Pet Funerals or Pet Memorials are becoming as popular as paying tribute to a person at the time of death. There is little doubt people feel their pet is a family member and are willing to spend money on the final day of their life. Whether it's pet burial pods or pet urns, pet cremation, memorial jewelry or keepsakes -- pet lovers want to ease the sting of "goodbye" while honoring the life of a being with whom they shared many memories. We are often asked how do you hold your own pet funeral or ceremony at home to 'pay respects' and find peace with this difficult loss. Let these 3 Steps to Create a Pet Funeral show you how to prepare for and conduct a ceremony to honor of your pet's life, and to help children say goodbye.
A Pet Memorial event brings loved ones together to express feelings and share memories -- whether your pet is a dog, cat, bird, guinea pig, or even a tiny Goldfish. Unconditional love comes in many forms. Even Dr. Marty Becker says, "I love the burial pod for a pet fish, made out of bamboo, rice husks and corn starch. It includes seeds, so that after 'Goldie' is planted by a tender young child, wildflowers appear magically the next year to memorialize and mark the spot." Yes -- parents are teaching children about pet loss with their earliest pet - a Goldfish.
There is a sense of order and closure when people honor animals as individuals. 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.
Having a proper goodbye is good for the soul - no matter how casual or private - because it is a moment in time where it is okay to grieve, and to feel what is deeply painful with outside acceptance. Every small action step in the process of saying goodbye is important.
3 Steps to create a pet funeral
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.
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.
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 healing both for adults and children.
(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 glued to the PawPod. Any form of creativity is okay. Set up a quiet place to be creative without outside distractions).
3. The Pet Memorial, or Pet Funeral
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. Every PawPod pet burial pod or pet urn comes with a seeded Leaf that magically sprouts seeds of perennial flowers to be planted on top of a 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, this special place can be visited at any time. 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 always remember.