Honoring A Pet As They Pass

One of the most important facets of having end-of-life care happen outside of the veterinary office, for me, is the ability to make that passing special for both the pet and the family.  Ritual and ceremony are incredibly important to us, and creating a personal, unique event to honor the passing of a family member can be both a comfort and a cultural touchstone.

Often, people aren’t sure quite how to do this for a belovet pet – our culture doesn’t have a framework for the passing of a pet, as it does for other humans.   There are so many ways to create something unique to yourself and your family, though.  Sometimes this can be as simple as reading a favorite poem or saying a prayer; other times I’ve attended parties or sat in as families shared honored memories at a passing.  Recently I was honored to be present at one of the most beautiful passings I’ve ever attended, though, and I’m going to share her story there for anyone wondering how to create a special last day and farewell.


Bella started out the day with her favorite meal….
Then she got to go for a drive around the city.
When she got home, she was allowed to share a piece of chocolate (a stolen treat when she was a puppy!)
A toast was shared, to a life well-lived....
A toast was shared, to a life well-lived….
Her brother and sister couldn’t be there in person, but her sister visited via FaceTime and her stuffed soldier stood in for her big brother….
Finally, Bella curled up in mom’s arms and fell asleep listening to her favorite song, and passed from this life.
And a much younger Bella, on her first day at home. Thank you so much, Princess, for a beautiful life and a memorable passing. You will always be loved and missed.