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Funeral Cars Turn Dog-Friendly for One Special Boy

December 21, 2009 | | Comments 0

Recently, an autistic boy in Sydney, N.S. died in a snowstorm after following his dog Chance into the woods. Search teams weren’t able to find him until it was too late, but Chance stayed faithfully by the boy’s side, trying to keep him warm in a futile fight against a snowstorm and the hypothermia that eventually set in.

At the funeral procession, among the hearses and funeral cars that traveled to the memorial, there was one whose passenger had four legs, a tail, and mournful eyes that seemed entirely in keeping with the tone of the day. Dogs have been known to lie on their master’s graves and return time and again to keep them company – but how many have actually attended the procession?

It’s a touching thought that when a community gathers together in mourning for a little boy who could not even cry out for help due to his autism, an allowance could be made for the pet who was so faithful to his master, and who tried to save him. Many funeral homes might not have allowed Chance to ride in the hearse, but they recognized that he had an important role in this little boy’s life and deserved to be a part of the memorial too.

Anyone who has ever driven funeral cars or hearses has surely had rules and regulations to follow about what is and is not acceptable within the bounds of the car. Some of those rules are simply practical, such as not eating food in the car because it might leave crumbs. Others might be more for the sake of the solemnity of the car’s task, such as not honking the horn because such a loud noise might feel disrespectful to the mourners.

Though I haven’t personally asked all the funeral car drivers out there, I’m sure many of them have rules about pets in their vehicles. I’m equally sure that almost all of them would say that they would make an exception for a situation such as this one, and a dog such as Chance. Particularly when your industry is a realm all about compassion and respect, it seems almost essential that sometimes funeral cars must give way to human emotions.

So here’s a question from us at Heritage Coach for all of you out there: when is it appropriate to make exceptions to rules regarding hearses and funeral cars out of consideration for the family and for the deceased? What circumstances would you make an exception for? And when would you say that funeral cars deserve respect too, and that certain rules need to be obeyed to make sure they stay that way?

We’d love to hear your stories about any times when funeral cars have made exceptions or chosen not to.

Filed Under: Funeral CarsFuneral Industry

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