When you live your life with a beloved companion animal, that animal becomes
more than just a pet. He or she truly becomes a part of your family, and
he or she will always occupy a special place in your heart. But when your
furry family member ages, becomes ill, or gets injured and passes away,
you want to memorialize his or her life.
You want to put your pet to rest properly, and you want to honor him or
her in the best way possible. If you've lost a pet, you may want to
commemorate his or her life with a funeral service.
Unlike traditional memorial services, pet services require different planning
and finesse. Below, we'll walk you through planning a service for
your beloved animal so he or she can be put to rest in a way that will
help you and your family work through this loss.
1. Prepare Your Pet for Burial
After your pet dies, you should call local funeral homes to see if they
specialize in pet preparation and funerals. While not all funeral homes
will prepare an animal's body for burial, some will. More often than
not, though, these homes offer cremation services for pets instead of
traditional preparations like embalming.
Talk to a few different funeral homes to see which one offers the preparation
service you prefer most. Ask them how long the process will take so you
can plan your service date accordingly.
2. Gather Mementos for You and for Your Pet
Before you take your pet to the funeral home for preparation, gather mementos
for you and your family members. You can collect some pet hair to preserve,
but the most popular keepsake pet owners collect is a paw print impression.
You can put these mementos in a scrapbook or find another way to use them
so you can see them daily and remember your beloved animal.
You may also want to gather items in your home to bury with your pet. You
can bury him or her with his or her favorite toys, pictures of him or
her with your family, or other similar items.
3. Select the Casket or Urn
Once your pet has been prepared for burial, you'll want to choose the
perfect casket or urn to bury him or her in. If your chosen funeral home
offers traditional burial services, you can choose a casket. Pick something
small and made from materials you think suit your pet. Note that even
if the casket is small in size, more extravagant materials will make the
casket more expensive.
If your chosen funeral home only offers cremation services, pick an urn
instead of a casket, again keeping in mind that luxurious materials will
make urns more costly.
4. Choose the Burial Site
If you want to bury your pet in your backyard, you'll need to check
with your city's leadership to see if pet burials are allowed on private
property. You can also check with local cemeteries to see if pets can
be buried there as well.
Most cities will often have specific cemeteries set aside for pet burials,
so check with your city to see if there is one close by. A funeral home
may also have suggestions for you.
5. Create Opening Words for the Service
To honor your pet, you may want to create a small speech to open up the
ceremony. You can start by addressing your guests and letting them know
just how loved your pet was. You can mention that you want to honor the
special role your pet played in your family's life.
A small speech will gather your guest's attention and let them know
that the service is about to begin.
6. Praise Your Pet
After the opening has been given, you or another family member will want
to offer a eulogy to commemorate your beloved animal. Focus on praising
your pet. Talk about good memories, funny moments, or unique experiences
you and your family had with this precious companion.
As you focus on the love you shared with this beloved creature, you can
more fully appreciate his or her presence in your life. And, focusing
on the good moments can help you work through this loss more easily.
7. Light a Candle in Honor of Your Companion
Once you and your family members have finished making remarks, you and
your guests can light a candle to honor your pet. After all the candles
have been lit, ask for a moment of silence. Use this time to further reflect
on the good times you shared with your pet and to honor his or her life.
If you are religious, you can even offer a prayer during the candle lighting.
8. Close the Ceremony
You can close the ceremony however you prefer. You can thank your guests
for attending the service, offer up a final few words on behalf of your
family and pet, or say anything to indicate that the ceremony has ended.
After the closing remarks, you can proceed with the burial. If you've
chosen family members or friends to assist you, have them come forward
at this time.
Losing a pet is a difficult and emotional time, but you still have ways
to remember and honor your pet after his or her passing. Turn to Elmwood
Caskets if you need to prepare your pet for burial and choose an urn for
the ceremony. We'll make this process as easy as possible so you can
spend more time focusing on the important, memorable details of your pet's