Pet Memorial Ideas
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For many people, the idea of staging a memorial for your pet may seem strange or even comical. Decades of television comedy shows have made light of the tradition, for example, casting characters who are upset about the death of a pet in an off-beat light, sometimes suggesting that even mental instability may be at hand. TV shows occasionally go as far as to portray a funeral for a pet, but it is almost always done with the clear signal that most of the characters are participating only so that they can patronize the imbalanced one.
When it comes to real life mourning of a beloved pet, experts say just ignore all that.
If you feel compelled to hold a memorial service for your pet -- complete with a casket, a headstone and a cemetery plot – then by all means do so. Invite your friends and family, display your favorite pictures of your pet, say a prayer or two, even encourage a eulogy or two.
There is no shame, and certainly nothing comical, in grieving for a lost pet. Here are a few ideas for things you might consider when you’ve lost a pet:
First, talk to a veterinarian. He or she has surely had plenty of experience helping console the owners of pets who have died and can certainly offer a few ideas for you. In fact, most veterinary medicine school curricula today include a good deal of discussion (if not an entire course or two) on ways to help pet owners cope with their loss. If consulting a veterinarian is not practical because of distance, finances or any other reason, the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine may able to help. That school hosts a toll free telephone hotline for people who need help coping with the loss of a pet. The phone is answered by trained volunteers, students and even members of the faculty who are schooled in the stages of grieving and can offer advice on how to memorialize your pet in a way that will best deal with your grief.
The University of Florida school of veterinary medicine lists a large number of memorial ideas on its website. Here is just a few:
Stage a full fledge funeral for your pet. The affair need not be expensive or dramatic, but some sort of ceremony acknowledging the meaning that your pet brought to your life and others can be healthful. A back yard gathering with a few lawn chairs and a table with a guest book and some photos may be just the trick to cheer you up. Just seeing several friends and family show up to share memories and stories may be all that a pet owner needs to understand and deal with the grief of loss.
The UF website also suggests that you consider writing an obituary for your pet and asking a local newspaper to print it (or perhaps post it on an Internet site). You can also plant flowers that will bloom during a certain time of year that may have been important for your pet. And, perhaps, you can consider a permanent memorial such as a grave marker, an urn or a cremation pendant.
And, finally, each Monday at 10 p.m. Eastern Time, grieving pet owners should consider participating in a world-wide on-line ceremony devoted to pets that have died. The owner of PetLoss.com has been conducting the weekly ceremony for several years, and it only gets bigger and bigger as more people discover it. Simply use the on-line form on the site to submit your pets name and dates, and your cherished friend will be formally included in that week’s ceremony.
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