When I wrote, Blessing of the Animals: A Guide to Prayers & Ceremonies Celebrating Pets & Other Creatures, I dedicated a whole section to pet memorials and pet funerals complete with pet eulogies and ideas for ceremonies.
Below you will find a guest post about pet memorials by Joseph J. McCabe, President of Everlife Memorials for Pets. I think you’ll find his story touching and his tips useful.
Above: Photo of beloved dog Ruffy
As I pulled up to the veterinary clinic, I could see my sister and niece were already there with “Ruffy” who was lying in the middle seat of my sister’s van. It was a trip I deeply regretted, but I knew it had to be done.
You see Ruffy, the family wire haired dachshund mix, was in serious pain from a failing back and could no longer move under his own power. Not to mention he was in great pain and cried out constantly. He was 13 years old and suffering.
When I approached my sister’s van, the inevitable started to sink in and I was having doubts about staying and watch him “go away.” Waiting for my father to arrive, I sat next to Ruffy and gently stroked his fur, trying to make him feel as loved as possible.
Once my father arrived we went inside to complete the euthanizing of our beloved family member. I ended up staying as I felt it was important for him to be surrounded by loved ones as he passed on. I made certain my face was in his view before his eyes closed forever as I wanted his last image to be of someone who dearly loved him. I will never forget that day.
How to Remember A Family Friend
We chose to have Ruffy cremated and then came the task of finding a suitable memorial for him. Since I was in the business, I figured this would be an easy job as I had helped many others to select a cherished memorial for a departed pet. The only problem was that several other family members were equally touched by Ruffy, they also wanted to have input into his memorial.
Knowing about all of the available options made things easy for me as I informed my family members of the various options. There are many types of memorials and they generally fall into a few major categories.
Pet Urns – Since a majority of pets are cremated, most people choose to hold the ashes in a pet cremation urn. They are available in a wide variety of sizes and materials such as wood, marble, metal and eco-friendly biodegradable materials. You can even find pet urns in the shape of a cat or dog or with an animal figurine on top of the urn.
Pet Cremation Jewelry – Cremation jewelry is a way to keep your beloved pet close to your heart. Pet cremation pendants can be filled with a small amount of your pet’s ashes and worn on a chain around your neck. The pendants are available in gold, silver, and bronze and feature a wide range of styles, including pet-themed pieces such as paw prints, a bone, ball of yarn or simple crosses and hearts.
Pet Cremation Memorials – Made in a variety of styles and materials, pet cremation memorials are usually made to be displayed outdoors such as in a garden setting. They have a special compartment which stores the ashes. Some of the styles include memorial rocks which feature a bronze plaque, sculptured memorials featuring angels or dog breeds and cremation markers whereas the name and dates are engraved on the top surface.
Pet Grave Markers – Used to mark the grave of a pet who was buried, they can also be used as a garden memorial for a pet who was cremated. Some can even have the cremated ashes inside a compartment within the marker. Pet grave markers can be made from materials such a traditional granite, bronze and granite, or even river rocks and naturally shaped stones. They are usually personalized by means of sandblast engraving or in some cases black granite markers can have the image of your pet laser engraved onto the surface along with their name and dates.
Unique Pet Memorials – Some interesting pet memorials that don’t necessarily fall into the previous categories are keepsake teddy bears, picture frame memorials, glass ornaments, keepsake boxes, and illuminated glass memorials that look great on any desk top or shelf.
A Permanent Pet Tribute
Whichever pet memorial you choose, the end result is an everlasting tribute to your beloved family member. We finally decided on a marble urn that was close in color to Ruffy’s fur. Actually it was my mom who liked it.
We also placed a laser engraved pet grave marker with Ruffy’s name and dates in my parent’s back yard garden where he used to roam. His memory will always be with us and having his memorial in place has helped in dealing with his loss.