Celebrant Views

The Loss of a Pet

pet memorialsThe Loss of a Much Loved Four legged companion

We talk of the loss of a pet, but our pets are more than just pets, they are members of our family.  They are very much loved.  When they die we can grieve as intensely as for a person we have loved and lost.  Let’s not diminish the impact of a beloved pet’s death.

As Celebrants we have the flexibility to offer all sorts of bespoke and personalized services and ceremonies to celebrate, remember or reflect.  And being celebrants has enabled us to recognize the importance of ritual within our lives for so many more reasons and witness the huge benefit of those rituals, particularly when dealing with monumental changes and loss.

And that very much includes the loss of our beloved four-legged companions.

When we lose a loved human, those around us, generally, understand and expect the grieving we experience.  Even then, those grieving can feel left lost at sea weeks later when the rest of the world goes back to ‘situation normal’.  Yet when a ‘pet’ dies, there (often) seems to be a lot less empathy and consideration from the wider community.  Society as a whole expects you to ‘bounce back’ quicker; work rarely offers you compassionate leave for an animal.

Yet the grief you may feel is as valid and may well feel as intense as the loss of a person.  More often than not though, we are likely to feel foolish or guilty for intense or prolonged grief for an animal.  We feel the need to compare our loss and apologize for our grief.

NEVER feel foolish for your grief.

And DO commemorate the loss with a ceremony if that feels helpful.

We celebrants think of organizing a funeral ceremony and wake for a pet as a ‘normal’ and highly acceptable and recommended.  In fact, look on the websites of many celebrants, and you will find a section devoted specifically to it.

So, as with any grief, anything you are feeling is ‘normal’.  Anything that helps you process that grief is a good idea.  AND there is no time limit to ‘getting over it’.   Don’t beat yourself up.  Allow yourself time, be patient with yourself, reach out.  No-one (who cares) will think you are foolish.

Check out Episode 5 of our podcast, Ask A Celebrant, for more on this subject

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