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.
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.
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.
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.”