by Susan Greer
I had never experienced a natural burial. Then I learned the hard way—firsthand—just how beautiful it is.
We could no longer deny that our beloved golden retriever was old. By 2020, Gracie, at the age of 12, had become arthritic, and was growing blind and deaf. Knowing that the end of her life was nearing, we considered a special final resting place for her. The answer, at least last summer, seemed obvious: my parents live in the country, in a home we call “the farm”. There’s a small pond with an island that Gracie loved to swim out to so she could chase the Canada geese. Last August, with heavy hearts, we gathered shovels and dug her grave. We covered it with plywood, hopeful that we’d have more time with her.
Susan Greer is the executive director of the Natural Burial Association, a nonprofit that fosters the creation of natural burial grounds across Ontario. She also serves on the GBC’s board. She misses her walks with Gracie in the Toronto ravine, so she now hops on her bike and whizzes around the city.
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