As every animal lover knows, losing a pet can turn your world upside down. Hosting a pet memorial service is one way to honor their passing in a loving and compassionate way. If you’re not sure what kind of ceremony to have, consider these ideas for you and your closest friends and family.
Memorial services are often held in banquet halls and other public venues. While no option is off the table, pet memorials are often more intimate by nature. Consider hosting a private service in your home or other private space in remembrance. Invite a small group of friends and family to pay their respects in a quiet and comfortable setting.
Having a dog memorial or cat memorial when your furry friends cross the rainbow bridge can ease the pain of a dog loss or a cat loss and allows family members to keep the thought of their beloved dog/cat alive forever.
For children especially, the loss of a pet is difficult to process. Keeping a visual reminder of your beloved animal friend may help them in their grieving process. Consider creating a collection of meaningful items such as a paw print mold, a pet collar and/or a photo as a reminder of happier times. Keep these items in a decorative box for safekeeping or in a shadow box on display on your mantel in a living room or den.
Perhaps also a keepsake like a garden stone that says “Forever in My Heart” or a pet memorial gift, a pet urn for holding the pet ashes, a pet memorial wind chime, all of these things could help pet parents say goodbye to their best friends. Pet memorial ornaments are also an excellent pet remembrance gift. There are several special ways to remember your beloved pet; pet memorial frames, pet sympathy gifts, memorial jewelry or a photo frame with different dog breeds. Pet keepsakes are a great way to express your condolences.
If your pet adored the outdoors, it’s only fitting to host an outdoor memorial service. Choose a sunny day to honor your pet in a way he or she would’ve appreciated. If you decide to bury the cremations, consider making a decorative headstone for the final resting place. Having a memorial poster or a large pet photo with your pet’s name and/or a collage memory board highlighting events in the pet’s life would be fitting here. Choosing an appropriate burial site close to home allows you to reconnect with your pet as often as you’d like.
Many memorial services offer some light refreshments for guests. You may also wish to invite other pet owners to attend your service including their own pets depending on the location. In that case, treat the animals to some delicious pet-friendly foods for their attendance.
You may think of memorial services as large gatherings for many people. However, it’s perfectly fine to honor your pet on your own if you prefer. Consider planting a tree in honor of your pet. This solitary act allows you to process your emotions in your own space, while connecting in a tangible way. Placing your tree in a meaningful location further allows you to remember your animal friend for many years to come. Some pet lovers who have lost a pet will even have a memorial garden including a memorial plaque or a pet memorial stone.
One way to pay your respects is to visit your pet’s favorite places. If you loved taking your dog for walks in a nearby park, consider going back by yourself or with a loved one to relive the brighter moments. Connecting to shared experiences can help you remember all the joy they brought to your life especially when you’re feeling low.
Memorializing a pet is a deeply personal decision. Whether you choose to hold a celebration of life in your home, host an outdoor service, display meaningful objects or plant a tree in remembrance is completely up to you.
Remind yourself that grief is a natural process. Give yourself time to come to the right decision for you and your pet. We wish you a healing journey and a moving memorial service.