Have you ever considered organizing and planning a meaningful funeral for your pet after they pass? Believe it or not, pet funerals have been a tradition for a very long time, even dating back to various ancient civilizations. Our pets are often adopted into our families as official members, and losing them hurts just as bad as losing friends or family members.
If your fur baby recently passed, do not hesitate to plan a memorial service for them. Our pets devote their entire lives to loving us; the least we can do is honor them with a service. This can be a difficult time; use the guide below to help you plan this memorial.
Decide Between Burial or Cremation
When your furry friend passes away, you have two options for what you can do with their body. You can either decide on cremation or burial.
If you choose cremation and want the ashes returned to you, you need to request an individual cremation to avoid your pet’s ashes mixing with another pet. If you plan to use the ashes for the funeral service, ensure you give yourself enough time beforehand to cremate your pet.
If you prefer a burial, you must decide where you plan to bury your pet. You have options, including pet cemeteries, home burials, or other designated places. Check with your city’s ordinances and bylaws before burying a pet to guarantee you’re doing it legally.
Choose a Place for the Service
Do you have an idea or plan for where you want the service to be held? Eternity Pet Memorial has a pet funeral home you could utilize, or you could choose a different location, such as your own backyard or a park. However, if you’re selecting a semi-public place for this service, get permission first to avoid getting in trouble with your city. We recommend choosing a funeral home if you do not have the time or emotional capacity to plan the funeral—the staff at the home will offer help along the way to ease your burden.
Make a Guest List
You can’t plan a meaningful funeral for your pet without inviting their favorite friends and family to attend. Plus, having these people there will give you the love and support you need to overcome this difficult time. Someone you might be forgetting from this list is the veterinarian staff who helped your pet throughout their life; they have invested a lot of time and love into your pet, too, and they would likely appreciate an invite to their memorial service.
Consider the lives your pet touched throughout their time here on earth. Did they have a dog walker? Maybe your pet loved your neighbor, or perhaps you had a friend who brought their pet over for playdates. These individuals could all be grieving the loss of a friend, too; don’t forget to invite them to the service!
Ideas for the Service
Not every funeral service will look the same. The activities and ceremonies you can plan for this memorial are endless. Use the list below to plan the perfect service for your late fur companion.
Read Blessings or Prayers
If you’re religious, you could include a blessing or opening prayer for the service. Opening the service with a blessing or prayer can help set your intentions for the memorial by offering comforting words. If you’re not religious, you could say a few kind words before moving on to the other suggestions on this list.
Light a Candle
Candle lighting is also a common activity done at funerals. People often share a moment of silence at these services to reflect on the time they had with the loved one or pet. Having everyone in attendance light a candle provides the best time for reflection. To make this ceremony even more special, consider making the candles the color of your late pet. For example, a brown and white dog would have brown and white candles.
Play a Slideshow of Photos and Videos
When you make the guest list, you could also ask these individuals if they have any favorite photos or videos of your pet. Compile these photos from family and friends and arrange them into a slideshow you can display at the funeral service. This is a fantastic way to remember your pet and cherish the memories they made with everyone.
Share Poems and Readings
Another component of a funeral service is reading passages or poems from a book. Plenty of poems have been written about fur babies—one of the most popular being The Rainbow Bridge by Paul C. Dahm. Another one of our favorites is by an unknown author titled Treasured Friend. Sometimes we, as humans, cannot put our thoughts and feelings into words when our emotions are going haywire; reading beautiful poems and other passages can help ease the pain you may be feeling.
At some point during the funeral, people in attendance might find it comforting to share their most precious memories of your pet. This part of the service would pair well with the slideshow of photos or videos. Because not everyone can speak on your pet’s behalf, consider asking guests to write their memories on a card that you can keep forever and look back on when you’re having a tough day.
Wrap Up the Funeral With Closing Thoughts
Once you’re nearing the end of the service, close it out with a few thoughts and kind words. Usually, this includes a final goodbye to the pet before you place them in their final resting spot, whether that be a burial or placing an urn in your home. Other activities that are great for saying goodbye could be releasing lanterns to symbolize sending your pet onto their next adventure.
While this service will be challenging to put together and speak at, it can provide the closure you and everyone else need to make their final farewell to your pet. A funeral is a beautiful way to celebrate the life you had together. Your furry friend may not be with you physically anymore, but their paw prints left permanent indentations on your heart. What will you do for your pet’s funeral?