Some family members are not people……
For many people, the attachments they form to the animals in their lives become just as important as those they have to people. These bonds can grow very deep as years of loving companionship between human and animal go by.
Non-animal lovers sometimes do not understand this. So when they see an attached owner in real grief after the death of a beloved pet, they may not be very supportive.
But if you are a true animal lover, you will recognize that your relationships with your pets indeed are important enough to honor with a ceremony.
A pet ceremony can be helpful when a new pet joins the household, or when a beloved pet has died.
I am available to consult with you about such ceremonies to whatever degree you might choose. Perhaps you just want to talk with me about ideas; perhaps to write a ceremony that you will conduct yourself; or perhaps, you want me to both write the ceremony and conduct it at your home. All of these options are possible.
New Pet Ceremonies:
Adopting a new pet, and falling in love with that new pet, are joyful experiences. A small gathering of family members and close friends to name and welcome the new pet can be very meaningful. The choosing of a name for the new pet probably has great significance; either because the name itself does, or because of the process the family might have used to allow the children to participate in the meaning.
If children are a part of the family, highlighting their new responsibilities toward the new addition can add significance to the promises they might have made to their parents. Children can step forward and state publicly what they are committing to contribute to the care of the animal.
Pet Funerals and Memorials:
The loss of a beloved pet triggers real grief. And real grief needs to be recognized, expressed, and supported. This is what a pet funeral or memorial can provide for the grieving owner. Honoring the importance of that animal to the owner and/or family, sharing stories about good times with the pet, and participating in the saying “good-bye” with the support of family and friends can be very helpful.
For children, important lessons about how to handle loss and sadness can be taught without the need for any “lectures”. The experience in participating in planning the ceremony and being active in the entire process not only honors their feelings but teaches important points about how to cope with future losses. Some pet burial facilities have memorial ceremonies once a year to bring together people whose pets have been buried at that location. These, too, can be powerful and helpful in incorporating loss into ongoing life and celebrating what the pet contributed to the life of the owner.
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