When an animal companion dies, it is perfectly normal to feel a sense of overwhelming grief and despair. Holding a pet memorial can help. But often, in our confused state, we have difficulty coping with the decision as to what to do with the pet's body. We may feel uncertain as to what is socially acceptable in saying our last goodbyes and, therefore, may not be in a position to make an informed decision.
Saying farewell and closing this chapter in our lives is an important step in the coping process. Just as we have elaborate funerals for human companions, it is just as important to have a final closing ceremony for our pets.
Regardless of your decision, always keep in mind that no two situations are the same. Although your choice may differ from that of another person, if it feels right, then it is the best choice for you.
A Pet Memorial or Funeral Service
Whether you opt for burial or cremation, you may find it helpful to hold a family funeral service or special memorial ceremony. Offering a final eulogy at the time of the pet's death often provides closure to the event. Involving children and friends in the final service helps to validate their attachment to the pet and provides an outlet to express feelings.
The eulogy can be just a few words, a favorite memory, or even a recap of a funny habit your pet had.
Other Ways to Honor Your Pet's Memory
There are also many ways you can memorialize your pet, such as: planting a tree or flower garden in their memory, writing a story or poem, putting together a special photo album, or making a donation in the animal's
memory to your favorite animal-related charity. Pet360 offers a pet memorial garden kit and a pet keepsake chest.
Pet Grief Support
Whatever your final choice may be, please remember, there is no right or wrong way to say good-bye to your pet.
This is a difficult time in your life and you have the right to your grief and feelings of sadness. Find solace in knowing that you are not alone, that others feel your pain and understand. Should you need to talk with someone, call your veterinarian or humane society to see if there is a Pet Loss Support Group in your area.
You can also visit the Rainbow Bridge pet loss support site.
Most Pet Loss Support Groups provide confidential telephone support and hold regular monthly drop-in group support meetings. There is usually no charge to talk to a support giver, and there may or may not be a small charge to attend a meeting.
Pet Loss Support Group in Canada:
The Pet Loss Support Group
cAn Alberta Society
Box 335, #440-10816 Macleod Trail South
Calgary, Alberta CANADA T2J 5N8
Pet Loss Support Group in the United States:
The Delta Society
289 Perimeter Road East
Email: [email protected]
Article submitted by: © Terri Perrin
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