Do-it-Yourself Ritual Kit for Animal Loss

SENDING OFF YOUR ANIMAL COMPANION

Whether your loss was yesterday or a few decades ago, we've got some ideas to help you honor your loss... and heal your broken heart.

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"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

Hello.

I am so glad you found us. Animal loss breaks our hearts. And while I have yet to find a magic wand to conjure the pain away, I do have some ideas for honoring lost lives and managing the emotions that arise when we lose an animal we love—whether from death, divorce, disaster, extinction, or because a pet does not return home one day. And whether your loss was yesterday, or years ago.
 
A growing body of scientific research shows that grief after losing an animal can significantly impact our lives. One study revealed 93% of humans reported a disruption in their life such as trouble sleeping or loss of appetite. Over 50% reduced their social activities, and 45% had job-related difficulties. Yet, even with stacks of research available, how seriously people respond to our pain can vary.  
 
So, let me be clear. I believe you. I get you. No, it’s not silly to still talk to a beloved dog, cat, or other creature. Nor is there anything wrong with wanting to keep alive the memory of your relationship with them. What you are experiencing is real. And it is valid. I am so sorry for your loss. And I hope we can help.

 

Our DIY Ritual Kit for Animal Loss includes Earth, Water, Fire, and Air ritual materials. Scroll down for instructions for each ritual. Feel free to adapt and be creative. Do the activities alone, with your family,  or invite some friends over to help. Then, repeat as often as helpful.


May the memory of your loved one be an enduring blessing,
Sarah Bowen

Instructions for your kit

Image by Anastasia Taioglou

Water Ritual

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Image by Nathan Lindahl

Fire Ritual

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Image by Kenrick Mills

Air Ritual

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Image by Matthew Smith

Earth Ritual

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Learn more about surviving animal loss...

Try the 15-min "WTF?! Prayer,"
a guided meditation for surviving grief from animal loss

00:00 / 15:09
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"An ardent invitation to multispecies mourning for our more-than-human companions, from our beloved pets, to the deer on the side of the road, to the rapidly increasing extinction of species on our shared planet."

 Cody J. Sanders, Chaplain at Harvard University & Advisor in the Office of Religious, Spiritual, & Ethical Life, MIT


Channel your passion for animals and the planet into a caring and supportive profession. Train to become an animal chaplain.