There are roughly 5.9 million dogs and 7.9 million cats in Canada. More than one-third of households in the Great White North have either a cat or a dog as a part of their family.
Losing a pet can be an incredibly painful experience, as you’ve lost part of your family.
It can be an important part of the grieving and healing process to hold a ceremony in honour of your pet. This can help to offer a sense of closure to you and your family.
Are you wondering how to plan a pet memorial service? Let’s take a look at what you need to know.
Consider Different Pet Memorial Ideas
Holding a cat or dog memorial service can be a wonderful way to say goodbye to your four-legged friend. There are no wrong answers when it comes to honouring the memory of your pets. Finding pet memorial ideas that feel right to you and your family is what’s most important.
Plant a Tree in Their Memory
A beautiful way to forever remember the impact that your pet had on your life is by planting a tree. Through the act of creating new life to honour a life that has past, many find planting a memorial tree to be a healing act. You can either plant the tree as a part of the service or separately, depending on what feels right to you.
Hold a Candle-Lighting Ceremony
If you are looking for a simple, symbolic gesture you can make in remembrance of your pet, consider having a candle-lighting ceremony. You can either have readings, poems, or prayers read during this time or it can be done in silence. Sometimes performing a ritual like this that is so steeped in history can be an important part of the healing process.
Do a Symbolic Release
Another ceremony idea for a dog or cat memorial service is to do a symbolic release. This might mean releasing biodegradable lanterns, biodegradable balloons, or live butterflies. This cathartic act is a wonderful way to symbolise the freeing your pet’s spirit.
Participate in a Private Memorial Ritual
As mentioned earlier, there isn’t a right or wrong way to mourn the loss of your pet. You and your pet had a unique relationship, and only you can determine how best to grieve this loss. Some people might feel more comfortable participating in a more private memorial ritual.
Maybe you want to scatter your pet’s ashes in their favourite hiking spot. Taking a hike in the memory of your best friend can be an opportunity to mourn and reflect on the memories you’ve shared together.
It’s also fairly popular for people to get tattoos to commemorate the passing of their furry friend.
Share Memories With Loved Ones
It’s likely that you weren’t the only one who felt deeply connected to your pet. It can be a nice experience to invite your friends and family over for a memorial service, where they can bring photos to help create a memory board. During this time, you can all take turns sharing the memories you have of the pet that’s passed on.
Put Together a Slideshow
If you are holding a cat or dog funeral where you’re inviting others, you might consider putting together a slideshow. This is a wonderful way to remember the vibrant life that they lived.
Create a Dedicated Memorial Space
Our pets are a part of our families, and when they pass we never want to forget them. Creating a dedicated memorial space can be a wonderful way to do that.
Maybe you’ll want to design a shelf on your bookshelf just for photos of your pet. You could also purchase a pet memorial stone that can be placed in your garden or in your home.
Explore Your Options For Cremation and Burial
After the death of your pet, you have to make a decision fairly quickly about whether you are going to bury them or have them cremated. This is because many vets offices don’t have the space or means to store your pet’s body for very long. For this reason, it can be a good idea to consider which option you prefer before your pet has passed away.
There are two different options when it comes to pet cremation. You can either opt for individual cremation or communal cremation.
With individual cremation, you are able to receive the ashes of your pet because they are cremated on their own. This is the more expensive of the two options but can be worth it if it’s important for you to have the ashes of your pet. Depending on where you live and how big your animal is, this usually costs somewhere between $150 and $300.
Communal cremations are when several animals are cremated at the same time. This means that you won’t be able to receive the ashes of your pet. This isn’t as expensive as individual cremation, costing between $25 and $150 depending on where you are and the size of your animal.
If you do choose to individually cremate your pet and receive their ashes back, you might want to scatter their ashes. Think about a location that means a lot to you or that your pet particularly loved. You might also choose to keep the ashes in an urn in your home.
If you’d rather bury your pet than cremate them, you have a number of different options. You can choose to bury your pet in a pet cemetery or you can bury them in your own backyard.
The more affordable option is definitely burying your pet at home. This isn’t legal in all places, though, so you’ll have to get in touch with your local government. It’s possible that you will require a permit or that this is prohibited on private land in your area.
If you’re going to bury your pet in your backyard, you also want to consider if you will ever move out of your house. If you aren’t planning on staying in your current location forever, you might find it hard to leave your pet’s resting place behind.
If you are going to bury your pet at home, you’ll want to make sure you bury them at least three feet deep. You’ll also want to use a cardboard or biodegradable wood casket for their burial. You can either use a natural landmark like a tree or a boulder as a grave marker or have a headstone made.
Burying your pet in a pet cemetery can be quite a bit more expensive. To purchase a burial plot in a pet cemetery, it will typically cost somewhere between $400 and $600. Caskets can also be pretty pricey, ranging from $50 to $500.
Depending on how intricate of a gravestone you’d like, the cost of a gravestone can range between a few hundred dollars and a few thousand dollars.
Choosing a pet cemetery can make a lot of sense if you are a renter or if you don’t think you’ll live in your current home forever. This way, you’ll always be able to visit your pet whenever you please.
Build a Guest List
There is a high likelihood that your friends and family are also mourning the loss of your pet. Our pets are a part of our family, and they touch many lives during their time on earth. If it seems appropriate to extend the mourning and healing process beyond your household, consider inviting those who loved your pet over to participate in the pet funeral.
Set Up a Viewing Table
If you are having a cat or dog funeral, you might consider setting up a viewing table. This can include mementoes and photos of your pet, including tags, favourite toys, and collars. You can also display the ashes in an urn if you chose to cremate your pet.
Select Prayers, Readings, or Poems For the Service
When planning a memorial service for your pet, you might think about including some poems, readings, or prayers. Sometimes it can be difficult to put words to the extreme emotions you’re experiencing while you’re mourning. Finding existing writings that capture the way you feel can be a wonderful way to memorialize the pet you’ve lost.
A Pet Memorial Service Can Help You Remember Your Beloved Pet and Heal From the Loss
Your pet has been there with you through so much. It can be absolutely devastating to lose a pet, as many of us view our pets as members of our family. Holding a pet memorial service can be a wonderful way to honour the life of your pet as well as begin your own journey of healing.
Do you want to commemorate the life of your pet with a memorial stone? If so, take a look at our 100% natural granite pet memorials here.