Pet Cemetery
The return of Lucky

Who has a dead pet in their freezer story they wanna share?

I’ll go first!

I have a dead chicken in my freezer.

As you may remember one of our chicks, little Lucky, died during his second week of life.

Poor little Lucky.  He died right in the palm of my hand.  I didn’t know what to do and I could barely see where I was going from the tears, so I stumbled up my basement stairs to the living room where my boyfriend was settling into the couch to watch Survivor.

He jumped up, took two strides across the living room floor and grabbed an empty cardboard matchstick box.  He opened it up and I slid Lucky in.

Good.  That was over with.  Phew.

I started off with a fluffy dead chick in my hand and now I had a fluffy dead chick in a matchbox in my hand.

What the  hell now?

I wasn’t flushing him, I wasn’t dumping him in with the composting.  So now what?  What do you do with an animal that up and dies on you in your house?

Well the logical choice of course.  Stick him in the freezer.  Which is what I did temporarily.  Just until I could figure out what to do with him.

It took me  150 days to figure out to do with him.  Give or take a week.  So there sat Lucky in a matchbox in my freezer for the past 5 months.  Why so long?  Well,  I can tell you I definitely didn’t forget about him.  At any given time I couldn’t tell you how many whole chickens without feathers I have in my freezer, but I always know how many with feathers I have.   Also, any meat with a first name in your freezer tends be remembered.

And besides,  every time I wanted ice cream, I’d have to move Lucky.

So this week, I shoved the Haagen Dazs aside, grabbed Lucky and gave him a  proper burial.  I’d always kind of planned to bury him under the coop so now that it was done, I could finally grab a shovel and started digging.

 

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Once I got down to the task, I decided putting Lucky underneath the coop was kind of creepy.  Unlike keeping him in the freezer beside our ice cream for the past 5 months which was entirely normal.

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So I buried lucky underneath a weeping Beech right beside the coop.  Go ahead.  You can be honest.  Exactly how insane do you think I am at this moment?  I know you’re thinking it.

 

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It’s a pretty spot right near the other chickens.  But not underneath them.  I have no idea why beside is less creepy than underneath.  It just is.

 

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Once I laid his stone, we almost had closure.  And some extra space in the freezer.  There was just one last thing …

 

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The service.  It was beautiful.

 

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And then it was over.

 

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Rest in peace little Lucky.  You were a good egg.

The burial marker was sent to me by reader LeeAnne. She also sells them online. See all her work here.

 


118 Comments

  1. Jenn says:

    Closure is important.

    • Karen says:

      Jenn – Huh. I thought for SURE my first comment would be “In the freezer? With the food? You’re insane and I hate you.” ~ k

  2. Bev says:

    My old landlady used to have a big aquarium and her own kitchen, but she kept the blood worms to feed her fish in OUR freezer!!! Kept with your own food I have no problem with, asking your neighbour to keep it in their fridge, might have been a bit much :o)

  3. Sparrow says:

    It’s okay. I’ve had a few dead pets in my freezer too. They were just usually wrapped in foil and hidden in the back, so I could have my ice-cream without guilt.

  4. Jessica says:

    I actually totally understand that. We had a few goldfish and every single one of them lived in the freezer until I could bury them in the side yard. Beloved pets don’t belong down the drain or in the trash.

  5. Marti says:

    You are the most purely weird thing in my overnight shift, Karen. Reading your blog is PURELY weird.

    And what? A funeral… without a proper viewing? (Thank you!)

  6. Whitney says:

    I think you are totally insane! But that’s what makes you so fun! 😉

  7. Pati says:

    Nothing insane about it ! I’ve had more than one pet in the freezer before I could get around to burying them…wait a minute..does this make meas insane as you ??? I can only dream !! LOL

    • Karen says:

      Pati – As insane as me? Like professionally insane? Good luck with that. Gimme a call when you get up out of a dead sleep to arrange your bookcases. At that point you will be granted amateur status. 🙂 ~ karen

  8. Claudine says:

    Alright, this isn’t a dead pet in the freezer story, but I think it may be worse. When my son was a teenager, his pet rat, Emily, died. It was winter in California, and while not frozen, the ground was pretty muddy. Not a perfect condition for pet burial. Several days had passed since she had, and I truly wasn’t giving it much thought, counting on my son to let me know when and if he wanted me to participate in a service, or if he needed help with anything. I came home from work one evening to the most horrific stench. It surrounded our house, and lay like a green haze over the yard. The windows were wide open because, using young male thought processes, he had decided to open them when the house started to smell, not thinking about how the odor actually originated outside, so it had seeped its way into our home. Apparently, as poor old Emily lay in the early stages of decomposition in a paper bag in the back yard, my son’s idea of compassion drew him to the vision of a graceful, if not Viking-esque, cremation. In the Weber. Need I mention that our barbeque found its way to the dumpster the very next day?

  9. Elaine says:

    I have too many to tell ! The best involved a dead cat, he was in a cooler for a week, went every where my daughter went, sat beside her bed, until she finally agreed we should bury it. We decided to inter kitty in the local cemetery (we are in the country and Tom the kitty was being interred over our great, great, great, grandpa … dead for over 70 yrs, OK I figured) . A neighbor (who had to be watching with binoculars) saw us digging the hole and “burying something”, called the police because she assumed we were crazed killers who “had buried a baby” (I’m serious). My dad found out because he is on the cemetery board, and before he could find me to exhume kitty, the police had contacted the state anthropologist to exhume the mystery object (rolling eyes here). So we begged forgiveness from the cemetery board, dug the kitty up and put him in our yard. Why not the yard to start with ? Well the daughter was concerned that we might move someday and she would not be able to visit kitty’s grave. Lesson learned: be more discreet when burying family pets at the local cemetery. You certainly gave Lucky a nice service and a lovely marker ! Closure, it’s all about closure E in TN

    • Karen says:

      THAT is hilarious. Now that it’s over and done with that is. The marker was sent to me by LeeAnne. She makes them! http://takenforgraniteart.webs.com/

    • Oh my! What a story! Next time call me. Have kitty cremated and I can add the ashes to the stone. If you move, take kitty with you.

      Read a funny story somewhat recently – think it was in a local paper or might have been on these interwebs. After a family member died, a man removed the deceased’s pet’s grave markers. The markers were just the names Jody and Wanda, or something like that. No really knowing what to do with them, he put them in his own yard and forgot about them. Years later he moved. Decades(?)later, the “new” house owners discovered what they took to be children’s graves in their back yard and called the police. They eventually traced down the man and mystery was solved.
      Hmm. I think I’ll be making sure my pet markers say so somewhere on them.

      • Claudine says:

        LeeAnne, I think it would be sweet to cast a paw or foot print on the marker. Obviously not the animal’s actual paw print. And it would also help in this type circumstance, should it ever arise again.

  10. Laura says:

    WHY am I tearing up right now?! I think it’s hormones, tour exhaustion, or my unnatural love for all non-human, living things. Poor chicky. RIP.

  11. Rebecca says:

    I don’t think your crazy, in fact id do the same thing. Beautiful, burial. Just be sure the ladies don’t turn that spot into a dust bathing area, you don’t want lucky being resorected. If you know what I mean.

  12. Todd says:

    Ok, I was with you until I saw the stone for the deceased chick.

    • Karen says:

      Todd – You’re such a boy. You must have missed the post where a reader made this for me (she has a business) after Lucky died. His death prompted her to start making pet burial markers! I think it’s a great idea. I’ll never forget where lucky is and start digging around in there for one thing. ~ k

      • mothership says:

        OMG YES….. bunny had a wooden cross, that the dog eventually chewed up, then the remodel & all the building supplies piled up over him…. and now… after reading this…. I realize bunny is somewhere under the veggie garden…. hmmmmm haven’t dug him up yet….. hopefully he’s under the tomatoes & not the potatoes!

  13. Mandy Y says:

    None of this is surprising to me at all 😉 I’ve had to host tearful funerals for 2 goldfish and a siamese fighting fish called Mr Big Fins – my children wouldn’t have it any other way.

  14. Kathy says:

    We had my kids’ three pet rats in our freezer for two years! We finally just buried them last Summer, along with our two cremated dogs and our friend’s dog. The best part was when my in-laws were visiting once and my father-in-law, who gets bored easily, decided to help out by cleaning out our deep freeze. He was not impressed when he came across three frozen rats wrapped in plastic bags and marked “Do Not Eat” – Cutie, Butterscotch and Mr. McFluffball! Priceless

  15. Kirsten says:

    We kept my cat in the fridge in a shoebox for a day after she died, so no, I don’t think it’s crazy. It’s good that you got closure for Lucky’s death and managed to make a lovely grave.
    Plus, keeping a dead pet in a matchbox is not nearly as insane/un-foodsafe as what my mother did when I was a child: She put my dead beta in an icing can and put it in the freezer… and when my sister opened it up, looking for sweets, she found my dead fish instead.

  16. bex says:

    oooo… nothing like Stephen King reruns in the the middle of the night … or Alfred Hitchcock for that matter. 😉

  17. mimi says:

    I was creeped out that you didn’t put the matchbox in a ziploc bag before putting it in the freezer. Then I thought about, as you put it, featherless chickens, and yea, it’s not THAT crazy.

    Did you carve the stone for Lucky?

  18. LooLoo says:

    I love the story of Lucky. But you haven’t lived until you’ve had a dead rabbit tossed in the middle of your unmade bed by two wailing children, begging me to do something…”Fonzi isn’t moving”.
    We had a long talk about death…”to all things there is a season”…blah, blah, blah. Thinking we’d bury Fonzi and be done with it, I went off to find a “proper box”. But the children said I couldnt do the burying, “Daddy has to do it”. Fine, but daddy was out of town and not due back for several days, so Fonzi went into the freezer and since I couldn’t bare to open the door with the poor dead rabbit inside, we lived on fast food until daddy got home. He was laid to rest in peace beside the swingset. (Fonzi, not daddy)

  19. Shannon Clarke Devine says:

    “good egg” – ha, ha, ha, like that!! I believe I am past amateur in that I was up at 3am spray painting a bar fridge in my lounge with all the carpets rolled back. After having decorated a chinese lantern with vines leaves and paper butterflies and painting an old lamp stand I found in the trash…..

  20. Tracy says:

    Nah,that’s not insane! But wondering if you ever considered a name change at some point? 🙂

  21. kel mcnichol says:

    OK, not weird at all. All of our pets have gone to their final resting place buried out on my sisters land (10 acres). I could not imagine anything else.

    The only thing odd I have ever had in my freezer was a scorpion I froze. I found my cat looking at something on the wall – a scorpion – in my house! So I had to do something or else my cat would. So I got a container, put it underneath it and knocked him in. Then closed it. I could not throw it away – what if someone opened it. I could not hit it – what if it ran away. I could not flush it – what if it did not go down. So – freeze it. He froze straight. I kept it there for awhile (not sure why) then flushed it. Only to find out that scorpions can withstand freezing temps and that may not have even been enough to kill it since they can thaw out and revive.

  22. Rachel says:

    It was a guinea pig named Reese! He died in February so we had no choice but to “keep” him til the ground thawed!

  23. pve says:

    you just made this chick cry.
    pve

  24. melanie says:

    My heart goes out to you Karen. Lucky was fortunate to have been brought to your home. Beautiful burial. RIP Lucky.

  25. BTLover2 says:

    I laughed, I cried. Insane? Nope. Good mama? Yep!!

  26. Phedra says:

    Another vote for the “This isn’t crazy” category. I do wonder where you got the little stone you used though? Very sweet.

  27. Sally says:

    That’s so much better than our neighbors leaving their dead dog in their yard for a couple days. When they decided to “DO” something they wrapped him in CLEAR plastic and drug him to the back of their property. All of these locations WE had to drive past and see every time we went up/down our lane. Nothing says “hello neighbor” like here look at our dead/decaying dog for a couple months. They did finally bury him in the spring—I cant imagine how gross he must have been at that point! Poor dog! So glad we moved!

  28. Lisa J says:

    You’d fit right in with my mother in law. And I’m leaving it at that.

  29. Jillian says:

    Ok I have to admit pets in the freezer is strange. Hopefully, they are dead when they are put in. But I have to share something strange too. I still have the placenta in my freezer from my youngest daughter, planned on burying it under a new tree but haven’t had a place of my own until recently. Here it is…she will be 13 in October.

  30. Jennifer says:

    I LOVE the fact that Lucky has a headstone, and my all-time favorite photo is the chicken with it’s claw on the grave, saying it’s good-byes. I have a whole new appreciation for chickens after reading your blog!

  31. Laura says:

    We had a squirrel we rescued when he was shoved out of the nest. We would take him to the park to play. When he died, my mom kept him in the freezer for months until she found a taxidermist.
    Side note…it is not possible for a human to teach a squirrel the difference between a tree & a hydro pole. 🙁

  32. christine hilton says:

    When we moved into a new house my husband an artist found a dead mouse and put it in the freezer to sketch later. The neighbourhood kids had a scavenger hunt the next week and needed a mouse tail.I,trying to be the best new neighbour ever provided it.We were shunned.I have a soft spot for people with dead things in their freezer.

  33. Kat Gautreaux says:

    We’ve had in our freezer (at different states of aliveness as we would anesthetize fish in there that were on their way to death as my mom couldn’t handle their suffering): hedgehog, a huge oscar fish (displaced the ice cream entirely), morey eel, parakeet, some cockatiel eggs, a puffer fish, and 10s of other smaller,less exciting but still loved fish.

    We also had dogs — but they were too big for our freezer.

  34. Babie Knoop says:

    I adore the headstone! Did you make it? If so how did you do it? Need another post on “Making your Pets Headstones”
    Sweet post. I LOVE insane people, they make me feel normal!

  35. Lou Cinda says:

    LMAO!!!!! BUT….I would have done the SAME thing!

    Lou Cinda

  36. Stephanie says:

    Thank you so much for not showing a picture of Lucky. I was worried when I saw the hole. Poor little Lucky… The last time one of my animals died, I had to flush him. I hate flushing fish. It feels so awful. But I didn’t want to bury him, because – you know – fish can’t breathe underground. Flushing seemed like the best thing at the time.

  37. Jeanne says:

    I knew a neighbor that kept pet snakes in a cage. They had packaged white mice in their freezer that they would buy in bulk. I had to defrost and feed when they went out of town. I still have the creeps from that image to this day whenever I open my freezer! They have beady eyes. Although I have been known to pick up some road kill; owl, falcon, a fox tail once for close inspection (I’m an artist). LOL

  38. Eric says:

    Home Depot sells an aluminum toolcase/briefcase thing that is the perfect size to keep a [deceased]cat in your freezer. After 16 years [of living], Little Susie was not going to be buried anywhere but home. There was 3 feet of snow on the ground so we needed a few months til Spring. After a while you get used to it and say “Hi” as you take the ice cream out. I figured she was happy to get closer to the frozen chicken. Sort of like an Egyptian pharaoh’s burial with things needed for the afterlife.
    That case has come in handy several times.

  39. Kate says:

    SOoOOoooo I thought I was the only one who had done something like this. I’ve had various pet rats throughout the years, and they always seem to die midwinter when the ground is frozen and covered in snow. I wrap them in tinfoil (well marked, often with a mourning ribbon) and put them in the freezer. The most recent one is still in there though (its also been about 5 months, and I feel much better now LOL) because my current apartment really doesn’t have anywhere outside to bury her.

    Side note — I once had a goldfish that lived I kid you not 10+ years. When he died we built a cardboard Viking ship, and had a proper Norse “sea” (creek) burial complete with setting it on fire I was about 17 .. seemed fitting LOL

  40. Julianna says:

    My dad is an avid birdwatcher. I remember a time when there was not one, but three or four tiny, dead birds that he’d found, zipped into clear, plastic bags, and placed in the freezer (on the door) for later identification. My mom also kept many of her spices in the freezer, also on the door, also in clear, plastic bags. I picked up a dead bird more than once, thinking it was grated lemon zest or nutmeg. That was always… Ummm… Fun? They were there for YEARS. He’s better at identification now, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t see another bird in the freezer on my last visit. I don’t think you’re crazy. But my dad might be. 🙂

  41. ruth says:

    haha! You know what’s killing me? The number of times you had to tell us THE STONE WAS MADE BY A READER FER CRYIN’ OUT LOUD DON’T YOU READ ALL THE COMMENTS???????

    • Karen says:

      Ruth – I’ve since added the fact to the end of the post. I didn’t mention it because I’ve talked about the reader making me the stone several times. I may have even done a post on it! So I thought it would be beating a dead chicken if I mentioned it again. Guess not! 🙂 ~ karen

  42. Pete says:

    If you buried him under the coop, his ghost would have haunted the rest of the chickens every night. Good move on burying him under the Beech. Trees aren’t afraid of ghosts.

  43. Judith says:

    I actually thought this was a beautiful post — and there’s a lump in my throat to prove it.

    September 30 will be the one year anniversary of when Hobbes,our yellow lab died. He was fifteen years old, a good, long life.

    But the wooden box with his ashes still sits on our mantelpiece. Some of his ashes were mixed with those of his best friend, Lily, a wonderful dog who died two months before he did. Lily’s owner and I released some of them in the woods where we often walked them.

    But I’m still figuring out what to do with the rest.

    And while I have you, I think your chicken coop is amazing and that Lucky is in a very good spot.

  44. Olivia says:

    I have a shark head in my freezer! Step-son wanted to save the jaw and he’s 900 miles away at college now… shoot, until at least Thanksgiving.

  45. Mindy says:

    Awww, so sweet. My mom has an endless amount of dead animals “planted” in the backyard of the house I grew up in. Pets, birds that cats have gotten, possums, you name it, it’s buried there. So it may be creepy, but it’s normal to me as well.
    I also grew up with a grandma who had a freezer full of dead animals – but that’s story for another time.

  46. Liz S. says:

    Try have to borrow the neighbors backhoe to dig a hole in the side yard for your 110 pound pot belly pig. Porky was 10 years old when she left us. Yes, I named my pig Porky. I was in 5th grade when I got her and they thought she was a boy. Being in 5th grade I didn’t know much about a pigs anatomy. So when we found out late that he was a she, I just didn’t have the heart to change her name.

  47. Nancy says:

    Hi Karen…did you make the headstone for Lucky…JUST KIDDING..I remember the post about the headstone…been thinking about getting one for a cat we have buried out back..she never occupied the freezer but there was a hamster in there once when my son was little..anyway you are very sweet to do all that for a tiny little chick…I would have done the same…except maybe the freezer part..unless it was winter..

  48. Amy in StL says:

    Geez, now I feel bad. My Sheltie of 15 years had to be put to sleep because of kidney failure and I didn’t bury him or take his ashes or anything. I mean I guess I’d kinda made my peace with it over time since the last two years as he got more sick; but now I just feel kinda heartless. Maybe its better because I still have his picture on my desk?

    • Pam'a says:

      Dad was a veterinarian, so for as long as I can remember I’ve seen dead animals, from cows and horses to raccoons and pheasants (which I often had to clean for cooking) to beloved family pets, both our own and those of others. I grew up understanding that the actual body really isn’t where the animal is after it dies, and we never buried a beloved pet. So, IMHO you didn’t do a thing wrong. I am content knowing all my dear departed critters are waiting for me over there on the other side of the rainbow bridge, where they’re young and frisky again, cavorting among the tuna bushes and beef trees. It’ll be so great to see them again… 🙂

      • j says:

        After having multiple somber containers of the ashes of beloved pets that were cremated, I decided that, for me, my photos of them were enough, and now I make my peace with the process before the last trip to the vet. The ones that die at home get wrapped in a blanket and buried with a favorite toy. When we all meet up at the rainbow bridge, maybe the toys will be there. Thank you so much for your blog, I look forward to it, as well as the posts that are from before I found your site!

  49. I didn’t think you were crazy at all until I saw the headstone! Love this post 🙂
    Stacy

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