Tips, Rituals, & Words for Memorials
SENDING OFF OUR ANIMAL COMPANIONS
Depending on your spiritual or religious outlook, in addition to an animal companion’s body, you may feel called to attend to their spirit, soul, or metaphysical qualities. We've got some ideas to help you.
Your personal beliefs will influence the route this care takes. So, it is difficult to suggest a one-size-fits-all approach to attending to spiritual matters. Many people may choose to hold a funeral, memorial service, or another ritual for an animal.
The world's religions, spiritual traditions, and wisdom philosophies have diverse perspectives on the purpose of death services. In some, a funeral does not determine what happens to an animal after their bodily death. That said, it can be beneficial for bringing comfort to grieving humans. In other traditions, particularly those who believe something else happens after death, these rituals assist the being on the journey to their next stage.
Many pet cemeteries and crematoriums have a chapel where you can hold your memorial or will allow you to perform a service graveside. Animal chaplains have lots of ideas and can help you craft a meaningful memorial. Or you can DIY it with the help of friends and family. (The Sacred Sendoff DIY Animal Loss Ritual Kit launches here in March 2021!)
Here are some thought-starters for helping animals transition to the What's Next.
"Our animal companions have not vanished. They have been transformed. Our enduring connections with them remain for the rest of our lives. And, hopefully, even beyond that."
―SARAH BOWEN, animal chaplain & author of Sacred Sendoffs
Resources for Animal Bodies
In Sacred Sendoffs: An Animal Chaplain's Guide to Surviving Animal Loss, Making Life Meaningful, and Healing the Planet, animal chaplain Sarah Bowen offers detailed considerations for the care of animal bodies after their last breath. (You can pick up a copy at your local bookstore or favorite online retailer, including Bookshop, Amazon, B&N, Target. If you are in the U.S., you can also order a signed copy directly on this site here.)
You may also find these resources helpful: