Back a while ago, I ran into a situation that really made me think. A neighbour of mine had a cat that suddenly passed away at home, and she wasn’t sure how she was going to take care of the body. To make things worse, she didn’t have a vet here, so she couldn’t call them, but even if she did, they probably wouldn’t have been open when the cat died so she would have had to store the body, and how would she get the body from her place to the vet’s place? This is something I never really thought about. I know that things die and don’t really care about your plans, so I should have thought about it, but I never really considered being in a position where I wouldn’t be at the vet, or the vet wouldn’t be at the house when a pet died. Since she was pretty upset, I agreed to give her a hand in figuring out exactly who you’re supposed to call.
I called my own vet to see if they had any ideas. They immediately suggested the Humane Society, and I wanted to facepalm. I remember when our first apartment building had a fire, and there was a dog that was in the apartment with the fire. While we were outside, someone told me that a Humane Society van pulled up, and they came out with the poor unfortunate deceased dog. So they were the first people I called.
But I got the run-around. Since this happened in the evening, the main number wasn’t answering their phone, but the voicemail told me about an after hours number to call about sick animals, dangerous animals and stray animals. I felt a bit bad calling this number because this doesn’t really fall into any of those, except maybe sick, so I felt a bit like all those people who call 911 because they’re out of toilet paper, but a cat corpse in an apartment building felt a little more pressing, so I thought it was worth a try.
When they answered, they said that they don’t come to pick up deceased pets after hours, but to keep the remains somewhere cool and call the main number back in the morning and they could arrange to come and pick up the body. So, I got the lovely job of telling this poor woman to put her cat somewhere cool and we’d have to wait.
The next morning, when I called the Humane Society, I was told that they don’t deal with dead pets. If the animal was sick or injured, they would come, but not dead pets. I was kind of devastated. I didn’t know where I was supposed to go next. She can’t drive either, and she didn’t have a lot of money to cab all over creation, and even if she did, what a terrible thing to have to do!
I called the emergency vet clinic to see if they knew anything. They said they could deal with the body, but we’d have to bring it to them, and their rates were a bit steep. I can’t remember them but they sounded expensive.
So, I called my vet. As soon as I told them about this whole saga, the person answering the phone said they were the one I had spoken to before and they realized as soon as I hung up the phone that the Humane Society wouldn’t be able to help. They said maybe I should have called Animal Control. Eventually, because they’re sweet, they agreed to help her with the cat’s body and make her a paw print, and for less than the emergency clinic, but again, we would have to get it to them. At this point, I was so happy that we had a possible plan that we just went with it. I ended up paying for her cab because it was a bit of a distance, but that was fine. I was just happy this whole situation could be taken care of.
But it made me wonder. What is someone supposed to do if they don’t have the resources to get their pet somewhere and don’t have someone around who could help? Think of all the homeless people who have pets. I doubt they have vets on standby, because vets can be expensive. They also don’t usually have their own transportation. People laughed at me and said there’s always a dumpster, but although admittedly I did that with Hope the psych rat, there’s no way in hell I was going to suggest that to her. It made me think about what I would do if, by some freak circumstance, Tansy died suddenly in the middle of the night and Steve was away for an appointment or something. I have never succeeded in lifting her, and that’s when she’s alive and moving. I don’t think I could do it with no cooperation. They call it “dead weight” for a reason. This situation is stressful enough. Why is finding out what to do so damn difficult?
For a while, I thought maybe I just wasn’t aware of some resource or service, so I went looking for dealing with dead pets and found this:
The Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo and Stratford Perth is contracted by a number of cities and municipalities to provide animal by-law, animal control and sheltering services.
services for the City of Kitchener:
• Animal By-Law Services
• Animal Control Services
◦ Stray dogs/dogs at large
◦ Stray cats (confined)
◦ Injured domestic animals
◦ Injured wildlife
• After Hours Emergency Service – Injured Domestic and Wildlife
• Animal Sheltering Services
• Dog Licensing
• Dog bite reports
• Dead domestic animal reports
• Dead wildlife reports
Last time I checked, a pet was a domestic animal! And why on earth would I report a dead pet if I didn’t want some help dealing with it? Do they just sit there and cry with you? And the people at my vet told me to contact Animal Control. I would have just gone around in circles, back to the Humane Society, because they are the ones managing Animal Control!
So am I missing something? Or is this just another example of people assuming everyone has a car and can drive?