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Pet Memorial Day: Ways to Honor Your Pet’s Memory

Sep 11, 2016


The International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories designated the second Sunday of September as National Pet Memorial Day more than 40 years ago to recognize the important role pets play in our lives. Every year, thousands across the nations celebrate this special day to remember and honor pets that have passed away. There is a quote by Helen Keller that says, “What we have enjoyed, we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” What true words! Pets make such a big impact on our hearts; they become a part of us. Even though the passing of a pet is a natural part of life, the memories of our pets never leave us. And it’s the memories we have that comfort us when they are gone.

At The COVE, we work with sick and injured animals every day, but it never gets easier to say goodbye to a patient we’ve been caring for or to see our clients lose a beloved pet. To express our condolences, we send sympathy cards signed by the staff, paw prints for private cremations, and also make donations to ACVIM Foundation and ACVS Foundation in memory of patients. However, we know these are small comforts to someone who’s lost a dear companion and family member. The COVE supports Hampton Roads Pet Loss Partnership, a non-profit organization with a mission to provide emotional support for those who’ve lost a pet. Read more about the organization and their free monthly meetings here.  

Ideas to remember and honor your pet’s memory

There are many ways you can celebrate your pet, and it doesn’t need to be on Pet Memorial Day. However, it may be comforting to know that on Pet Memorial Day there are thousands of other pet owners who are remembering a dear pet’s memory with you.

Here are some ways you can memorialize your pet’s memory.  

pet-memoria-garden.jpgHave a ceremony 

A burial or memorial ceremony can provide you with closure. You can bury some of your pet’s favorite toys and belongings. Children often find it difficult to express their grief verbally. If they are willing, they can write a letter or draw a picture to bury.

Create a stone garden 

There are garden stones you can have engraved with your pet’s name or likeness, or you can create your own with a DIY project. Dedicate a certain spot in the yard with the garden stone. Choose a spot your pet loved to visit to make it extra meaningful and personal. 

Plant a tree or shrub

This is a great way to honor your pet’s memory, especially if your fur ball loved the outdoors and liked to “water” plants during their walks. Planting a tree helps the environment and is also a beautiful reminder that life is beautiful. If you have children, include them in the process of planting and watching your plant grow.

Create a photo album 

It can be tough to look at photos of your pet immediately after they’ve passed away. If you are ready, going through photos and remembering all the funny, silly, and even annoying things can be a big comfort. We recommend creating a photo album with a friend or family member who knew your pet so you can share memories together 

Make a donation

Another way you can help honor your pet is by making a charitable donation to an organization that helps animals. If your pet passed away due to cancer, you may want to donate to an organization like the ACVIM Foundation that focuses on veterinary research to improve the health of animals. You can also donate to veterinary foundations like Veterinary Care Foundation, which helps veterinary practices like The COVE provide care in Good Samaritan cases, for pet owners in a financial crisis, police/fire and service animals, and pets injured due to natural disasters. Making a donation to these types of organizations can bring you comfort knowing you are helping other animals. 

Adopt a pet

While you can never replace your pet, adopting or rescuing a new one can fill a void in your heart. Although, we caution against rushing into adopting a new pet as it isn’t fair to you or to the animal. When the time is right and you are ready, adding a new furry family member can be a wonderful way to honor your pet. Not only do you give a homeless animal a forever home, you also get to start a journey with a new best friend. And as pet owner, you know how wonderful life can be with a pet by your side!

“The first dog is the dog who gives you so much that the first dog is often the reason for the second dog.” - Unknown 

Remembering Hero Dogs of 9/11 

As we share ideas of how to memorialize our pets, we want to also remember the service animals that give their lives to protect us. This year’s Pet Memorial Day happens to fall on September 11. Just this past January, the country said goodbye to the last surviving 9/11 Ground Zero search and rescue dog, 16-year-old Golden Retriever Bretagne. She was giving a hero’s burial as her body was covered in a US flag.

Dogs like Bretagne were called into duty not only for 9/11 but also for many national disasters that required their unique talents and skills. We’d like to remember the amazing work search-and-rescue dogs, police K9 dogs, and other emergency/military dogs do as they risk their lives for ours.


Hero Dogs of 9/11 Legacy

Tags: pets, owners
Category: Pet News