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Creating a Memorial in Honor of Your Pet

The relationship between pet owner and pet can be as meaningful as any human relationship. When a beloved pet passes on, it can be like losing a family member. 

Psychologists say that we can help ourselves through the grieving process and begin to heal by memorializing our pets and commemorating their meaning in our lives. Following are a few of the many ways to honor a pet’s life and at the same time, bring solace and closure to those left behind:

  • Have a funeral or memorial service for your pet which can serve as a caring, dignified way to say goodbye.  The service can be a quiet, private moment or a way to include family members and friends who knew and loved your pet. Write a poem, a song or a farewell letter to your animal friend and include it as part of the ceremony.

  • Bury your pet in a special place such as a pet cemetery.   Knowing where your pet’s remains are can be comforting.  Pay annual visits to your pet's burial site to continue to pay respect to the departed animal.

  • Submit written memorials, a pet biography and photos to a pet memorial Web site for friends and family to view.  This online collage or photo album is a way to share your thoughts, express your emotions and celebrate your relationship with your pet.   (You are invited to post in the Memorials section of this website

  • In addition to creating an online memorial, gather photos and snapshots together in a photo album or scrapbook or simply display them in your home.  Visual memorials can help recall the wonderful times your family shared with your pet.

  • Create a lasting tribute such as planting a tree, bush or flower bed.  Create some type of pet remembrance in a place in your yard that was significant to your pet such as the front steps or a favorite shady spot under a tree.

  • Save something that belonged to your pet such as its favorite toy.  One family saved their dog’s collar and turned it into an ornament for their Christmas tree.   At holiday time, they always take a moment to share happy memories of their pet.

  • A gesture of giving such as volunteering at or making a donation to the local animal shelter can be a tribute to a lost pet.  Helping other animals in honor of your own is a significant memorial.

  • Observe National Pet Memorial Day, the second Sunday in September.  This holiday recognizes that it’s healthy for pet lovers to acknowledge their love for their pets and the grief they feel when a pet dies.

Anyone who has lost a pet will confirm this truth: they would rather endure the pain of grieving the loss of their pet friend than deny themselves the unconditional love and companionship it provided.  Memorializing your pet is a meaningful way to work through the pain, bring closure and acknowledge the bond that you and your animal shared.