This Sunday marks World Pet Memorial Day. This is a time to reflect on, remember, and celebrate the lives of the pets we have lost.
The loss of a pet can be just as, or even more difficult, than the loss of a human loved one. Pets are often our best friends and deepest confidantes. We know we can always count on them to be there when we need them.
As with every living being, there comes a time to say goodbye. Any good-bye can bring intense and sometimes unexpected grief, even with a pet. For a child, the loss of a pet is often the first experience of death. Showing children how to remember and honor their pet in positive, loving ways prepares them to do the same for the inevitable loss of human loved ones.
Whether you lost your pet recently, or years ago, take a moment this Sunday to remember your pet.
Photos. Spend some time making a scrapbook or collage of funny, cute, and silly photos of your pet! You can include pictures of your pet when he was a puppy or kitten or create a photo “journey” starting from the time your pet was just a tiny fluffball or from his “gotcha date”. If your puppy attended obedience classes, be sure to include the certificates as well as awards photos.
Stories. Laugh about the silly things your pet used to do. Did your cat always curl up in the clean laundry? Did your dog bark at animals on the TV? Encourage everyone in the family to tell their favorite story. Write these stories down so you can share them later when the memories aren’t as fresh.
Living memorials. Plant a tree or shrub to memorialize your pet. Every time you see it, it will bring the memory of your beloved pet. If you don’t have the space to plant a tree or shrub, memorial plantings are available in some city parks or public greenspaces. If you live in apartment, consider a small citrus tree to brighten your living room!
Visit your pet’s burial site. Visit your pet’s burial site and make the site special by adding a grave marker or plants if the cemetery allows it.
Social media. Share pictures or stories. Sharing a favorite memory or a story from the day you brought your pet home is a great way to remember and share the love of your pet.
Pet tags. Make a piece of jewelry from your pet’s ID tags or municipal license tags.
Donate. Consider making a donation in your pet’s name to a charitable organization (such as humane society, rescue organization, or foundation) that aids those who struggle to pay for veterinary care.
However you decide to remember your pet on World Pet Memorial Day, take some time, even for just a minute. Remembering our pets can be difficult, but it can be a beautiful tribute. Our pets will always have a special place in our hearts.