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To not let MIL have my dog's ashes!

131 replies

budgiegirl · 13/09/2022 23:54

We (me, DH, and my children) have a much loved elderly Labrador. He's advancing in years, and has recently been so ill that we expected that we might have to have him put to sleep. Happily he recovered well, and is back with us for at least a while longer, although I am aware he has limited time left.

My FIL was utterly obsessed with our dog, he absolutely adored him, and would often dogsit for us (along with MIL). It was a standing joke that FIL preferred the dog to anyone else in our family. We also found over the years that my in-laws would sometimes let people think the dog was theirs, and make the odd comment that the dog preferred them to us, that he wanted to stay with them, that he didn't want to return home when they had looked after him etc (not true but we would just smile and nod, and say what a good job they had done looking after him)

FIL sadly passed away a few months ago, and his ashes are now displayed in a glass cabinet at my MILs. Obviously this has been a very difficult few months for MIL, who is outwardly coping well, but we know she has been struggling a bit when she is at home on her own.

When the dog was ill, MIL told me that she hoped that when the dog eventually did pass away, we would let her have his ashes, to place on the shelf next to her late husbands. My immediate reaction was to say no. I have absolutely no intention of having my dogs ashes back, I think I would find it too emotionally upsetting, and I certainly don't want to have to see them sitting next to FIL ashes when we visit.

However, I am feeling guilty about it. MIL face really fell when I said no, and although we moved the conversation on quickly, she was really quite upset. I appreciate she is grieving for her husband, and this would probably bring her some comfort, but I really, really hate the idea.

AIBU to say no to her, or should I let her have the ashes when the time comes?

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Am I being unreasonable?

AIBU

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Pixiedust1234 · 13/09/2022 23:56

I wouldn't let anybody else have control of my pets ashes. If you don't want them then let the vet deal with it all.

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primeoflife · 13/09/2022 23:57

We have our dogs ashes because the children didn't want to get rid! They've become a bit of a fixture now. I'd let her face then if it makes her happy.

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Porcupineintherough · 13/09/2022 23:57

Well it's up to you of course but would it really cause you such distress to grant her her wish? You could even give her just a small portion of the ashes and scatter/bury the rest.

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AmyDudley · 14/09/2022 00:07

I wouldn't let her have the ashes - that's mad, no one has someone else's pet's ashes. But people have strange ideas when they are grieving, so I would be gentle in your refusal.
I have my last dog's ashes - but they are hidden away at the back of the wardrobe, I know some folk who get the ashes and then bury the box in the garden where the dog liked to play, or lie in the sun or whatever, so that might be an option for you if you don;t want to look at the ashes. And you could say to your MIL that you want the dogs ashes to be buried where he liked to potter about in the garden.

Anyway - it's a tricky one, but it isn't a reasonable request from your MIL, and she will have to accept that.

Don't let this spoil the time you have left with your DDog, I hope you have him for as long as possible, he sounds like a lovely boy,

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Crumpleton · 14/09/2022 00:10

If I was certain that I didn't want the ashes for whatever reason
I think I'd let MIL have them but explain that you'd find it upsetting if you saw them everytime you visited and maybe come to some arrangement that she could put them away somewhere.
If you let her have them I'd like to think she would understand how you felt and would honour your wishes, knowing her as you do you may know the answer to that, if so maybe let that help you decide on the outcome.

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Italiangreyhound · 14/09/2022 00:15

It's your dog so your choice but at the end of the day if it bring her comfort I would see it as a good thing to do and not something that would harm you. Yes, you may initially find it upsetting to see the ashes but with time I think you may see it as the final thing a beloved pet could 'do' for a family.

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ButyouwereuptoyouroldtricksinChaptersFourFiveandSix · 14/09/2022 00:49

I would have said YANBU if it was to determine whether you have them or she does, but if you don’t want to have them I think you should allow her to, and as PPs have said perhaps they can be moved so you are not reminded at every visit. Communal cremation is a sad affair

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redtshirt50 · 14/09/2022 00:54

I would give them to her if you have no intention of keeping them - sounds like it would give her a nice bit of comfort to think of your FIL and the dog together wherever they are.

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HappyKoala56 · 14/09/2022 01:01

I voted YABU, as I could imagine being in your shoes. I have a dog who my mum absolutely adores. My mum never got pushy with how she would parent my children like many a grandparent does, but very much oversteps with the dog instead 🤦‍♀️ she spoils her rotten and makes things quite difficult especially when we've been on holiday (this year mum failed to give the dog her dog food most days instead opting for proper meals - roast chicken dinner, chicken omelette, meatballs etc then she acts all innocent when we get home and the dog won't eat her normal food).
If something (heaven forbid) happened to my mum and then my dog I would like to think of them at peace together. You don't want the ashes yourself so to deny her sweet request feels a bit mean. You don't have to obviously, but what is the harm?

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Vecna · 14/09/2022 01:05

If it were your mum, would you let her have them? Genuine question. I always ask myself this when considering my MIL's behaviour and desires.

It would be a kindness and you don't want them. It in no way disrespect your dog's memory. If anything it's something of a tribute, and I'm sure she'd treasure and look after the ashes.

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Pixiedust1234 · 14/09/2022 01:08

I would like to add a bit here in case you hadn't considered it. You have to pay for your pet to be cremated and it varies on size, ie a cat costs less than a dog. Also collection is extra. As is caskets/box, it all adds up unfortnately. Its best to research which pet cremation you want to handle it, and how much, or if you want the vets recommendation. Its not something to decide when it happens imo

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AmeliaLila · 14/09/2022 01:14

Just give her a container with fake ashes (sand?) and keep the real ashes yourself. May have to pay for two containers so it looks authentic. I kept my dogs ashes fir a bit but felt a bit weird so I scattered them. It will give her comfort even if it’s a white lie ..

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AmeliaLila · 14/09/2022 01:15

Sorry just saw you don’t want the ashes but you could still do the fake ashes.

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WaffleIron · 14/09/2022 01:15

Why wouldn't you just split the ashes? Strange...

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FirstFallopians · 14/09/2022 01:32

Give her a naice urn and fill it with the contents of your vacuum cleaner?

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Pixiedust1234 · 14/09/2022 01:42

FirstFallopians · 14/09/2022 01:32

Give her a naice urn and fill it with the contents of your vacuum cleaner?

I'm going to hell. I laughed Blush

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CircleofWillis · 14/09/2022 03:15

Surely seeing your father-in-law's ashes are already upsetting? I can't imagine that the ashes of a beloved dog would trump that. If it would give your MIL comfort I would let her have the ashes.

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MerryMarigold · 14/09/2022 03:27

I think PP made a great point about asking for the ashes to be removed when you come as you'd find it upsetting. I would also say that you did not plan on receiving the ashes and it will cost x much to do it. Is she happy to cover that? You can do this all in a very nice gentle way. Or ask DH too!

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Marmite0nToast · 14/09/2022 04:45

I think I would say to hold off making any final decision until your dog has passed away - hopefully he will be with you for a good while longer - but you may find that you feel differently when his time comes, and decide you do want to have his ashes back.
I was devastated when our old boy passed away but didn't want his ashes sitting in an urn on a shelf, so instead we chose to plant a shrub in the garden, sprinkle his ashes around it as we planted it up , and we have a little memorial stone with his name under the shrub. I have to say it gives me great comfort and I'm glad his ashes are there in the ground, so he's still with us in a way.
Obviously your MIL is still grieving and is likely to react more strongly to you refusing her request, so I'd reach out to her to say that you have thought more about her request and you appreciate how much your FIL loved your dog. Just say you'd actually prefer to wait until that time comes to see how you feel. She may also feel differently about it in time as her own grief lessens.

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Suzi888 · 14/09/2022 05:02

Pixiedust1234 · 13/09/2022 23:56

I wouldn't let anybody else have control of my pets ashes. If you don't want them then let the vet deal with it all.

Why? Would you be afraid they’ll perform some kind of black magic ritual or pet cemetery type scenario… 🤔

Wow the mn MIL hatred is strong tonight isn’t it.

If YOU wanted the ashes fair enough (though they give you SO much they could easily be shared. I think it’s very cruel not to give her the ashes as you don’t want them, but it’ll cause you upset to see an ornament?
She should pay for the ashes though if she wants them and you can’t afford it. I’ve no idea what the options are.
She must have photographs of the dog? She could pop one in a frame next to her DH perhaps.


Do you honestly think they burn just one body anyway?

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Mumspair1 · 14/09/2022 05:05

Porcupineintherough · 13/09/2022 23:57

Well it's up to you of course but would it really cause you such distress to grant her her wish? You could even give her just a small portion of the ashes and scatter/bury the rest.

This. Why can't she have a small portion. Does it really that much to you, to be so petty? What is a small portion to you, that would mean so much to her especially knowing how much your FIL loved the dog ?

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cocktailclub · 14/09/2022 05:47

She's just been widowed. This would bring her comfort. Why not if you don't want them?

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Simonjt · 14/09/2022 05:50

My grandma adored my cat, she was also my cats favourite person by far. When she died we buried half of the cats ashes with her, its nice to know some of thr ashes are with the cats favourite person, the other in her favourite place, and grandma isn’t alone.

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RedHelenB · 14/09/2022 05:53

What does her son think? You don't want the ashes, she does so I don't really see a problem.

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oopsfellover · 14/09/2022 05:59

If you’re not going to get the dog’s ashes back you can’t give them to anyone, which I think is fair enough. Could a compromise be a lovely framed pic of the dog for her to put next to her husband’s ashes?

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