For many pet parents, the death of a beloved pet can be heart breaking. As both a member of the family and your best friend, your pet’s companionship meant the world to you. It is natural to feel a profound grief when it comes to facing life without your four-legged friend at your side.

Yet many pet owners feel that their grief is marginalized in our fast-paced society, so they don’t take the time to honor their loss and heal their heart, as they would for a friend or relative that has passed away. This process can often be exactly what is needed though.

Celebrating Your Pet’s Life

One of the most overlooked aspects of pet loss is memorializing your pet. This doesn’t necessarily mean holding a graveside service, but instead finding a way to honor your pet’s memory that is right for you.

Maybe that way is holding a traditional memorial for your fallen friend, but it may also include taking a long walk along your pet’s favorite route and reminiscing over the good times you shared, planting a pet-friendly flower garden in your yard, or honoring your pet’s memory by volunteering at a local shelter, helping pets in need. Whatever you choose, be kind to yourself in the process, and allow yourself to feel the complex array of emotions that may come up during the day.

Taking the Time You Need: Pet Memorial Day

If you and your family have been looking for the right time to celebrate your pet’s life, then this Sunday may be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

September 14 is National Pet Memorial Day – this day was created in an effort to give pet owners the opportunity to take a break from their fast-paced lives and memorialize their pets without anxiety or judgement. And while you can certainly honor your pet at any time that is right for you and your family, this memorial day may be just the encouragement you and your loved ones have been needing.

We Are Here to Help

Union Lake Veterinary Hospital is fortunate to to work with certified Pet Bereavement Counselor, Kate Josephson. If you or someone in your family is struggling with the emotional pain of pet loss, we encourage you to contact Kate for additional support in this difficult time. There is no charge for consulting with Kate during your bereavement, and the compassionate insight she offers can make all the difference during your time of need.

We also offer a number of online pet loss support services as well. Our pet loss library is a very useful resource to help you through the grieving process by offering grief support articles and stories, with a featured story every month.

Or, you may choose to add your pet’s picture to ULVH’s pet picture gallery or add your pet’s name to the Nicole J. Redisch Memorial Wall and Garden where, for a modest donation, your pet’s name can be engraved on the wall along with the names of many other pets we have treated and who have passed on. All proceeds from the memorial wall and garden are donated to ovarian or pet cancer research.

Coping with the loss of a pet can be difficult. As you work through the grieving process, please know that we are here to help you during this emotional time. As pet owners ourselves, we understand how you are feeling, and hope you know that you are not alone.