26 Sep 2017
Plan your pet's memorial service: Funeral and burial prep

Plan your pet's memorial service: Funeral and burial prep

If you’re like me – goodness, if you’re like most people who love their pets – you don’t want to think about the day that they will leave you. It can be heartbreaking to imagine a time when he or she is no longer in your life. Planning for your pet’s funeral may be the last thing you want to do. Yet, if you know that the time is near, you may find that planning a memorial service for your animal companion ahead of time is an extremely wise thing to do.

As emotionally draining as this challenge may seem, there are benefits to facing the inevitable ahead of time - both for your mental health and your physical wellbeing. I know for me that involved doing some research and planning in the final months of Tia's life so that I would be prepared when she decided to go. As I worked through the process, I discovered that, as difficult as it was, there were some of the benefits of pre-planning a pet’s funeral.

Get the Details Right

I recommend that, when practical, you plan the funeral service beforehand to give you the time you need to have the pieces in place to make it meaningful and healing. Suffice it to say that without the help of a spiritual guide who is sensitive to your need to memorialize your pet, it can be a challenge for anyone to get all the details right. This is especially true when you’re in the throws of grief following your pet’s death. It's hard to think straight, nevermind to try to plan a mindful sending off ceremony. Finding an animal-oriented, appropriate funeral program plan online was a real pain when I started to do the research. There just weren’t that many resources available for those wishing to plan a pet memorial. So I created some of my own - more on these in a moment! Nevertheless, regardles of whether you write your own funeral plan as I did or look for a prepared one online like the ones we now provide, doing the legwork before that awful day will ensure your send-off is just as you want it and not simply thrown together. 

Give Yourself Time

Most people do not receive time off from work in order to mourn the loss of a pet. That means if you wait until that horrible day comes, you may find yourself without sufficient time to plan something sufficient for the gravity of losing your animal companion. Take the time now to make funeral preparations to ensure you have the hours you need to do it the way you want it to be done.

Increase Your Options for How to Lay Your Pet to Rest

Options for how to lay your pet to rest are more limited than those available for a human. Do you want to bury your pet in a special pet cemetery? If so, which ones offer you visitatoin rights and tombstone options? Can you bury your pet in your backyard? If it's legal, do you have to abide by certain rules? Will you have your pet's remains cremated and kept at home or scattered somewhere meaningful? If so, which service providers offer the most compassionate service and hours amenable to your schedule? Do they provide urns? Pick-up and delivery services if desired?

Often your vet will recommend certain options in the immediate aftermath of a pet's death or euthanasia - but are the options they present the best ones for you? There are countless little decisions to make as you decide how to handle your pet's body. Don't limit yourself. Finding out what solutions are available to you, how much each option costs, and what's legal in your area may take some time, but it may well be worth the effort. 

Save Money

Not only will doing research ahead of time increase your options for your pet’s resting place, it may also save you money. All kinds of costs can creep into the handling of your pet's remains and buriel. As noted above, you'll likely need ot make decisions about delivery and pick-up of the body, cremation vs burial, tomb markers and urns, and more. Each choice will come at a different cost and some may be out of your budgets. What's more, the crematories and cemeteries in your area (if you even have a selection) may charge different fees. Researching ahead of time will allow you to compare to find the solution that fits within your budget and your long-term goals.

Ease the Emotional Burden

After the death of your pet, you will be under enormous emotional stress and even physical exhaustion. If you have all of your affairs in order for your pet’s funeral before he or she passes away, you can lower the emotional strain on you and other family members. This will allow you to enter into the fullness of the life change in a holistic and mindful way which will aid in healing and emotional stability. 

Additionally, the act of planning your pet’s funeral may be therapeutic for you. Doing the work to create a memorial plan before or following the loss of your pet may allow you to mentally and emotionally prepare for what is to come. 

Pet Memorial Service Plan Tiny Pet Memories

Where to Find Pet Memorial Service Plans

When I started to work through this prepatory process, I was seriously disappointed at the lack of resources available to people for preparing a funeral for pets. I determined then and there that I wanted to simplify the process to help others liek you create memorial plans that would promote personal healing and thoughtful reflection on the life that was lost. That’s why I've created several memorial service plans you can use to guide you through the process in a meaningful way. Our library of funeral options for pets includes the following:

In addition to the simple plans, we also offer a customizable service plan that allows you to select the readings, prayers (if appropriate), and format of your memorial service. These can be tailored to your specific spiritual preferences and are presented in a formal service program keepsake with your pet’s image and personal details.

We will be periodically adding to our memorial plan options for pets, but if you have a request for a particular approach to funeral planning, please contact us.


Images: Alina Sofia, Simeon Muller

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Health Disclaimer: I’m passionate about wellbeing and health but I’m not a medical professional, nor am I a licensed therapist. Any content you read on this site is intended for inspiration and for information only – by not means am I providing medical advice. Please consult your certified professional for personalized recommendations on the mental health or physical health ideas I write about.