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Do dogs cry at graves?

Cemetery Etiquette: 6 Tips for Visiting a Cemetery

Cemetery Etiquette: 6 Tips for Visiting a Cemetery

Visiting your loved one’s grave can be an important part of your grief journey – it can help you process your loss and reflect on memories of your loved one. But visiting a cemetery can be intimidating, especially if you’re unfamiliar with cemetery etiquette. Whether you’re going to the cemetery by yourself or with others, it’s important to be considerate of those around you. By following the 6 tips below, you can show respect to other mourners, the groundskeepers, and those buried in the cemetery.

Drive with care

person driving a car

When driving through a cemetery, drive slower and more cautiously than you typically would. To avoid accidentally driving over a grave or monument, stay on the roadways and off the grass, even when parking, if there’s enough room for another car to pass. Also, follow the cemetery’s posted speed limit – if there are no signs, driving 10 mph or slower is recommended.

Remember that people walking in the cemetery may be grieving and not paying attention to their surroundings. Be cautious and watch for people crossing your path. If you’re listening to music in your car, keep the volume low while driving through the cemetery.

Respect graves and monuments

headstone for a mother with pink flowers on it

Out of respect for both the deceased in the cemetery and their loved ones, avoid touching monuments or stepping on graves. Depending on how old the cemetery you’re visiting is, some of the monuments may be decades or even centuries old and could be fragile and crumbling. While walking through some cemeteries, it can be difficult to tell where it’s okay to step. Try to follow the path made by the headstones, and don’t step over or on headstones or monuments.

Additionally, you should never remove anything left by another person at a grave. Flowers, coins, and decorations all have special meaning to the person who placed the items, and removing these personal items can cause more grief for a loved one. Coins may seem out of place, but they often have specific meanings, especially when placed on a veteran’s grave, so leave them where they are.

Be considerate of other mourners

Person standing in front of a grave

People visiting a cemetery are likely visiting a deceased loved one and may be overwhelmed with emotion, praying, or spending time in contemplation. To respect their needs, keep your speaking volume low and avoid talking on the phone or playing loud music. Keep your phone on vibrate or silent to keep distractions at a minimum.

Many people who are visiting a loved one’s grave don’t wish to speak with others. If you are nearby or passing them, it’s okay to smile or nod at them, but don’t try to start a conversation unless they seem like they want or need someone to talk to. Likewise, if a funeral or graveside service is going on while you visit, steer clear and leave them plenty of room. It’s also inappropriate to take photos of someone else’s funeral or of someone who is visiting a grave.

Keep an eye on children and pets

Parent holding a child

Bringing your child to a loved one’s grave can benefit them by helping them come to terms with the death and learning about their own emotions and grief. But before you bring your child to a cemetery, speak to them about how to behave. They’ll need to be relatively quiet and respectful of others, and they shouldn’t run around the cemetery. Ensure your child knows the rules and can follow them before bringing them with you.

Some cemeteries allow owners to bring their pets, while others only allow service dogs. If your cemetery does allow pets, keep them on a leash at all times. You should also be respectful of other mourners. Not everyone likes animals, and an excitable dog may not be a welcome visitor for some people. Even more importantly, make sure you clean up after your pet. You don’t want to leave an unwelcome surprise for someone visiting their loved one!

Clean up after yourself

Person picking up an empty water bottle

No one wants to visit their loved one in the cemetery and find trash on the grave. Out of respect for other visitors and the groundskeepers, don’t litter and pick up any trash you see. If your cemetery doesn’t have a trash can, you can take the trash back with you – and next time you visit, bring a bag to put trash in.

It’s also a good idea to avoid leaving highly breakable items. Glass or ceramic vases and jars are beautiful, but bad weather or nighttime critters may knock over the items. Leaving food at a grave can also attract ants, bugs, and critters, so many cemeteries recommend that you not leave food at a grave.

Learn the cemetery’s specific rules

graves with bright red and pink flowers

As mentioned above, different cemeteries have their own rules, so learn your cemetery’s regulations before you go. One way to determine the cemetery’s rules is to check their website or call the office. If you can’t find any information online, many cemeteries also have a sign near the entrance with their rules. Most cemeteries are also only open at certain times, so please respect your cemetery’s hours.

Visiting a cemetery can be intimidating at first, but spending time at your loved one’s grave can help you in your grief journey. During your visit, remember that everyone grieves differently. You may find it helpful to speak out loud to your loved one, pray, cry, or simply stay silent and ponder. As long as you are respectful of both the deceased around you and other mourners, do what will help you in your grief journey.

No, the dog in this photo did not dig a hole ‘to be close to its deceased owner’

The photo is contained in this January 10, 2019 Facebook post, which has been shared more than 21,000 times.

Its caption reads: “A dog dug a hole in the tomb of his owner who has just died so that he could be close to the person who he loves most. Nothing in the world can compare with the love and loyalty of a dog for his owner.”

The same photo has been shared elsewhere on Facebook with a similar claim, for example in this post published July 20, 2015, which has been shared more than 620,000 times.

Below is a screenshot of one of the misleading posts:

Screenshot of misleading Facebook post

The same photo and claim have also been shared on Reddit here and in posts on other websites, for example here and here.

The claim is false; the dog dug the hole to have a warm place to give birth.

A reverse image search on Google found the same photo posted by the Facebook account of a German animal rescue group here on April 22, 2015.

The photo is one of seven images in this Facebook photo album created by the group. The German-language album title is: “Dog family under a grave”.

Below is a screenshot of the album as it appears on Facebook, with the photo that matches the one in the misleading post circled in red:

Screenshot of album posted by German animal rescue group

Translated into English, the album’s description reads:

“Sometimes you just want to cry and pull the blanket over your head. These pictures have so much symbolic character and stand for the suffering and misery of the street animals in Serbia.

“Abandoned, exposed, hungry and pregnant, this bitch was left with only this path to take: to dig a hole under a gravestone and give birth to her babies there.

“The only protection they have against the cold at night and the very warm sun during the day. Rain fills the hole and there is nothing to eat for the mummy. When she is discovered, it will be all over for her children.

“Please help the mother with her children so that they can be sheltered, vaccinated, neutering at a later date for the mum and fed regularly and given a little care. She doesn’t expect anything, but you can give her a little security.”

Similar images were posted to Facebook in another photo album here two days earlier on April 20, 2015, by Serbia-based user Vesna Mihajloski.

One of the photos, which shows the dog’s puppies sheltering in the hole, is embedded below:

That photo album’s description says: “All Photos so far from our little family of the cemetery. Little Boomer has had the hardest hit by an unknown virus. He has fought for his life and won. This is why we are incredibly proud of him.

“He is now almost back to the old, there are still some physical problems such as walk but if we look back and thought we should him to sleep. Is that now the least concern. Now even sponsors or even better a forever home. ”

Multiple other posts from Mihajloski, such as here and here, show she regularly rescued animals and was based in New Belgrade, part of the Serbian capital Belgrade.

The album documents the life of the dog and her puppies for about a year.

It includes photos of documents from visits to the vet, a pet passport issued by Serbia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection with information about the animals, as well as vaccination record.

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