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Lost Your Beloved Pet? How to Plan a Service

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 funeral service.

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