Each year, during the second week in June, San Diego pet parents set aside some time to remember our animal friends that have died. World Pet Memorial Day provides the perfect opportunity to to celebrate their lives, recalling the love they shared and the reasons we chose to bring them into our home. And this year, we're observing World Pet Memorial Day on Tuesday, June 10th.
But why do we adopt pets? Is it because they’re cute or insanely funny? Maybe it’s because they offer love without any conditions and they're not judgmental.
Years ago, dogs and cats were provisioned for practical purposes, serving their owners as hunting guides, security guards and pest control specialists. However, things have changed. Today, there are over 70 million pet dogs and 74.1 million pet cats in the U.S, alone. And for the most part they're treated well, living healthy productive lives as animal athletes, companion animals, and in our case, important members of the family.
Here in the United States, it's estimated that we'll spend $58.51 billion on our pets during the 2014 calendar year. And with this in mind, it's easy to understand why San Diego pet owners make home euthanasia and pet cremation arrangements when facing the end of their animal friend's life. As caregivers, we make the courageous decision to provide our beloved pets with a dignified end-of-life experience.
When I recall my childhood pets, I can't help but think about my wildest adventures, accompanied by an airedale terrier named Buzz. Although my father categorized him as “man’s best friend,” I'm sure Buzz wasn't sexist. Whoever was there with a bowl of dog food had his complete attention. In fact, my mother preferred his company to that of humans. I think that's why his unexpected death was such a tragic loss for our family.
Nowadays, my time is spent helping San Diego pet parents make pet cremation arrangements. So, I've compiled a list of five things you can do to honor the memory of your beloved animal friend on World Pet Memorial Day.
Use Social Media – In my work, I come in daily contact with people who are suffering from the loss of a pet. After reading their comments on facebook, it occurred to me that social media may very well be the key to acceptance. Even if the people around you do not understand how you feel, there are hundreds of pet owners in San Diego who are coping with the loss of a beloved animal friend. Use your favorite social media platform to post a photo and share memorable story about your pet.
Preserve Memories – When my horse died unexpectedly, I collected her tack, keeping it with me as a treasured remembrance, inspiring me to write a poem about her black leather bridle. Many of my equestrian clients find comfort in a custom horsehair keepsake, while others turn to online resources, preserving memories with a photo book.
Speaking of photobooks, I've joined Photobook America as an affiliate. I selected Photobook America because you're important to me and they've agreed to offer extra value to you as a Thanicare mailing list subscriber.
Visit That Special Place – If your pet is buried in a San Diego pet cemetery, you might want to plan a visit to your pet's gravesite. Whether it's a gravestone or an old oak tree on your favorite urban trail, selecting a place where you can sit quietly and remember your pet can be a peaceful way to honor your animal friend on World Pet Memorial Day.
Donate to Charity – Honor your animal friend by donating to charity in his memory. It's a meaningful way to pay tribute and show how he lives on in your heart. A memorial gift to The Humane Society of the United States is a personal remembrance that honors the life of your pet. And a pet memorial donation to the Helen Woodward Animal Center here in San Diego helps provide for animals in need. With a pet memorial donation of $100 or more, you may add a personalized gold leaf to their beautiful Tree of Life mural in memory of your beloved animal companion.
Plan a Pet Memorial Service – Conduct a celebration of life ceremony. You may wish to invite family members, friends and acquaintances who have suffered a recent loss. I’ve attended a few of these events and have found them to be surprisingly positive, providing comfort for the bereaved during a difficult time.
Saying goodbye can be heartbreaking, but on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, you can join other San Diego pet parents, observing World Pet Memorial Day and remembering all the animals that have touched your life.
American Pet Products Association. (2014) “Pet Industry Market Size & Ownership Statistics.” APPA website. Retrieved 06/01/14 from http://www.americanpetproducts.org/press_industrytrends.aspAmerican Veterinary Medical Association. (2012) “Market Research Statistics.” U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook. Retrieved 06/01/14 from https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Statistics/Pages/Market-research-statistics-US-Pet-Ownership-Demographics-Sourcebook.aspx