Flushing Fish is Passé & Other Pet Memorial Day Tips

This Sunday, September 9th 2007 is National Pet Memorial Day. The tradition was established by the International Association of Pet Cemeteries & Crematories as a way to honor the loss of people’s precious pets.

Diana L Guerrero, author and animal blessing expert said, “Pets are part of the family and the loss of a pet is a devastating experience. What makes it difficult is that traditionally society has not offered pet owners a whole lot of sympathy. Fortunately, that trend is changing and even flushing fish is passé…”

Guerrero has officiated over different pet blessings and ceremonies and is the author of the recently released, Blessing of the Animals: A Guide to Prayers & Ceremonies Celebrating Pets & Other Creatures (ISBN 1893361845). The interfaith guide covers everything from the history of blessing of the animal traditions, how to hold pet parties, to ways to conduct pet memorials. It also includes tips, hints, prayers, and ceremonies.

When researching Blessing of the Animals Guerrero discovered that although pet burials can be traced back between 14,000 and 9,000 years ago, contemporary ceremonies began to escalate in the late 1800s–and today pet memorials are on the rise.

“Hartsdale Pet Cemetery in New York is the oldest cemetery in the United States and was established in 1896. However there has been a huge increase in different types of pet memorial services and related options within the last 30 years. This coincides with the increase in pet households which estimates say now comprise 63% of all American homes.”

The increase has triggered a growth in pet bereavement services and products. Some of which include pet chaplains, custom made coffins, urns, lockets, and even funerary gems which the manufacturer says can “turn a man’s best friend into a girl’s best friend.”

Guerrero said, “The important thing to remember is that the human-animal bond is a strong one. Even though the grief process is the same, pet loss is often more devastating because people don’t get the same support or sympathy that they do when they have lost a human family member.”

If you need a few suggestions on how to memorialize your pet, Guerrero includes a list of suggestions in the section titled, Grave Topics at Tails End. She stresses that flushing fish is a thing of the past and includes a fish prayer and fishy funeral as a respectful, compassionate alternative.

If you want to do something special on pet memorial day the book suggests, “Keep a candle lit in honor of the pet and let its brilliance symbolize the light and joy the animal added to life. The illuminating glow the flame casts represents the ethereal light of the pet’s existence beyond this realm.”

Here are Guerrero’s seven additional tips for honoring pets during pet memorial day:

*Send a card or note to a friend who has lost a pet or make arrangements to spend the day with that person.

*Create a collage or memory box with favorite photos, drawings, pet tags, baby teeth, remnants of favorite toys.

*Visit the pet’s favorite place and have a picnic.

*Make a shelf into an alter and commemorate your pet with a photographic memorial and candle.

*Sow a living plant or tree in honor of the animal.

*Scatter flower petals, or make a special potpourri mix, in honor of the pet.

*Share, or listen to, joyful memories and stories about the pet.


Review copies of BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS: A GUIDE TO PRAYERS & CEREMONIES CELEBRATING PETS AND OTHER CREATURES (ISBN 1402729677) are available to journalists. Contact Sterling Publishing Publicity at (212) 532-7160.

BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS is available from Sterling Publishing, Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and available at booksellers throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

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