The death of a pet affects the whole household. This shouldn’t come as any surprise—most pet parents consider them a core part of our lives. We don’t make any distinction between our beloved animals, and our human relationships; and why would we? Our pets are our family.
It’s therefore only fitting that we should produce a service to memorialize them. This is not just an opportunity to mourn their passing, but also to celebrate their life! Furthermore, arranging a memorial can serve as a practical, positive focus for our grief. However, it’s not always easy to know how best to go about creating this service. After all, there often aren’t the same resources in place for pet memorials that there are for human counterparts.
We’re going to take you through a few steps for you to consider. But don’t get too concerned if you can’t service all areas here. Treat this as a loose guide, rather than a rulebook. Create a service that fits your family, and your pet’s place within it.
Get Everyone Involved to Plan a Memorial Service for Your Pet
Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes you can make is taking the entire burden for a memorial on your own shoulders. The death of a pet is a stressful and emotionally fraught time, which can be exacerbated if you feel you need to take care of everything yourself. Your pet had an impact on the lives of your entire family, and they all have a place in arranging a memorial. We often use pets as a way to teach kids responsibility, and part of that is helping to provide a fitting farewell.
More importantly, bringing the whole family into the arrangements will help them feel less disconnected from the reality of the situation. They have an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to the memorial of the pet they grew close to. Invite everyone to have some input into the service. Share memories together and use them to inform the type of memorial you’ll be creating. Arrange for each of you to take a small number of tasks to be completed, and make sure you all have the support you need.
Choose a Venue
While your pet memorial is an important part of the grieving process, it doesn’t have to be a formal affair. For humans, we often have expectations for locations that are appropriate for the event. Your service for your furry family member is bound by no such social restrictions. Don’t feel as though you need to rent out an area for a venue or provide catering.
Instead, consider holding the ceremony in a place that connects your family and your pet. Was there a favorite park you went for walks together? Perhaps you regularly visited a local beach, splashing about in the water and running through the sand. Even your own home can be the perfect space to reflect on the memories you built as a family. What’s most important, is that you have a quiet space to reflect, and room to celebrate.
Make it a Personal Presentation
There are relatively few traditions for pet memorials; you’re not expected to have a huge picture of your cat before and altar, or for everybody to dress in black garb. The lack of these societal expectations can mean that you can create a very personal presentation for your memorial.
It can be useful to have objects of focus for attendees to gather near. Pet urns can be an important addition here, as this can give a sense of a physical presence of your passed loved one. That doesn’t mean to say that it has to be a dour affair. Chances are your pet was a fun, lively addition to your home. It’s important that the service reflects this, and keep in mind when you plan a memorial service for your pet. Decorate the venue in bright colors, and with photos that celebrate your favorite memories. Get your kids to share their favorite stories or edit together home videos of them getting into mischief together.
Memorials are not just an opportunity to say goodbye to our family pets. They’re a chance to celebrate the life we share with them, and the joy they’ve contributed to the world. The most important thing to remember is you don’t have to over complicate matters. Get the entire family involved, find a fitting space, and create a service that is meaningful to you.