The death of an animal friend can be one of life's most difficult experiences. Although Western cultures have few traditions for paying last respects to departed companion animals, there are many meaningful ways to memorialize your beloved pet.
How can I honor the memory of my pet?
Hold a memorial service at a pet cemetery, in your backyard, or in a place that was special to your animal companion.
Add an inscription to your pet's gravestone.
Find a special urn for your pet's ashes.
Create a living memorial by planting a tree, bush, or flower bed in your yard.
Contact a pet cemetery or community park to see if you can sponsor a bench or tree affixed with an acknowledgment plaque memorializing your pet.
Frame a photo of your pet and put it in a special place.
Keep your pet's favorite toy, collar, blanket, or bowl as a symbol of your pet.
Create a scrapbook or collage with photos and other reminders of your pet.
Volunteer at an animal shelter to help other pets.
Participate in on-line memorials and candle-lighting ceremonies.
Write a poem or story about your pet or write a letter to him.
Offer a memorial scholarship at a veterinary school.
When the time is right, adopt another pet from your local animal shelter or humane society.
What is National Pet Memorial Day? Recognizing the importance of remembering our cherished pets, the International Association of Pet Cemeteries (IAPC) has designated the second Sunday in September as National Pet Memorial Day. Most pet cemeteries observe this day with special ceremonies, open houses, and other events. You can reach IAPC at 13 Cemetery Lane, Box 163, Ellenburg Depot, NY 12935; 800-952-5541.
Where can I make a donation in my pet's name? An especially meaningful way for some pet owners to honor their departed animal friends is to give a donation in their pet's name to a humane society or other animal protection organization, most of which run special programs that need financial support. Depending on the organization, funds may be used to promote animal care, animal cruelty prevention, humane education, and spaying or neutering. Most local organizations will list the donor and pet in the memorial section of their newsletter. The HSUS offers the Kindred Spirits Memorial Program as a way to memorialize your pet with a lasting to tribute helping all animals.
Your beloved pet will always have a special place in your heart, no matter how you choose to remember your departed companion.