Funerals and memorial services are often reserved for human friends and members of the family, but we’ve seen pet memorials rise in popularity with no signs of slowing down. The loss of a pet can be just as painful as losing a human member of the family, especially for people that view their pets as children. You can commemorate the special bond that you and your pet shared by hosting a memorial service. After all the years of joy your pet brought you, you may need to grieve in the same way you would when a loved one passes away. Holding a memorial service for your pet might provide the sense of finality you need to celebrate life even in times of great sadness. In this guide, we offer tips and suggestions for creating a memorial service for your pet.

Holding a Memorial Service for Your Pet

People have been domesticating animals and keeping pets for thousands of years, so it’s no surprise that we have developed strong relationships along the way with cats, dogs, and other kinds of companions. One way to make the process of planning your pet’s memorial service easier is by choosing a pet funeral home to help finalize any details of your pet’s final disposition and burial method. Many owners choose cremation because it is more affordable than burial and makes less of an impact on the planet. Pet funeral homes provide an array of services: picking up the pet from your home or the veterinarian’s office, preparing the pet for visitation, providing the facilities to hold a memorial service, and arranging transportation of the pet to a cemetery or memorial garden.

If there isn’t a pet funeral home in your town or pet funerary services won’t fit into your budget, you can host the pet memorial on your own and pay tribute in a meaningful way. Burials and ash scattering ceremonies allow families with young children a final opportunity to say farewell by burying the pet’s favorite collars, leashes, or toys. You might also want to plant flowers or a tree to commemorate your pet and provide a place of remembrance for the children to visit. Create a special tribute to your pet’s personality by framing a favorite photograph or commissioning a portrait. Create a viewing area by placing your pet’s remains in an urn or a casket. Decorate the viewing area with candles, flowers, and other mementos.

You can invite family members, friends, neighbors, or anyone that knew your pet well. Dog owners might like to invite acquaintances from the dog parks that their dogs loved to visit. If your pet attended daycare or stayed overnight at a sitter’s home, it might be a nice gesture to extend an invitation to anyone who was involved in your pet’s life. Animal hospitals and veterinary offices will often hold candlelight vigils to honor pets that have passed away. You might like to compile footage from any videos you took throughout the years, so you can relive all the moments that make pet ownership so wonderful. Prepare a few words or a speech to encapsulate the special relationship you shared with your pet. By holding a memorial service for your pet, you can properly work through the loss.