Established more than 40 years ago, National Pet Memorial Day is a time to look back and honor the companionship and love of our dear departed pets. It is held the second Sunday in September. This year it takes place on September 11, a day of great mourning for our nation.
Preparing for the Loss
Losing a pet is one of the most emotional challenges a dedicated animal lover will ever experience. The hardest decision will be whether it’s time for euthanasia. And then what to do with our beloved pet’s last remains. If you’ve decided you would like to create a memorial for your dog, planning ahead will help alleviate more stress at a time we are most distraught.
About 30% of pet owners choose home burial, while about 70% choosing cremation. If cremation is your preference, you’ll want to ensure your pet is handled with honor and respect by a reputable crematorium and that the remains you receive back are indeed your pet. There are a few steps you can take ahead of time:
- Call a few of the largest local clinics and find out what crematory they use. Also do some online research to find the largest crematories in your area.
- Visit the crematory. Cremations can be communal or private, which should mean only one body at a time in the cremation chamber. Some crematories will offer viewings, memorial services or even allow you to witness the cremation if you want to be absolutely sure the remains are those of your pet.
- If your dog will be euthanized at home by a visiting veterinarian, make arrangements for transporting the deceased pet to the crematorium. You may need to bring him back to the vet’s office or to the crematorium, or they may offer pickup services.
- Decide what happens next. The remains can be returned to your vet, delivered to you at home via a delivery service or you can pick them up. You may choose to bury the urn at home or in a pet cemetery, or scatter the ashes in your dog’s favorite romping spot.
Honoring the Memories
Once time has passed, you might wish to honor the cherished memories of your barking buddy or purring pal. Some ideas to consider:
- Plant a memorial tree or dedicate a flower bed in your garden as a loving way to keep the memory of your late pet alive for generations to come.
- Keep a scrapbook filled with pictures and mementos of special moments with your pet in the living room. As moments of sadness come upon you, flip through the scrapbook to turn your sadness into smiles.
- Give the gift of your time as a volunteer at your local animal shelter. It will help to fill the lonely hours and fill your heart knowing you brought joy to another animal.
- Make a donation of much-needed items or money to an animal shelter or rescue organization. The generosity will lighten your sorrow and help other animals in need.
- Welcome another furry family member into your heart and home. The love you have for your deceased pet will not be replaced by another animal, but you’ll realize that your heart has expanded over the years thanks to the love of your late pet.
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