Wherever you are, no matter how lonely, / the world offers itself to your imagination, / calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — / over and over announcing your place / in the family of things.
~ Mary Oliver, Wild Geese
FAQs & FEES
Q. Why did you become a Life-Cycle Celebrant® for Pets?
Because the human-animal bond has a quality of rare beauty and magic within it that deeply enriches our collective lives and is well worth celebrating. Its fundamental nature is a pure loving energy that transcends apparent vast differences. Once we open our hearts to let an animal in, we are changed and bettered forever.
Even when our treasured friend dies, and we are overwhelmed by feelings of loss and grief, the love we experienced with our pet remains alive within us. When we allow sorrow to express and move through, the pain lessens gradually, acceptance can gently arise, and memories can begin to illuminate the transcendent bond we still share with our beloved.
Custom personalized ceremonies held at the beginning and end of our animals’ lives provide very special ways to acknowledge and celebrate the beauty of this enduring love. Honoring the great gift that is inherent in our relationships with our cherished companion animals blesses them, us, the greater community and the spirits of animal beings everywhere.
Q. What process do you use to create a custom pet ceremony?
I am a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant®, which means I have received specialized training in ritual and ceremony, as well as in ceremonial writing and performance. I am also skilled in collaborating with my clients. Every pet ceremony that I co-create is a unique, highly personalized occasion that honors an animal’s life and relationships while reflecting the personality, beliefs, needs and wishes of his/her family members.
Typically, I receive a call or email from a prospective client that I follow up to learn what he/she is looking for and to gain a clear and specific understanding of their situation. We discuss my creative and practical services in detail, and after we agree to work together and sign a contract, I conduct a second interview, either in person, by email or phone, following a targeted, detailed questionnaire. I am also interested to see photographs and videos of the animal showing interactions with humans and other pets, and any relevant social media accounts. I seek heartfelt stories and images as the rich source material for the writing that I will do.
My job then, which I consider to be a great privilege, is to bring the information all together to create a ceremony that will feel appropriate and entirely authentic to my client. I present a draft, make any required changes, and once I’ve received final approval, I’m ready to conduct the ceremony from the script (no surprises), and make it available to my client as a keepsake.
For a Pet Funeral, Pet Memorial or a Celebration of Life, I also will offer to guide to you create a stunning altar or focal table for the event.
Q. What types of ceremonies do you perform?
Family Welcoming and Naming (Pet Adoption), Threshold Ceremony and Support (Euthanasia), Celebration of Life ( Pet Funeral or Memorial), Ash Disposition, and Healing and Support Ceremonies for Animal Welfare Workers (veterinary staff and rescuers) are the areas where I encounter the most need. All of these can be done individually or in community.
I am available to co-create and officiate other types of ceremony—private, family, organizational, civic, etc. Please contact me to discuss the possibilities. There are so many occasions in life worthy of celebration.
Q. Can you provide a pet ceremony for someone who lives outside of the five boroughs of New York City?
Yes. To perform a ceremony for a client, I am happy to travel by public transportation within a 1.5 hour radius of northwestern Manhattan, for instance to Long Island, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania. I will always consider traveling longer distances depending on ceremonial specifics, practicality, timing, compensation for transportation, etc.
I can also create a beautiful custom ceremony, including event choreography, for a client in a distant location, which a friend or family member could officiate.
Additionally, technology provides options that may be appropriate in certain circumstances; I would be happy to discuss audio presence, video calls, etc.
Q. Isn’t “pet” a demeaning word for an animal that is considered a family member?
My apologies to those who may flinch where I have used “pet” to describe the magnificent array of creatures great and small that come to dwell in our homes and hearts. I recognize that to some the three-letter word may convey a sense of animals being petty, lesser, or insignificant beings, which is absolutely not my intention.
However, I don’t believe the English language has any one word in use at this time to convey “purr-fectly” the vast, pure love and adoration that can be contained within the human-animal bond. Therefore, “pet,” “beloved pet,” “animal friend,” and “companion animal,” etc., I have opted to use throughout this website. The gist of my underlying meaning in each case is equal in respect and awe.
Q. What are your fees and terms for ceremonies honoring animals?
Because every ceremony I conduct on behalf of an animal is custom and personalized to meet my client’s style, beliefs, needs and wishes, and there are many logistical variables in a ceremonial occasion, my price calculations are individualized.
Following the outlines provided in the ceremony descriptions, Honoring Animals with Ceremony fees will typically fall between $295-$795, although all services and therefore pricing is custom. I will provide an estimate during our first “no obligation” consultation, create a contract if we are a match, and ask for a 50% first payment upon signing. The balance due must be received by me before I conduct (or otherwise deliver) the ceremony. Supported by many references, I fully and confidently guarantee my clients’ satisfaction.
Q. You are a Pet Loss Grief Recovery Specialist—do you take private clients?
Losing a beloved companion animal in any circumstance can be an extremely painful and lonely experience. Getting help from someone who truly understands is an important and thoughtful act of self-care.
On a limited basis, I offer “Compassionate Friend” coaching services to assist my ceremonial clients, and to other individuals or families who are grieving the loss of a cherished pet. I have mourned for a special animal many times, and with the wisdom and love that I’ve acquired through my heartbreak and recovery, I can walk with you over the roughest spots of your unique grief journey.
Coaching appointments can occur by phone, Skype, or in person depending on location. I promise to offer a loving presence, an empathetic ear, my own recovery experiences, professional knowledge, hope and reassurances.
If you want to schedule a session with me, please call or text me, use the contact page to book, or DM (direct message) me on Instagram. My fees for pet loss coaching are an affordable sliding scale beginning at $35.
I am also willing and happy to make recommendations to licensed mental health professionals and social workers with pet loss specialties if the need is indicated, or point you to pet loss grief recovery support groups.
Q. Do you provide ceremonies for humans?
While I am qualified and certified to provide end-of-life Celebrant services for human beings, I chose at this time to remain focused on and dedicated to ceremonies that honor animal beings—unless a special relevant circumstance were to arise.
However ... I do provide a unique creative writing service for inclusion in a human funeral. I create an uplifting eulogy poem or prose in the “voice” of the deceased person’s pet that gives loving light to the special relationship the companion animal shared with their deceased caregiver.
Q. Does Honoring Animals with Ceremony offer gift certificates?
Yes. Gifting a friend or family member with a adoption or end-of-life ceremony for their animal companion is a beautiful and compassionate gesture. Please contact me to discuss.