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World Pet Memorial Day

Making the decision to have a pet put to rest peacefully and painlessly is the hardest decision a pet parent will make for a pet. Just as painful is to lose a pet tragically in an unexpected way. To support pet parents with their recent loss as well as honoring the memory of other pets who have passed to the Rainbow Bridge, the second Sunday in June is known as World Pet Memorial Day. This day also helps to build a better future for all the pets who wait for loving homes, who have not yet experienced the joy of a family of their own.

There are many beautiful ways that pet parents can honor their beloved pet. Here are some suggestions:

  • A pet parent can make a scrapbook or frame some of their best photos. Photos capture wonderful memories of a pet parent and pet together, and can remind pet parents of memories that may have become hazy over time.
  • If a pet is buried in a back yard or in a cemetery that allows it, planting a tree, bush or flower in their memory will help the environment and as the tree grows, so will the pet parent’s ability to move on.
  • Pet cemeteries have become more commonplace in communities, as it has become more acceptable to grief for a pet. If a pet parent is interested in doing more to honor their pets memory, they can ask about inscribing their pets grave at the cemetery, or even sponsor a bench or tree with a plaque with their pets name if it’s allowed.
  • Honor the loss with the gift of trees to one of our nation’s forests via the Arbor Day Foundation.
  • After a pet passes away, pet parents may keep some of their old belongings, such as toys and blankets, to remind themselves of what their pets loved the most. Keeping these items in a safe place, and taking them out when missing a pet will make a pet parent feel like a pet is there in spirit, and can provide some emotional relief.
  • Another way of honoring a pet is to give some time to pets who are looking for a loving family by volunteering at a humane society or rescue shelter. When the time is right, pet parents can even adopt one of these pets who is looking for a family.

If a pet parent is finding it especially hard to express their grief or to move forward, there are hundreds of resources and support groups that may be helpful. Reaching out to a vet who was familiar with the pet, they may be able to suggest a pet loss support group or hotline. Even doing something simple as keeping a journal or writing a poem may help.

When grieving the loss of a pet, there is no right or wrong way, only that it is the thought that counts. So this World Pet Memorial Day, take a few minutes out of the day to remember those pets that have given their love and pet parents a lifetime of wonderful memories.