Our pets are more than just animals; they are essential members of our families. And saying goodbye to a beloved dog or cat can be just as hard or sometimes more difficult than losing a friend or relative.
That is why, more than 40 years ago, the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories designated the second Sunday of every September as National Pet Memorial Day. Every year, pet families around the world celebrate this special day to remember and honor their departed furry loved ones. Even though the passing of a pet is a natural part of life, their memories never leave us. And it’s the memories, photos, videos, and mementos we have that comfort us when they are gone.
Saying Goodbye is Never Easy
At The COVE, we work with sick and injured animals every day, but it never gets easier to say goodbye to a patient we’ve been caring for or to see our clients lose a furry loved one. We send sympathy cards signed by the staff to express our condolences, but we know it’s small comfort to someone who’s lost a dear companion and family member. Additionally, The COVE supports Hampton Roads Pet Loss Partnership, a non-profit organization with a mission to provide emotional support for those who are grieving the loss of a pet.
How to Pay Tribute to Your Pet
Here are six simple ways you can remember your beloved furry friend, not only on Pet Memorial Day but every day.
1. Have a ceremony
A burial or memorial ceremony can help provide some closure. You can bury some of your pet’s favorite toys and belongings. Invite friends and family to share some favorite memories and stories. You can even attend a community memorial here in Hampton Roads.
2. Create a garden stone
Garden stones are a lovely way to remember your pet in their favorite place, outside. Stones can be engraved with your pet’s name, or you can create your own. Place the special memento in a spot your pet loved to visit to make it extra meaningful and personal.
3. Plant a tree
This is a great way to honor your pet’s memory, especially if your furball loved the outdoors and liked to “water” plants during their walks. Planting a tree helps the environment and is a beautiful reminder that life is beautiful. If you have children, include them in the process of planting and watching the memorial tree grow.
4. Create a photo album
It can be tough to look at photos of your pet immediately after they’ve passed away. When you are ready, going through pictures and remembering all the funny, silly, and loving moments can provide comfort for years to come.
5. Make a donation
Another way you can help honor your pet is by making a charitable donation in their name to an organization that helps animals from local animal shelters or national non-profits that fund veterinary research. You can search for an organization with your interests and values here.
6. When you are ready, adopt a new furry family member
While you can never replace your pet, adopting or rescuing a new one can help fill a void in your heart. When the time is right, adding a new furry family member may be a wonderful way to honor your pet. Not only do you give an animal in need a forever home, but you also get to start a journey with a new best friend. And, as a pet owner, you know how beautiful life can be with a pet by your side!
If you are currently experiencing the loss of a pet and need someone to talk to, there are several nationwide and local grief support hotlines you can call day or night.
How Do YOU Remember Your Pet?
We would love to hear how you are remembering your beloved pets. Share photos of your tributes and memorials on our Facebook page with #PetMemorialDay2018.