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Pet Loss | PetsWeekly

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Who hasn't wept at the end of Marley & Me or My Dog Skip? The death of a pet is devastating, whether it's on the big screen or reality. Pets are beloved companions that are part of the family, and their loss is greatly felt. Use the following guide as a way to honor their life and handle grief after losing your four-legged companion.

Emotional Prep

Emotionally preparing for your pet’s end-of-life will help ease the burden when it actually happens. The Pet Loss Professionals Alliance provides a tribute guide for planning ahead for the loss of your pet. If you know the end of life is near for your pet, reflect on your pet's life with your family. Print out the guide and mark down special memories for a tribute page that includes your pet's:

  • Favorite food
  • Favorite activity
  • Favorite place to sleep
  • Something they disliked
  • A few special memories


Informing Loved Ones

Death and grief can be an uncomfortable situation for friends and family. Make it a comfortable subject for friends and family by sending a handwritten or emailed notice about the passing of your pet. List appropriate actions such as donations to a specific organizations or how to plant a memorial tree. If you're single, take this as a chance to get more active in the dating scene, which may help get your mind off of your lost pet so you can move on.

Burial or Cremation

If you decide to bury your pet, expect to do some research on your local options. There are now more than 1,200 pet memorial cemeteries in the U.S. and thousands of providers across the country that can make those arrangements. To cremate your pet, you'll need to think about the ashes. Memorialize them in a decorative urn, bury the ashes or scatter them in the backyard or dog park.

Memorial Planning

The service for your beloved pet should be unique and personalized. Highlight the many years shared with your companion by playing a song or making a speech. Memorials are as varied as pets themselves and can include a blessing, candlelight vigil, religious service, or even a donation drive for a local shelter in your pet’s name. Celebrate your pet with an intimate memorial and ask your friends, family and their pets to participate. People can acknowledge the passing of their own pet, or that of someone else, with a memorial note, a gesture such as flower or sympathy gift, or a donation to a shelter.


Memorialize your pet and hold onto their memory forever with a special keepsake. A gravestone, photo collage, video, pet portrait, or garden stone can keep your pet's spirit alive. Stay true to your own personal style, and the special memories of your pet will guide you to the perfect memorial item. Include your kids in the memorializing and celebrating experience with an arts and crafts project. Decorate a frame of your pet's picture with beads, buttons and paint. Hang the photo in your children's bedroom or display it on the living room bookshelf.

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