Idea Exchange: Give grieving clients more than a cardboard box

May 01, 2006
By staff

When a euthanized pet will be going home with its owners, we put the pet in a blank, white cardboard coffin. One day, a beloved pet was put down, and I was instructed to give the coffin to the owner. I knew nothing about the pet or owner, but I could not hold back my tears when I handed this coffin over to the elderly man who looked as if his heart were breaking. He left carrying that stark, white box, which seemed inadequate compared with the memories he likely held for his old friend. After that, I suggested that we tape poems that inspire hope, such as Rainbow Bridge, to the blank boxes, so owners leave with something more than a white box.
Miranda Van Winkle, veterinary assistant
West Lafayette, Ind.