Words for the What's Next


I suggest four things humans can do at the time of animal death. First, speak honestly with the animal about what is going on (and why the choice of euthanasia was made, if applicable). Second, connect with the animal through gentle touch. Third, read aloud some words which are meaningful to the human participants. Fourth, I recommend sitting with your beloved's body for a few minutes after they pass on to whatever is next. 

Prayer-full words and blessings need not be directed to any specific divine force nor grounded in a particular religion, they need only be meaningful for you and your animal companion. Research suggests benefits to prayer regardless of who or what the words are directed towards.


People I work with sometimes choose to write their own. Other times, they need a little inspiration to get them going. So, below is a collection of some of my favorite prayer-ish thought starters.


Prayer-full Words for Animal Passing

To the mystery that creates us,
laughs with us,
weeps with us, and
who walks with us
each step of our journey,
energizing us
when our strength fails.

Today our hearts break with grief,
our voices crying out words of lament.

And so we ask you to please
flow in and around us today
as we send off [animal’s given name].

Help us to see through the veil of tears
that there is hope for ongoing connection,
that death of the body cannot sever
the energy of love.

Please ensure that [name] knows our love always.
Please help [name] be free from pain, fear, and suffering.
We wish him/her/them a most auspicious What’s Next.
May it be so.

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"Acknowledging the loss provides our animal
companions a sacred sendoff that honors their
life and our relationship with them."

SARAH BOWEN, animal chaplain & author of Sacred Sendoffs

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