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National Pet Memorial Day


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Is it appropriate for people to memorialize a cherished companion animal?

Some may think that conducting rituals, funerals or memorial services for dead animals -- and setting aside special days to remember them -- is a frivolous waste of time and money, and those who engage in such practices must be eccentric and strange.

But the fact is that elaborate funeral arrangements and lasting memorials have been used to honor beloved departed pets for thousands of years. Whether for animals or humans, death ceremonies and rituals help meet our needs to support one another in grief, acknowledge the important role our loved ones played in our lives, honor the memory of our departed companions, and bring meaning to our loss.

The International Association of Pet Cemeteries has designated the second Sunday of September as National Pet Memorial Day. As you think about paying tribute to your animal companion on that special day, feel free to summon up your memories – they’ll comfort you and help you keep your animal’s love and presence in your heart. You can think of what was special about your pet, and reminisce with family members or others who knew your friend. Look over old snapshots. Talk about the funny or silly (or annoying!) habits your pet had. Such reflections will help you plan your own unique ceremony of remembrance, and will help you express and work through your grief as well. You can make a special place in your home, yard or workplace that acknowledges and honors your companion’s life – a place where you can go (or be) and remember your lost friend. Don’t be afraid to be creative. The death of your pet is a natural event and an occasion for the honest expression of your feelings and your values.

You can honor your pet’s memory in whatever way you find meaningful, and I hope you’ll use this space to share with all of us some of the creative and individual ways you plan to celebrate National Pet Memorial Day this year.

To learn how two very special men (one a beloved movie actor, the other, my own father) chose to remember their beloved dogs, see my article, Memorializing a Cherished Pet.

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I think having a special day for our departed pets is a wonderful idea. I just lost my little toy poodle, Midgy, a month ago, and the grief I feel is sometimes nearly intolerable. I'm soooo glad I found your site.....just joined today, and I hope that I'll find the help I need to get past the loss of my precious pet....THANK YOU!!!

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