We offer our heartfelt condolences for your loss. We can only imagine how difficult this moment is for you and your family. There is no right way to grieve the loss of your animal since your bond and relationship were unique. We hope you may always cherish your fond memories together and find ways to continue to honor your bond in your own time. Many find it helpful to seek additional support for the loss and the following resources are available as a place to begin for strategies to cope and ways to remember and honor their life. The on-staff veterinary social worker at Friendship Hospital for Animals is also available to help support your family. If you have concerns that your or your loved one’s grieving is significantly impairing functioning, please seek guidance from medical providers or call 911.
This packet includes the following pet-loss resources:
- Friendship Pet-Loss Support Group Flyer (free & virtual)
- 5 Tips for Coping with Pet Loss
- Do Pets Grieve? A DVM Perspective
- Talking to Your Children about Pet Loss
- Memorialization to Honor Your Bond
- Community Connections for Grief
- Pet-Loss Websites, Hotlines and Books
Agape Pet Services Cremation
Friendship partners with Agape Pet Services for cremation services. Agape picks up from our facility on Tuesdays and Fridays. Clients may contact Agape directly at 301.432.0431 to pick an urn and memento. Ashes will be delivered directly to your home, unless otherwise specified.
Pet-Loss Support Group
We welcome you to join us for a safe and supportive group to honestly share your experience with the loss, or anticipated loss, of your animal in an inclusive community. Learn additional strategies to cope and develop ways to remember and honor their life. This group is offered as a free service:
Monday, October 11th: 5 PM – 6PM
Tuesday, October 19th: 7 PM – 8 PM
Wednesday, October 27th: 12 PM – 1 PM
Monday, November 1st: 5 PM – 6 PM
Monday, November 8th: 5 PM – 6 PM
Tuesday, November 16th: 7 PM – 8 PM
Wednesday, November 24th: 12 PM – 1 PM
Sunday, November 28th: 3 PM – 4 PM
We meet virtually via ZOOM to encourage everyone’s safety. You may access the virtual group from any computer and/or telephone. To register, click here.
Pet loss is real loss. Be gentle with yourself and allow intentional time to release emotions. Finding ways to memorialize and honor your pet provides your family important closure and dignifies the meaning they held in your family. Some find it helpful to hold a ceremony or funeral service aligned with their cultural beliefs. Others prefer to write an obituary for their pet, create a photo album, or plant a memorial tree. Personalize your pet’s memorial to reflect their unique personality and preferences, your cultural beliefs, and the role they played in your family. Here are a few suggestions to consider for honoring your pet and getting the conversation started with your family.
Inspiration for Honoring Your Pet’s Life
- Hold a funeral or memorial service
- Write a eulogy, obituary or biography for your pet
- Anniversary celebrations (donate in their honor, go to pet’s favorite parks)
- Create a family album or slideshow (pictures, memories, and quotes)
- Hold a music-based ceremony (bell ringing)
- Plant flowers, herbs, or tree
- Decorate and place a rock in your garden or around your home
- Hang a flag
- Make a toy for a shelter pet (write a message on squeaker before stuffing or on frisbee)
- Incorporate pet’s tags or meaningful items into accessories (keychains, jewelry, car decor)
- Family Campfire (share stories and toss sprig of rosemary into fire in remembrance)
- Place votive light in your home and decorate glass/vase
- Rock painting and rock garden
- Decorate a pot or vase with their collar or other belongings
- Get a tattoo
- Incorporate cremains, pawprints, or noseprints into jewelry and/or decor
- Make holiday ornaments with pet’s picture
- Create a memory or shadow box of pet’s collar/leash/bowl/toys
- Donate to an animal shelter or animal-welfare cause (time or money)
- Journal about the loss
- Write letters or cards to pet (to and from pet)
- Make a windchime with pet’s picture
- Make a headstone
- Decorate a birdhouse
- Frame a picture
- Donate pet’s belongings to accepting animal organizations
Getting the Conversation Started with your Family
- Share your favorite memory with your pet.
- What will you always remember about your pet?
- Where were some of your pet’s favorite places?
- What were some of your pet’s favorite toys?
- What were some of your pet’s favorite treats?
- What were some of your pet’s favorite activities?
- How did your pet like to show their love?
- Share your favorite picture of your pet.