Tips on Planning a Pet Funeral
Losing a pet can be one of the hardest experiences a person goes through. Your faithful, loving companion is no longer around, and you feel like you have just lost your best friend and a member of your family. One of the best ways to honor your pet’s memory and what it meant to you is by hosting a pet funeral. A pet funeral can also give you some closure and help you during your grieving process.
Planning a Pet Funeral
Before you start planning the pet funeral, you first need to decide which funeral service you want for your pet: cremation, burial or aquamation. Once you determine this, then you can start making plans.
Holding a pet funeral can have the same meaning as a human funeral; it’s a time to say goodbye and cherish your loved one in a cathartic manner. Planning your pet’s funeral can help you heal, especially if your family is involved.
Keep in mind that the funeral is meant to honor your pet while helping you say goodbye and accept your pet’s passing. Don’t plan anything that doesn’t feel right or comfortable to you. This means you can make the funeral as elaborate or simple as you want. You can also determine if you want the pet funeral to be serious and somber or lighthearted and relaxed.
Figure out where you want to hold the pet funeral. Some pet aftercare services, like Gentle Pet Crossing, offer spaces to host per funerals.
If you are doing a burial, you could host the funeral at the burial site, whether it’s at your home or a pet cemetery. For those choosing cremation or aquamation, you have several options. You can host the funeral at your home. If you were planning on scattering the ashes, have the funeral there.
This isn’t always possible but if you can, choose a location that was special to your pet. For example, if your cat had a favorite windowsill or your dog had a favorite tree, hold the pet funeral there.
Who to Invite
Another detail to consider is the guest list. If your pet was popular with your neighbors, friends and family, consider inviting them so they can pay their respects, too. You could also invite your veterinarian, especially if they were involved with any euthanasia process.
On the other hand, some people prefer having small gatherings with only the immediate family. Don’t feel like you need to invite people, especially if they won’t honor your pet’s memory. This is your time to grieve and remember your pet, so do what feels best.
Once you decide on the location, it’s time to start planning what will happen at the pet funeral. This can be whatever you want that you feel will honor your pet best.
For burials, you can have a casket and flowers, as well as an engraved headstone. If you chose cremation or aquamation, set up a small shrine and place your pet’s ashes there. Make sure you have a nice urn or cremation jewelry.
You can decorate the viewing area with pictures or some of your pet’s toys and blankets. Light candles and scatter them all over. If possible, create a picture or video slideshow and play it.
What to Say at a Pet Funeral
Whether you choose a burial, a scattering of the ashes or a funeral at home, you’ll probably want to say something about your pet. Make sure you give yourself and others a chance to say goodbye.
Write a eulogy describing your favorite memories with your pet, including the first time it came home. Read a poem or sing a song. You could also say a prayer, depending on your religious beliefs.
If you have children, let them do something creative, like write a letter or draw pictures; creativity can be a good outlet for emotions, especially grief.
Unique Alternatives to a Pet Funeral
If you are looking for a creative way to honor your pet other than a pet funeral, there are tons of options.
- Create a scrapbook or a shadowbox with your pet’s favorite toys and collar
- Customize a stuffed animal that looks exactly like your pet
- Schedule a butterfly release
- Volunteer or donate money in your pet’s name at a local animal shelter
- Write an obituary and publish it in your local newspaper
- You could plant a tree to memorialize your pet
Make Sure You Grieve
No matter what pet funeral you plan, make sure you are giving yourself the time to properly grieve and cope with your pet’s passing. If you have children, help them handle their emotions properly so they come to terms with the loss of your pet. Never feel the need to rush your grief; after all, you are mourning the loss of a furry family member.