When a pet passes away, it's important to embrace the loss and help your family begin healing. These 3 Steps to Create a Pet Memorial Ceremony will show you how to prepare for and conduct a nice ceremony in honor of your pet's life. Pet loss is a Rite of Passage. Like any other significant milestone, this day will be remembered forever -- either in fondness, or regret, over decisions made at the time. That's why it is important to give yourself and your children the good memory of a proper ceremony because it will never be forgotten. As time passes by, the pet memorial will stand out as a positive part of losing your beloved pet. It's like remembering the funeral of a loved one that paid a good tribute to their life, or was a memorable experience. Without a funeral or service for a loved one, there is a sense of something incomplete, or a lack of closure. It is no different when a loved one is an animal.
Whether you think of it as a Memorial gathering, a celebration of life or a funeral -- the purpose is the same: it is a public event that bring loved ones together to express beliefs, thoughts and feelings about the loved one. The nature of the event brings comfort to the bereaved, especially those closest to the deceased, whether a person or animal who was part of your family. There is a sense of order when this happens. If you're not sure whether this is an important component to healing from pet loss, take a look a why it's important to consider doing. Children are especially vulnerable and need to come to terms with the loss and what it means to them personally. A child can hold a traumatic memory of this day, especially when a pet suddenly disappears, or when a family tries to protect their feelings by not allowing involvement.
First, if you're pet has just passed away or crossed the Rainbow Bridge, we are truly sorry. Most important now is that you try to give yourself, your children or your family the extra comfort they need and deserve, by honoring your pet and making his or her life important. Having a proper goodbye is good for the soul. Pets are often overlooked, but shouldn’t be. When you hold a ceremony, (whether a funeral, burial or cremation ceremony) for your beloved pet, you’re allowed permission to grieve the loss of a pet. Every small action step in the process of saying goodbye is equally as important as it is for human companions and family.
3 Steps to create a pet memorial ceremony
1. Set up date and time for your pet's memorial
Decide whether to hold an informal ceremony indoors with pet’s ashes in an urn, conduct ceremony outdoors, or at a pet cemetery when burial there is chosen. Invite family and friends you'd like to share this memory with. Some people have a formal pet funeral. Others bury their pet in a local pet cemetery or in their backyard. Many people choose pet cremation. The "disposition" of the pet isn't the point. The point is to celebrate their memory, while you say goodbye. The power of ritual and a rite of passage applies equally to human families, and beloved animal companions when it comes to emotions.
2. Include Art, A Letter or Painting as an Expression of Love
As part of the ceremony, allow children to draw or paint a picture ahead of time. Writing a letter or note to your beloved pet is also very healing. Whether you are an adult or child who has lost your beloved cat, dog, bird, guinea pig, hamster, gerbil, ferret, chinchilla, mouse or any other animal – taking this step is powerful. When a death has occurred, people need something to do that will allow the Shock to be absorbed, so to speak. Being creative in some way has been proven to help collect emotions and prepare for the inevitable feelings ahead.
(Note: *** If you have chosen a PawPod product for your pet, each product can be painted or decorated before burial, in honor of your pet. Gather paints and brushes, markers, stickers, even glitter and glue – any form of creative tools you desire. A Photo of your pet can even be Mod Podged to the PawPod. Any form of creativity is okay. Set up a quiet place to be creative without outside distractions. Art is a healing process in itself. By allowing creativity to flow no matter how cryptic, feelings are brought forth. Never underestimate the power of Art in the healing process, for adults and children).
3. The Pet Memorial
Have one person lead by reading a poem, shared memories about the pet, or saying a prayer. Ask each child if they would like to say something. Talk about fond memories and what your pet meant to you. Bring a flower or flower arrangement the child can place with the pet casket before burial, and can plant on top of the pet's grave. Include any toys, photographs or other items your pet loved. Encourage children to express whatever it is they feel.
Allow enough time for the memorial. Being silent gives everyone an opportunity to feel whatever they are feeling. End the pet memorial with this special Pet Blessing.
After the pet memorial service is finished, remember that this place can be visited any time you feel the need. If you have scattered ashes someplace special, re-visit this place when you feel the need. If your pet is cremated and in a Pet Urn at home close to you, you can re-read the Pet Blessing anytime for comfort. What matters most is to give you and your family permission to make your pet important, and not just allow them to disappear without a formal, or proper, goodbye.
Create the proper goodbye you will fondly remember.