed, the neighbors had to watch the kids, I had to take her to the emergency room at 11pm. My Mom met me, we had Waffle House afterwards. The collar has not left the shifter. It's been 5 years. I'm not sure what I will do if we ever sell this car. I don't have her remains to put it with.


I wish I'd had the opportunity to cremate my Winston. He died suddenly, my husband was in China, and my brother came over and buried Winnie Woo in the backyard. We moved from that house about 2 1/2 years ago and I'm a little sad that we couldn't bring him with us. I know he's not really there, but I would love to have some part of him still around. Although my mom made a nice planter that we put on his grave and is now in our new yard, so that makes me smile and remember him when I see it.


My parents have the cremains of all the pets we have lost since I was a child. We were never guaranteed, due to my dad's job, to stay in the same place for too long, so we didn't want to have to leave them behind. So this is totally normal for me and definitely what I will do with my pets throughout my adult life.

I am so glad you guys have Beau, but I know that Ceiba and Max will live in your hearts always...and because you shared them with all of us, they will live on in our hearts as well.


We have all the ashes from all our cats (except the first who was buried at a house we no longer own). They've moved with us twice. Yes, they ARE important. They each touched our lives. I would have liked to have left them at the house where each of them lived, scattered on the property where we happily lived for 25 years, but my husband wanted them with us.


We have three boxes. They have traveled all over.... DC, SC and now AZ. This is probably morbid for some, but we want them to "go with us" so to speak when the time comes.

I came across an old marrow bone today. Circa 1998 from when our first puppy Elliott was a chewing madman. There it was in an old box full of random stuff. It made me smile and I could not throw it away.


We keep our old basset hound's ashes next to the microwave, and have since she passed several years back. Where else would a basset hound want to be?


My beloved mini dachshund passed away almost 4 years ago. he was cremated and his ashes were spread on a hill. I so wish I had kept them. It is a huge regret of mine. Somehow it never seemed real to him that he was actually gone. I had a recurring nightmare for weeks after that he was thrown alive into the fire. Horrific.


My 23 year old cat died in January of this year and I put the box of her ashes in my closet, because she spent most of the last few years there and I was always comforted by her warm, furry, sleeping body next to my shoes and coats. I miss seeing her there every morning but it really does give me a great comfort to see her little box sitting on top of my jewelry box - she's still with me, just in a different way. Pets are family and we get to honor our family members however we want.


Our little Jasper sat on our mantle for years. I don't think it's weird for you to keep them there.

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