“My cat Barney died this Friday. I was very sad. My mother said we could have a funeral for him, and I should think of ten good things about Barney so I could tell them…”
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney ~ Judith Viorst
PET MEMORIAL CEREMONY
A CELEBRATION OF LIFE
As a pet parent or guardian, you know that losing an animal companion is a heartbreaking experience, on par with the intense pain and loneliness that arise when a close human friend or family member has died—and perhaps even more sorrowful, because of the unconditional love and loyalty that was your pet’s gift to you.
And although it may feel like you are alone in the intensity of your emotions, you are not.
Social media sharing has helped the world see how deeply and devotedly humans connect with dogs, cats, horses, pigs, lions, elephants, rats, chinchillas, birds, porpoises, fish, turtles, snakes and spiders—creatures of any and every sort are loved by people in diverse societies around the globe.
We’ve witnessed through our Facebook and Instagram follows how the loving bonds that form through proximity, familiarity, care-giving, earned trust, etc. are normal, healthy and heart-opening ... and that the grief that comes with each break in those bonds is a natural and necessary response for human beings.
So be assured that throughout the stages of your mourning and recovery, your animal-loving friends far and wide will understand. There are also therapists, pet loss support groups, grief counselors, websites and your veterinarian—all empathetic resources you can likely turn to for support and assistance.
I have myself deeply grieved an animal’s passing many times. A main reason I have chosen to practice within this special niche is to compassionately connect with others going through this experience to benefit them.
A Healing Remembrance
A ritual acknowledgement of your pet’s death—an uplifting Celebration of Life ceremony—can be a very helpful and healing activity for you and your family. Honoring your animal’s life and acknowledging your loving relationship can provide you with comfort and further your grief and recovery process, while creating beautiful last memories.
Every ceremony I design and write to honor an animal is unique and custom. After consulting with and interviewing you in preparation, your pet’s Celebration of Life would be written from your perspective to include a eulogy (the animal’s life story) and to accurately reflect your personal style, needs, wishes, religious or spiritual beliefs, and values.
Contents of a Pet’s Celebration of Life Ceremony
Following your choice, we might include the following elements in a Celebration of Life for a pet:
Preparation of an altar or focal point
Opening ritual to invoke a still/sacred space
Animal’s life journey
Sharing by guests
Music or poem
Remembrance ritual or meditation
The Celebration of Life ceremony could be held in your home or in another suitable venue, according to your preference and number of guests that would be present.
If you wish, I could also design a short, related Disposition Ceremony for the later burial or scattering of your beloved pet’s cremains (ashes).
How a Celebration of Life Ceremony Can Help
The status of pets as ‘incidental’ and ‘easily replaceable’ is actively evolving in our culture to that of ‘precious family member.’ A cherished pet can be many things … a best friend, child, soulmate, protector, confidante, comforter, playmate, teacher, an extension of self, even a lifeline.
As a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant® trained in the art of ceremony, an NYC animal rescue volunteer and a besotted pet mom myself, it would be my pleasure to help you duly honor and celebrate your companion’s unique role in your life and the singular bond you shared.
While there is nothing that can erase all the grief you experience with pet loss, an authentic, loving and beautifully-crafted tribute to your beloved pet can go a long way towards uplifting your heart and easing your pain.