All pet owners know that after introducing an animal into their home, these furry, scaly or feathered friends swiftly become part of the family. They’re there for us when we’re down, never judgmental and always around to lighten the mood. It’s therefore always a difficult time when a pet dies. Although it’s now acceptable to grieve for the loss of our beloved pets, many of us are confused about how to properly approach the process. That’s why Pets Magazine and Lars Anderson, founder of the company Arty Lobster, launched National Pet Remembrance Day. The day is celebrated on the 5th July to ‘create a space for people to remember their departed companion animal’. So how should you go about commemorating your beloved pets?
In Memory of…
One wonderful way to celebrate the life of your animal companion is by holding a memorial service in their honour. You could hold the service where your pet most enjoyed playing or walking. Each person that attends could then share a cherished memory of your pet. Another great way to celebrate the life of your pet is by planting a living memorial such as a tree or flowerbed. This could be where your pet was buried or where they loved to play. If the memorial service doesn’t feel right for you, you could celebrate the life of your pet by sharing fond memories of them on social media, via the hashtag #PetRememberanceDay, or creating an online memorial in their honour.
Whilst it’s nice to celebrate your pet with a memorial service, you may want to keep a reminder of your pet close to you. In this case, you should consider having a memento mori made. This could take the form of a coaster, key ring or other accessory, printed with a photograph of your pet. If you do decide to share memories of your pet via the aforementioned hashtag, you would also automatically nominate your pet to be immortalised in 3D by Arty Lobster. If your pet is chosen, Arty Lobster will fashion the image of your pet into a three-dimensional sculpture, so that you’ll never be far from your beloved friend.
One really lovely way to remember all that your furry friend did for you, is by giving back to other pets that haven’t been so lucky. In 2015 the RSPCA investigated almost 150,000 animal cruelty complaints in the UK, with dogs bearing the brunt of the abuse. In fact, every hour of every day the RSPCA receives 16 new cases of animal cruelty to investigate. Whilst this is a terrifying prospect, there are plenty of ways that you could turn it around for some of these animals. Research local volunteering opportunities by entering your post-code on Do-it.org or your local RSPCA branch. You could spend the day feeding and bathing animals in need, or simply giving them some much needed affection.
If you’re below the age of 16, volunteering opportunities within shelters can be scarce. However, there are other ways you could help out by fundraising for animal charities for example. Why not make Pet Remembrance Day a day of celebration and organise a sponsored walk or a bake sale?
Adopt a Companion
If you’re a really avid pet lover and feel like volunteering doesn’t quite go far enough, you could consider adopting or rehoming an animal from your local animal shelter. Around 5000 dogs are put to sleep each year in the UK because they were unable to find new homes, this equates to around 14 dogs a day. So what better way to show your appreciation for your dearly departed pet, than by saving the life of an animal in dire need of some care and attention? Before adopting or rehoming a pet it is important to consider if you have the time, patience and means to care for animal that may be traumatised or frightened. However, if you feel up to the task why not save one of these pets on National Pet Remembrance day, in memory of all that your animals have done for you in the past.
Ultimately, National Pet Remembrance Day is about showing our appreciation for our much loved, animal friends. Owners of pets who have passed on should feel free to express grief for the loss of a companion who brought them much comfort and love. If you are struggling with bereavement from the loss of a pet you can contact PDSA, who offer much needed advice and support through such difficult times. But even if you haven’t recently lost a pet, National Pet Remembrance Day is all about coming together to show our mutual appreciate for the animals that have been, or are currently in our lives.