Pet Funeral Ideas, 7 Simple and Affordable Ways to Celebrate Your Pet

Pet Funeral Ideas, 7 Simple and Affordable Ways to Celebrate Your Pet

During my years running a Pet Crematorium, I realized that a number of people wanted a way to celebrate their pets lives without a large price tag, but were often at a loss on how to go about this. While I fully support and love the idea of using a pet crematorium this is not always financially possible for everyone, or it may not appeal to you to have your pet cremated.

You may choose to use a pet crematorium to cremate your pet and have the ashes returned in a simple box, which you can bury or scatter.
Or alternatively, especially with smaller pets, bury their body in your yard.

I would like to share with you seven simple, and affordable pet funeral ideas that can be used in any situation to say goodbye.

1. Write A Letter To Your Pet

I love this idea. Recently we rescued a duckling, which sadly did not live for very long. This was my young son’s first experience of death and he struggled to cope. After we had buried the duckling I asked him if he would like me to help him write a letter to the bird. We drew a picture of the duckling and then wrote a short letter. Four months on, my son still talks about this letter when he is feeling sad about the death of the duckling.

Write a letter to say goodbye to your pet.

This is not only a way to help young children cope with the loss of a pet. Writing a letter, pouring your heart out, or just remembering the good times, is an amazing way to honour your pet.

You can keep your letter, or bury it with your pet, this is your choice, but I believe this is an easy and therapeutic way to say goodbye.

2. Draw a Picture

If you are artistic, or know someone who is, having a picture drawn of your pet is a lovely way to celebrate them. Again if you keep the picture, or bury it with your pet, this is a special way to honour them from this world to the next.

You could have a copy made of the drawing and add this to the time capsule I talk about in point 6, or bury it with your pet. The original drawing could be framed and hung up or added to your pets shrine if you are going to set one up.

3. Have a Small Wake

I have attended a number of wakes during my time in the pet funeral industry. A small gathering of close family and/or friends will keep it simple and affordable.

Most people are happy to bring a plate to share. Your guests could be asked to chat about their favourite memory of your pet.

Or, they could share a letter, photo, drawing, or just be there for you.

Ask someone to take photos of the wake for you, as this would be a special memory to look back on as the years go by.

4. Set Up A Shrine

Setting up a small shrine for your pet is another option to set up for a funeral and to keep afterwards if you wish to. The shrine could be set up inside, or outside where your pet is buried.

The shrine could include your pets collar, blanket, food bowl, favourite toy. Some photos, a letter if you have done one, a scented candle. There are a number of ideas, and it does not have to be elaborate or cost money.

5. Keepsakes

Before your pet is buried you could take a paw print, or a lock of fur, or a feather if you had a bird.

Your pets paw print could go on a lovely card and then ask family and friends to write a comment or fond memory of your pet on the card. You can also add any other details to the card, such as your pets name, date of birth, and favourite toys.

It would be lovely to have the comments and memories read out at the funeral.

6. Time Capsule

Get family and friends to add stories, letters, photos, and keepsakes to a time capsule. This could be a bottle, tin, or any waterproof container. I have found that young children and teenagers benefit emotionally and respond well to the idea of a time capsule. Encourage every family member, to add something that they feel is representative of their relationship with the pet.

Bury the time capsule with your pet. Alternatively bury it in a different location, and this could then be added to, as the years pass and you may have more pets.

7. Make A Grave and Tombstone

Involving family members, especially children, in setting up a grave and tombstone for your pet is an exceptionally special way to say goodbye.

The grave and tombstone does not have to be elaborate. It could be as simple as planting a flower or tree over the grave.

Two pieces of wood strapped together with your pets name carved or written on it is also a simple but effective way to mark the grave.

A few more simple ideas is to lay rocks, or pebbles over the grave site.  A bird bath over the grave is pretty, as is a simple light, or candle.

Light a candle to celebrate your pet.

 

Celebrate Your Pets Life

Recently we said goodbye to our cat and my husband, my son and I, chose to bury Felix in a personal, quiet ceremony. We wrote him a letter which we included in his box. We did not mark his grave as we decided to bury Felix under the Oak Tree on the property, joining a number of other pets who have been buried here in the past.

I go for a walk past the Oak Tree most nights and I find myself saying Hi to Felix as I go past.
I have also realised that my young son will often stop under the Oak Tree to chat to Felix.

Having a form of funeral or service to say goodbye to your pet can be a very healing experience. I hope these ideas give you some inspiration to take them and make them your own.

If you would like to share any further ideas, or personal stories with me, I would love to hear them.

I will leave you with this lovely quote by Anatole France :-

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains un-awakened.”

 

Denise

denise@petsforeverloved.com

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Preparing for the Loss of a Pet – Practical Suggestions to Consider

Previously we looked at the emotional aspect of preparing for the loss of a pet. If you have not read this blog I would suggest doing so first, as I personally believe that once you have come to terms emotionally with saying goodbye, the practical side may be slightly easier to handle.

Preparing for the loss of a pet is never under any circumstances easy to do. One of the things that I often encountered when I was running my pet crematorium business was that people, once accepting that it was time, or nearing time to say goodbye, often became polarized on how to practically take the next step. My hope is that this blog will help guide you on some of the practical issues that can be dealt with beforehand.

Visit Your Vet

If you already have a vet, now would be the time to talk with them. As mentioned in my previous blog, they will be able to help you decided if

Preparing to say goodbye to your pet

euthanasia is the right choice for your pet.

If you do not have a vet, as happened to me recently as we had just moved to another country, I would advice that you ask around for recommendations and then make an appointment to visit the vet of your choice. I walked into a new vet for the first time to have my darling Felix euthanized, and it was hard. Unfortunately they did not get his name right, so the box I brought him home in had the wrong name on, so upsetting at the time, but a genuine mistake. I could have avoided this by taking my own advice.

Questions you should be asking include:-

How do they deal with euthanasia? Some vets may offer a variety of options.

Are you able to be in the room with your pet during the euthanasia? How many people can be in the room with you?

What will the procedure cost? If necessary is there a payment plan?

If you are taking your pet home with you, how will this be dealt with by the vet?

Does vet offer any alternatives if you are not able to take your pet home and what will this cost?

While your vet can give you an opinion on whether they feel euthanasia is the right step for you, the final decision has to come from you. You will be required to sign a consent form. At your visit you may want to ask to see this form to give you a chance to read through it beforehand.

Discuss with the vet when is their quietest time at the clinic, as this may be the best time to book your appointment. Considering how you will be feeling it will be easier to exit through a quiet waiting room, and not one packed with waiting clients.

Looking at Your Finances

The cost of having a pet euthanized can vary, so knowing what you can expect to pay ahead of time is crucial if finances are tight. Most vets will try to keep the costs to a minimum. Payment plans are sometimes an option, as mentioned above discuss this with your vet.

Once your pet has been euthanized there are a number of options to consider about how to deal with their body. These can vary considerably in price, so should be discussed beforehand if you think this may be for you.

Dealing with your pets body

Knowing how you are going to deal with your pets body before the time is a practical step well worth researching.

If you chose to bury your pet in your backyard, you should check with the local authority to see if this is permitted.

You need to be aware that a hole for a pet needs to be deep to avoid it being dug up by dogs or other animals.

Your vet may offer to dispose of the body for you, ask them what they will do with your pet and the extra cost involved.

Another option is using a per crematorium. They will have a variety of plans available. I will do a future blog on choosing a crematorium and what to expect.

Making Memories

If you would like to have a paw print, or lock of fur from your pet, this needs to be decided beforehand. Most crematoriums will offer this service, as well as a number of other memorials.

Paw prints

 

If your vet is taking care of your pets body for you, and you require a paw print or lock of fur, discuss this with them beforehand.

If you are not bringing your pets body home and you want them to be cremated with a toy or blanket you will again need to chat with your vet about this and be sure to bring the item to the euthanasia appointment with you.

Returning Home

So hard to do, but these steps may help cope during this emotional time.

If you have driven to the vet, consider having someone drive you home. I cried my eyes out all the way home and had to pull off the road a few times to get my emotions under control.

You may want to ask a family member or friend to pack up your pets belongings and put them out of sight until you are capable of dealing with them. Alternatively you may ask that they dispose of them altogether for you. Do give some thought to any items you may want to retain for keepsakes, such as a collar, favourite toy or blanket and make sure this is known, and that these items are stored for you in a safe place until you are ready to deal with them.

If you are planning on burying your pet at home having the site ready, and knowing what you are going to bury them in will make this so much easier to do.

I have dealt with a number of families who have had a wake for their pet, from a small family affair to a larger gathering. If this is something you may wish to do, research your options and make the necessary arrangements beforehand. If you are using a pet crematorium they may be happy to hold your pets ashes for you if you need time to make suitable arrangements.

Moving On

Making a decision to have your pet euthanized is a blessing and a curse. Having done this recently I have realized that I was lucky to have the chance to prepare and to say goodbye, with my family and friends, to our Felix.

Having a chance to prepare for his euthanasia, and deal with the practical side as well as the emotional and financial aspects all made it easier to cope with.

It is my sincere hope that if you are going through the awful preparation involved in saying goodbye to a pet, that you have found some useful information in this blog.

Comments and feedback are always welcome.

To say goodbye for now I will leave you with this lovely quote:-

When the pet you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure.

 

Denise

denise@petsforeverloved.com

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Preparing for the Loss of a Pet – Stepping through the Emotional Minefield – A Personal Perspective

Recently I have had to say goodbye to my cat, Felix, whom we were

Felix

lucky to share 17 years with.

Sadly I had to make the decision to say goodbye to him, and this has had me thinking how hard it is to do both emotionally and practically. Today I would like to share with you a number of ways to cope emotionally when you are faced with the Hercules task of preparing for the loss of a pet.

I will cover the practical side in a future blog.

How do you know if it is time to consider euthanasia?

To answer this question I have been reflecting on my personal journey in preparing for the loss of a pet, our cat Felix.

I realized that I had been monitoring his health on an emotional level for the last year, not just his physical health. Is he still happy, does he still want company or does he spend more and more time on his own? How does he react to being left alone, is he depressed?

So what I was actually gauging was how much his emotional behavior had altered. One of the key factors that brought it home to me that I probably needed to start considering euthanasia, was when I realized he was lying in the rain, and making no effort to come in under cover. My Felix hated getting wet, he would never tolerate water on him. This made it so clear to me that it was time to stop thinking of my emotions and time to consider his.

I realized that he was probably a combination of depressed, going senile and just beyond taking care of himself.

Ask yourself what you honestly believe your pets quality of life is like? Is he or she old, sick, incontinent, unhappy, still part of your family, or spends most of his or her time sleeping and hiding away?

Accepting Your Pets Fate

Coming to the conclusion that I needed to consider euthanasia for my strong, beautiful cat was hard enough, acting on it was another matter altogether.

Hold my Hand

I did not know how to accept his fate. After all he was still eating, drinking, had his eyesight, hearing and was able to move around on his own.

It is so much easier to accept your pets fate if their physical quality of life has totally deteriorated, but it is so much harder based on their emotional quality of life.

When I started to be totally honest with myself I began to understand that his physical and emotional quality of life had actually deteriorated immensely and that I needed to accept that it was time to talk to the vet about euthanasia. I had not wanted to accept that even though he was eating, he was skin and bones. Yes he could move, but slowly and probably painfully.

If you are struggling to come to terms with your pets fate, I would suggest discussing your pets health and asking for advice from someone you trust and you know loves your pet.

Speaking to your vet to get reassurance on your decision, or to actually help you make a decision, is another way of dealing with the emotion of considering euthanasia

Preparing your family for the loss of a pet

My husband loved Felix as much as I did, but when it came time to prepare for the loss of our pet, he could not handle it at all.

I had already spent about a year broaching the subject that Felix was now 16 and would not be with us for much longer and that we really should start considering euthanasia for the future. I did this to bring the subject of euthanasia, and the emotional aspect of dealing with the potential loss of our cat out into the open. I encouraged the family to talk about euthanasia and their feelings about it.

Even though Felix was old and not such an active member of the family anymore, we made sure we took time out to spend on a one on one basis with him. In this way we made new memories with him.

Over the next year, we took photos of Felix, videos and generally shared a number of happy stories about him. I believe that when you are preparing for the loss of a pet, talking of the good times, taking photos and spending quality time with them, helps to keep your emotions lighter and gives you some inner strength to accept their fate.

I realize I was blessed to have a year or more to start coping with the impending loss of my cat. I never knew if I was going to lose him to natural causes or if we would have to euthanize him. However much time you are able to take to say goodbye to your animal, use it to build some new memories, and to spend as much time as possible with your pet, you will be grateful for this time in the future.

Talking to your vet

Dealing with the decision to euthanize your pet may be made easier if you have a discussion with your vet.

They should be able to help you decide on the physical and emotional health of your pet.

They will also be able to explain the euthanasia process in detail to you. Use this time to ask as many questions as you need to.

They should also tell you what to expect once your pet has been euthanized and find out what your plans are to deal with your pets body immediately afterwards. This is especially important if you have a large pet.

While this can be very confronting to do, I feel that knowing what to expect really does make it easier on you to decide if euthanasia is the right decision for your pet, and how you will cope emotionally.

Give family and friends a moment to say goodbye

Making the decision that it is time to farewell your pet gives you the opportunity to allow family and friends to say their goodbyes.

If you have family or friends that cannot face saying goodbye, I suggest letting them be, we all deal with emotional goodbyes and grief in our own personal ways.

When I realized that it was time to say goodbye, my husband was lucky enough to take time off work to farewell Felix.

However, my Father in Law, who loved him dearly, could not cope with this at all and to this day is unable to discuss Felix’s last hours on this earth.

Emotionally I had to dig deep to tell my 5.5 year old what was about to happen. I asked him if he wanted to say goodbye to Felix, which he did, and he asked me the details of what would happen at the vet. He said his goodbyes which was heart wrenching to watch, but so good for him to have the chance to do.

Getting through the euthanasia

Driving my cat to the vet and waiting to be called in for my appointment was probably the hardest part of the euthanasia process for me. I chose to do this on my own, I knew my husband could not cope and I was not ready to share this emotional time with a friend.

You do not have to go this alone if you do not want to, if you have someone who is able to drive you and hold your hand it could be the emotional support you need. The choice is yours. Making a decision beforehand if you have the chance is essential, it is not an easy step to take on your own, emotional support at the vet should not to be underestimated.

Having a clear understanding of what to expect will make it easier to get through, but will not make the emotion any less difficult to handle. Don’t be afraid to take the time you need to say your final goodbye. Don’t be afraid to hold your pet. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions, even if you have asked them before.

If you cannot cope with being in the room when your pet is injected this too is okay, remember only you know how to deal with your emotions.

Returning home without your pet

For me the drive home from the vet was emotionally incredibly hard and I had to pull over at least once to get myself under control. In hindsight, I probably should have had a friend drive me.

If you are able to, it may help you to take the rest of the day off work, or take time alone from your routine to reflect and mourn. Having a family member or a friend at home to share your pain, or just hold your hand is one way of dealing with coming home.

You may want to consider asking a family member or friend to tidy up your pets bowls, toys and bed if you know these will cause you too much emotion when you arrive home. They may just need to move them out of sight until you can deal with your pets belongings, or you may ask them to remove them totally. Down the line you may want a memento, so asking that your pets collar, favorite toy or something similar be kept for you is a great idea.

Having a clear idea on how you will deal with your pets body after the euthanasia, and putting a plan into action before-hand, will help ease the emotional strain tremendously. There are a number of options to consider after the euthanasia, and I will chat about these in a separate blog.

Moving Forward

It is never easy to say goodbye to our wonderful pets. I strongly believe that euthanasia can be the kindest way sometimes and I personally feel my cat had a calmer more dignified ending to his incredible life by choosing this option when I did.

I am now also grateful that I was there to hold him in my arms and talk to him during his final moments on this earth.

I have been lucky enough to be supported in this decision by all my family and friends, this has helped me in the dark times when I do occasionally question if I made the right choice.

I truly hope that sharing my personal experience with you will help you make the right choice, whatever that may be, whenever you may be faced with the sad choice of preparing for the loss of a pet.

Having covered the emotional roller coaster involved in saying goodbye, in my next blog I will cover the practical side of preparing for the loss of a pet.

If you would like to leave a comment or share your personal experience with me, I would love to hear from you.

It is never easy to say goodbye, but sometimes it is a choice we have to make, just know you are never alone.

Pet Hugs

 

Denise

 

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About Denise

Loving and remembering our pets.

Hello everyone, a warm welcome to my Pet Memorial Website.

A bit about me, I was born in Zimbabwe, but currently live in New Zealand, with my husband and young son.  We work and live on my husbands parents Kiwi Fruit Farm by day, and in my free time I try to help people by blogging on this site.

Animals have been a life long love of mine and I have been blessed with pets for as long as I can remember. Sadly we often have to farewell our fur babies and this can be traumatic and overwhelming.

We have recently said goodbye to our beloved cat, Felix, who I was lucky enough to share 17 years with. He was a feisty, independent and really loving cat.

My Journey into Helping Grieving Families

I have always had a strong desire to work within the animal industry but never figured out how to do this in a manner that felt 100% right.

A number of years ago I was unsatisfied with my job and happened upon a Pet Crematorium looking for help in my area. I applied for the position and was accepted over 300 other applicants, I knew I had found my calling.  Once I knew that what I was doing was a great fit for me, I managed to purchase the business in my area.

During this time I met so many families that trusted me to look after their animals from this world into their final resting place. We shared wonderful stories, and we shed bucket loads of tears. I never figured out how not to weep over every pet I looked after.

Sadly after a number of years I had to move to another town and leave behind what had been an incredible emotional journey and time of growth.

 

Dealing With Loss

Being trusted to look after so many peoples wonderful pets once they had left this world was an honor and taught me so much about love, our pets and moving on.

I now have the opportunity to help grieving families during this devastating time by sharing some of my insights with you and just being there for you and your fur baby.

 

Let’s Honor Our Pets

My wish for this website is to let you know that I am here to help you deal with the trauma of losing a loved pet.

I have come to realize that a number of people feel at a loss on how to move on right after they say bye to their pets and I hope to answer some questions that can be uncomfortable to ask, to share some lovely stories with you and to maybe help you with suggestions that have worked for other families whose pets I have looked after.

If you ever need a chat or have any questions, feel free to comment below and I will be more than happy to connect with you.

No longer with us, but forever in our hearts.

Denise

Pets Forever Loved

denise@petsforeverloved.com

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