Pet Memorialization

“If there is a heaven, it’s certain our animals are to be there. Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to detangle them.” ~ Pam Brown, Poet

What is a pet funeral or memorial service?

A pet funeral or memorial service is a gathering of grieving family members and friends who have come together in support of one another to pay tribute to the life of a beloved animal companion. Many experts believe that holding some type of ceremony or ritual can help us cope with the loss of a treasured animal friend.

Whether you choose burial or cremation for your pet’s final disposition, what’s right for you will depend on your personal preferences and the regulations in your area.

Funeral homes and pet cemeteries can be a helpful resource during this time because they are staffed by people who understand that pet loss can be just as painful as losing a human family member.

Ways to memorialize your pet

You have many options when it comes to planning a pet funeral or memorial service. These memorialization ideas can be done as part of a funeral or memorial service or after as a way to pay your respects to a beloved family animal:

  • Have memorial jewelry made from your pet’s ashes or paw print
  • Create a personalized urn for your pet’s ashes
  • Donate to an organization that benefits animals in honor of your pet
  • Create a pet memorial stone for your garden
  • Plant a tree or shrub to honor your pet’s life
  • Create a custom pet portrait (painting) based off a favorite photo
  • Fill a shadow box with cherished items reminiscent of your pet

Common elements of a pet funeral or memorial service

Prayers or spiritual blessings
Depending on your religious beliefs, an appropriate prayer or spiritual blessing may be included. Many people also like to include a candle-lighting ceremony to symbolize the spiritual nature of the ceremony.

Poems, readings, and songs
There are many touching poems, readings and songs available that can be used to express your feelings about the loss of your pet and to characterize the nature of the pet’s life.

Sharing of memories
You and/or others telling a story about your pet and its relationship to your family will give you the chance to share your feelings and to celebrate their memory. You can also display photos or video footage of your pet.

Final goodbye
Give a final farewell to your pet through a moment of silence, a verbal goodbye or another meaningful gesture.

Questions to ask

Below are a few questions to ask your local Golden Rule Funeral Director about pet memorialization:

  1. How can I honor the life of my pet in a meaningful way?
  2. Is it normal to feel this much grief for the loss of an animal?
  3. How and when will my pet’s body be picked up?
  4. Will I have the opportunity for a memorial service or a visitation?
  5. Is there a variety of memorialization items that I can choose from?
  6. When will I get my pet’s cremated remains returned to me?
  7. Does this town/county/development allow pet burials?
  8. What are other services that could help me memorialize my pet?

List of additional resources

Below is a list of resources to help you learn more about pet memorialization:

Funeral Wise →

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement →

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals →

Sources (“Making Pet Funeral Arrangements,” n.d.), Memorial Pet Passages (“Pet Memorial Services,” n.d.), The Pet Loss Center (“The Final Arrangements for Your Pet,” n.d.), Mashable (“10 Creative Ways to Say Goodbye to Your Pet,” Aug. 2014)

If you are a Golden Rule Funeral Home and want to give this information in print to families, click here.