Keeping the memory when grieving the loss of a pet

With the growing popularity of pet memorial services, there are a variety of ways to remember your beloved friend during the grieving process.  

Today, the family pet is just that – part of the family. Approximately 65% of American households have a pet, and altogether these families spent an estimated $75.38 billion on their fur babes in 2019. If you have a deep connection with your pet, losing him becomes all the more difficult.

“When it comes to the pet-person bond, losing your companion can be more devastating and heartbreaking than losing a family member,” says Ashley Durkin, a registered veterinary technician at Wayside Waifs. “The relationship is built around them being constantly by your side and as a witness to your daily life.” Fortunately, the pet memorial industry is also evolving, giving you ample ways to keep your pet close even after he’s gone.

Grieving kits, literature and access to helplines

Many veterinarians can and do offer brochures and catalogs for a variety of memorial products. You can ask to see any general grieving literature that may be available, especially if you have a child or teenager. Books are a perfect resource to help young people cope with the loss of a pet.

Veterinary colleges also have helplines available to alleviate some of the grief and pain people experience when losing a beloved pet. The CARE Pet Loss Helpline provides support for pet owners experiencing pet loss or sickness, and helps them get back on their feet more quickly.

Consider memorial service products

There are numerous services available to those dealing with the loss of a pet:

  • Memorial services and burials (and all that entails – caskets, headstones, etc.)
  • Print Pendants and Cremation Jewelry
  • Shadow boxes with pet mementos (favorite toys, etc.)
  • Sponsored tree plantings

Many pet parents are choosing to commemorate their pets with one of these services.

“It allows for a daily visual reminder of how special that relationship was, without having to leave your home – it’s something to make this terribly sad process a little easier,” says Ashley. A large number of vets and pet funeral homes offer mementos such as Buddies Pet Keepsakes® to their clients. On-site product displays can show you a range of keepsakes that are designed to provide a sense of comfort during the difficult grieving process. Paw and nose print keepsakes can blunt the sense of loss, and can solidify the feeling of a lifelong connection based on the senses of sight and touch.

Keepsakes and memorials are becoming more popular because they are meaningful ways to honor a beloved family member. Every furry companion is special and unique. No matter what you do, just remember to celebrate him in the way that honors the beautiful bond you both shared.

Sources and printouts for pet loss and grieving

OVC Pet Loss Support

UF Small Animal Hospital Pet Loss Support

The Grief Process

AVMA: Coping with the loss of a pet