The Importance of Saying Goodbye

Finding ways to say goodbye to your beloved pet can be difficult and challenging when the loss is so new. Each member of the family may be dealing with their loss in different ways. As a family or individual it is often a good idea to develop a few rituals and create a little ceremony of your own to help with the grieving process.

What is a Ritual?

A ritual is an activity that is performed (individually or in a group) that helps give expression or says something about a person/s beliefs and culture. It is often a learnt behaviour where the activity is repeated and doesn’t change over time. One can have daily rituals like taking your pet for a walk or rituals that are only performed at specific stages of ones life.

Developing a series of rituals to express the passing of your pet may assist in enabling you to say goodbye.

Creating Rituals

Put aside a period of time to think about what you would like to do. The rituals/ceremonies work best with a bit of forward planning. Write down all the good things about your pet, what they meant to you. You may wish to read a poem, light a candle and/or incense. You may also want to include their collar, identity tag or special toys as part of the ritual.

Find a place or space that is special for you and your pet, somewhere possibly in the garden or a quiet reflective space you can go visit to be alone with your memories. Once you have identified this special place and performed your rituals find a way to mark the spot so you may return whenever you have a need.

Sometimes we have the opportunity to prepare for the passing of a family member. Talking is good. Talk to your pet tell them exactly what is going to happen. Tell them how much you love them and will miss them. The tone in your voice will be very reassuring for them.

They understand more than you may think. Often they know its time to go and are waiting for us to catch up with the idea. Sometimes our pets will never want to give up on us and we need to make the decision for them. It is never an easy one to make. Its good to imagine what it would be like to feel their discomfort and pain. This may help you knowing you are making the right decision.

The loyalty of a pet and the unconditional love they have for you means that we have to make the hard decisions on their behalf. Taking sometime to preplan before that difficult decision can bring you some comfort and gives reassurance that everything is as it should be.

We take out pet insurance to look after our animals in case of emergencies and unforeseen accidents

5 Ways To Celebrate Your Pets Life

  • Light a Candle

    Keep a candle burning in memory of your beloved

  • Honour

    The special place in the garden they liked to go

  • Have a Keepsake

    That reminds you of your pet

  • Burn Incense

    Along with the candle

  • Special Place

    Create an alter or special place in your home

Most Animals Are Cremated

Some smaller animals can be buried in the back yard. The ashes are returned to you in any number of vessels. The vets will have an existing relationship with a pet cremation company. These businesses tend to have similar containers that are generic, mass produced options for you to select from.

Being in the grips of grief and loss you can feel a bit rushed to make a decision about what you would like for your loved one.

If you choose a hand crafted Soul Keeper Urn /stacking stone urn you are purchasing a locally produced hand crafted option that has been made with love and care at the centre of the object/urn.

Helping Children Understand What Has Happened

Children are very honest and direct and their grief may not be noticeable as they are trying to comprehend what has happened. Do not add to their confusion by saying your family member has gone on a long sleep and won’t wake up as this may make them scared to go to sleep themselves at night.

Children may ask lots of questions and it is best to be honest and direct with them. “Why did my cat die?” May be a simple request for more information and require a brief factual response. Or it may also relay a sense of guilt that they had something to do with the death, in which case you need to provide comfort and emotional support along with understanding.

Give your children opportunities to express their feelings. They may or may not show those feelings outwardly but when overtired and stressed a deep grief may be at the centre. Many children will have experienced the loss of a pet you didn’t even know existed, a lizard from the garden or any number of insects, small birds etc. Grief takes time and it is an important emotion that has its place in all of us. It cannot be rushed or brushed aside.

Allow your child/children to create a ceremony. Involve children in planning a memorial for their pet. Discuss where the animals remains should be buried. Make an appropriate marker. Decorate the grave. Regardless of age, people need to express love and respect at the time of final parting.