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Pet Memorial Rituals

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Pet Memorial Rituals and Remembrances

Rituals are a way to mark significant occasions of sadness or celebration. Some people prefer informal gestures, and others may prefer something more formal like a memorial service.  Some people like to memorialize their pet privately, and some people prefer sharing the experience with friends or family.  Rituals can be done immediately or long after the death.  There is no right or wrong way.  Feel free to decide what is right for you.  The informal ideas that are noted below are followed by ideas for a memorial service.

Informal Ritual and Remembrance Ideas 

          Create a photo album or collage dedicated to your pet

          Engage an artist to paint a portrait of your pet from a photo

          Set aside a special area or shelf with your pet’s special items, such as tags, collar, photos and/or urn.

          Purchase a memento with your pet’s name engraved.

          Light a candle near your pet’s picture

          Plant a flower or tree in memory of your beloved companion.

          Recite a reading in your pet’s honor or write a poem or song

          Scatter ashes in a meaningful location


Sample Pet Loss Memorial Service

by Karen Litzinger, author of Heal Your Heart: Coping with the Loss of a Pet

(Karen is available to facilitate tailored Memorial Services in the Pittsburgh area.)


Light a Candle: During this time of grief, we light a candle in memory of _______.  May the flame remind us of the warmth and love we feel for our special companion.  May the light help guide our beloved pet to a place of peace and love.  May the power of the flame give us strength on our healing journey as the sadness is gradually replaced by warm memories.

Opening Words:  We are gathered today to acknowledge the death of  ______ who was ______’s special companion for (many) years and to honor the unique role that animals play in our lives. Not everyone understands the extent that a loss of a pet can affect us, and sometimes we can be surprised ourselves. Gathering for a memorial ceremony during this loss helps us to acknowledge its significance and to bring to light that the healing may take time as with any loss.

Memories and Celebration: Although we are saddened by the loss of (name) this is also an occasion to remember and celebrate his/her life and the special role that animals play in our lives. You are invited to share a memory of _________ or perhaps your own pet.  It might be a special way you played, a particular nickname, or something that you learned from your dear companion.

Optional Blessing: In addition to honoring _________’s life, we are here to acknowledge his/her passing from this earth. Death is a part of life’s cycle even though it is hard to it understand intellectually or emotionally.  We ask the Spirit of Life to be with us and usher ____ into the spirit world so that she can rest in peace.

We’ll now bless ______’s personal belongings with the purifying herb of sage.  Sage has been used since ancient times for healing especially in the Native American tradition.  By blessing _________’s belongings we ask for his/her energy to move from this world to a place of peace.  Some people call this heaven and some people think the spirit of the special being lives on in nature or in our hearts (adapt as needed to your personal spirituality).

Optional Reading or Song: Perhaps you would like to share a reading or song in honor of your animal. It may be something you have created or something from a book or a web site.  Petloss.com has a comprehensive listing of pet loss poems.

Closing:  There is a right time for everything. A time to laugh, a time to cry. A time to be born a time to die (Ecclesiastes)

©2009, Karen Litzinger, Pittsburgh, PA. Permission granted to reprint the material in this section in hard copy so long as the text, by-line, and this entire statement are not changed.  You may link to this site, but please do not copy this material directly to your site. Karen Litzinger, MA, is author of Heal Your Heart: Coping with the Loss of a Pet, a CD that provides an experiential journey of healing.  More information is at HealFromPetLoss.com

Heal from Pet Loss, publisher of Heal Your Heart: Coping with the Loss of a Pet
7625 West Hutchinson Street * Pittsburgh * PA * USA * 15218
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