Having a Pet Memorial Service for Your Beloved Baby and Other Ways to Honor Pets Who Have Passed

Many of us have dealt with the loss of a beloved animal companion at some point in our lives, and perhaps — not surprisingly — have had or wanted to have a pet memorial service for your departed friend because that’s simply how much they mean to us. I (JN) have experienced the loss of two beloved pets in my life: our little Olivia (pictured below)

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— our green-eyed female feline princess with attitude(!) — who, when we moved from an apartment to a house, ventured out the new doggy door to explore a neighborhood she wasn’t familiar with, and sadly, never made it back. Although we believe sweet Olivia to be still alive and bringing joy to a new family (and will always hold out a tiny bit of hope for her safe return), the loss, her absence, is equally as profound and heartbreaking as the death of my dear dog Rusty. Rusty, for whom I unfortunately never had a proper pet memorial service. Rusty, my chocolate Lab who uniquely holds the title of “My Last Childhood Dog/Brother.”😊❤ I did A LOT of growing up with him, and he saw me through a lot! Rusty fell ill and passed away while I was in college, so I never had the chance to say my goodbyes or give him the send-off I would’ve wanted to give him.

With today being National Pet Memorial Day, this got me thinking… how would I honor my beloved, departed pets? Would I make it an event and hold a formal pet memorial service for them? With my Rusty’s death being so long ago and with our unyielding small sliver of hope that Olivia might one day return, I probably would not, myself, do a formal pet memorial service. The beauty of honoring your pets, though, is that there is no right or wrong way to do so, no manner too understated or overstated. Here are some ideas that came to mind:

1. Pet parents can honor their babies who’ve passed with a beautiful, traditional pet memorial service. Start by sending out memorial announcements to all who knew and loved the deceased pet, everyone whose lives the pet touched — animals included. Choose a nice, relaxed, and quiet setting such as a private home or backyard, a secluded park, or an open courtyard on a campus such as a church or university. This can be a large or small gathering of family and friends. The pet memorial service can include remembrance speeches, poetry tributes, and light refreshments for after the service. It is likely a somber and respectful occasion out of sensitivity for the grieving. Yet, it can still remain lighthearted and even entertaining with reminiscing on and anecdotes about the pet.

2. Pet parents can organize a less formal event such as a play date with all the deceased pet’s siblings, cousins, and friends! Choose a spacious and safe location such as the pet’s favorite park or a private backyard. Get festive with decorations, include special treats like pastries from a dog bakery, have plenty of dog toys and even a wading pool if it’s warm out. Entertain your human guests with human food — have a barbecue or a potluck or a barbecue potluck! 😁 Display large photos, a collage, or a slideshow of the pet you’re honoring. Make a memorial keepsake banner in his/her name and have all your guests sign it with their handprint or paw print. ❤ Although a traditional pet memorial service can be just as much a celebration of your pet’s life, this type of send-off for your deceased pet emphasizes the celebration part! Yet, it is still equally as meaningful and loving as a traditional service. If it sounds like the kind of afternoon your pet would’ve loved and that reflects his/her spirit, then that is what counts!

3. A pet memorial service can certainly involve just you and your pet, or the token you’ve kept that represents your pet’s physical body. It can include just the immediate family — you, your spouse, your kids, the deceased pet and surviving pets. It can be as simple as a moment of silence, reflection, and saying goodbyes either separately or with everyone present. Take a long walk on a trail or at a park that your pet loved; reflect on your time together. Write down your reflections and keep it with mementos of your pet to read back upon later.

4. I mentioned above a memento, or a token you keep that represents your pet’s physical body. This can be an urn containing your beloved pet’s ashes, a shadow box memorial, a clay paw print, or a piece of jewelry with the pet’s paw print and name that you can wear everywhere. Rather than a pet memorial service, the memento itself can be the way you honor your pet, and it is beautiful! Again, there is no right or wrong way to bless up your departed companion, no manner too understated or overstated.

5. Finally… Create something! It’s cathartic! ..Write a poem about your beloved pet, for your beloved pet. Make a collage that celebrates their uniqueness as well as your time together! Or do both like I did for a great friend of mine, Professor! (see below).

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Paint a masterpiece inspired by them! Create an ofrenda (or offering) for them, a semi-permanent art installation, perhaps in your backyard. Incorporate their toys, beds, their house or crate, their gear, flowers, etc. Alternatively, make a temporary ofrenda to display during one of my favorite and most meaningful occasions, Día de Los Muertos. If you’ve never celebrated the ancient occasion and maybe you’ve had a loved one (pet or human) pass away recently, consider partaking this year (Oct 31 – Nov 2). It can be helpful in the grieving process and can help you stay feeling connected to departed loved ones. You may even decide to hold your pet memorial service during Día de Los Muertos, tapping into the sacred meaning and festive energy of the moment.

These have been my thoughts on how to give a pet memorial service and otherwise honor your best friend, and that is all for now, folks.

In closing, here’s to ALL the pets who have touched our lives over the years who have passed on or are otherwise no longer with us — thank you for spending the precious years of your life with us. We miss you. You will always be loved and never forgotten.❤ #NationalPetMemorialDay


Duck & Turtle 🐥🐢

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Happy Professional Pet Sitters Week! ‘Duck & Turtle’ Joins Pet Sitters International

Each year Professional Pet Sitters Week is celebrated the first full week in March. The occasion serves to highlight the importance and benefits of in-home pet care as well as appreciate those professionals who take care of our feathered, furry, and scaled friends while their owners are away. This year Professional Pet Sitters Week will be celebrated March 2-8, 2014, and we here at Duck & Turtle Pet and Home Care have just joined the ranks of Pet Sitters International (PSI) to mark the occasion!

Pet Sitters International is an elite group of pet-care professionals dedicated to excellence in pet sitting. As part of our PSI membership, we agree to abide by PSI’s Recommended Quality Standards for Excellence in Pet Sitting and PSI’s Member Code of Conduct and Ethics. This is in addition to the oath co-owner Daniel Keularts takes every year as a Registered Veterinary Technician in the state of New Mexico.  Also through their PSI membership, co-owner Jarrett Nicholson has begun in-depth educational coursework tailored exclusively for pet sitters with the goal of soon earning his Professional Pet Sitter Certification.

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The American Pet Products Association estimates that 2012 spending on U.S. pets will reach $52.87 billion, an estimated $4.11 billion of which will have gone toward pet services such as pet sitting and dog walking. With figures like these, we know that folks expect top-notch professionalism and care for their pets while they are away. This is precisely why Duck & Turtle Pet and Home Care has stepped up our business and professional development by joining Pet Sitters International.

And it’s not just about the dogs and the cats anymore! A 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey revealed that there are 16.2 million birds, 16 million small exotics, 13 million reptiles, and 151 million freshwater fish owned in the U.S.  With Keularts’s background in Veterinary Technology and the well-rounded pet care curriculum Nicholson is undergoing, both are thrilled to step up and be of service in these niches.

At Duck & Turtle we believe that pet sitting is the best choice for at-home pet care as it allows your pets to stay in their own familiar environment and stick close to their daily routine, which minimizes stress and anxiety.  Says Keularts, “A true professional pet sitter will not only be punctual, friendly, and attentive toward the animals’ needs but will also be vigilant and  observant — making sure instructions are carried out exactly as the owner has directed, making sure the home and property remain in good repair, and making sure the social and health needs of each animal are fully met. You can read more about the full duties of a professional pet sitter on our blog!”

As we celebrate Professional Pet Sitters Week, you may want to think of any trips or vacations you have coming up — spring break, graduations, weddings, family reunions, business trips — and contact Duck & Turtle Pet and Home Care early on to ensure  your home and pets are left in the best possible care! You may reach us by phone at (505) 410-7954 or email us at info@duckandturtle.com!

Thank you for reading, and HAPPY PROFESSIONAL PET SITTERS WEEK!!! 😀

~Duck & Turtle