pet memorials

Remembering our Pet Companions

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Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day on August 28th sets aside a day to remember the pet companions we've lost. The death of a pet, whether furry, feathered, or an uncommon variety, is felt deeply. They become family and a familiar part of our lives.

Everything we do at Arbor Memorial is guided by our fundamental belief that every life is unique – and every memorial should be too. That belief shapes the way we work with families to find meaningful ways to celebrate and remember the lives most important to them. This includes the lives of our pets.

While we do not provide pet cremation or pet cemeteries solutions at this time, our team of professionals can work with you to explore the many ways to personalize a memorial service or keepsake as a way to heal, and a way to say goodbye to your pet companion.

History of Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day

Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day was founded by Deborah Barnes, author and blogger of Zee & Zoey’s Cat Chronicles, as a tribute to Mr. Jazz, her cat, who passed away on August 28, 2013. Barnes shared her experience of love and loss in her book, Purr Prints of the Heart – A Cat’s Tale of Life, Death, and Beyond. The overwhelming reader response inspired her to establish Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day in his honour for others to share memories of the pets they have lost, regardless of whether they were dogs, cats, birds or fish.

Many share pictures, poems, favourite memories or videos of their loyal companions on social media, while others hold a memorial or another event to celebrate their brief lives. 

2021 Rainbow Bridge Memorial Service

Our teams at the following locations are hosting Rainbow Bridge Memorial Services this year in memory of our pets that have crossed the rainbow bridge. All events are free to the public. Please visit their Facebook pages for more information.

Coping with the Loss of a Pet

Setting aside the proper time to mourn and memorialize your pet is an essential part of the healing process. Here are some tips to get you (or a friend in a similar position) through the difficult times ahead:

  • Be gentle with yourself. The pain of losing a companion is devastating, and although it can be difficult to face, it's important to carve out the proper time to mourn. Sometimes we want to turn away from the grief and keep up appearances, but your to-do list can wait and your friends and family are there to support you in this difficult time. 
  • Memorialization is a path toward healing. When a pet passes on, they don't just disappear, they will always have a "place" in the family. Finding a way to honour them is an important part of a healthy healing process. Memorializing your pet can bring you the closure you need and provide a sweet reminder of the good things they brought to your life. Arbor Memorial can work with you to create a memorial service just for them, such as creating personalized keepsakes, stationary, or holding a memorial or celebration of life service.

A community to heal you. Although grief is a highly individualistic experience, we grieve within communities. Entire communities can even grieve in their own way. It’s important to recognize when you need support during your grief process. Such support could look like calling an understanding friend and going on your first walk together after the death of your animal or getting a cup of coffee. It may also look like seeking support from a helping professional to process through the pain and anxieties of losing your pet. There are many free resources available online and in person for those going through pet bereavement.

Honouring your Pet’s Memory

The death of an animal friend can be one of life’s most difficult experiences. More than just a pet, they were your playmate and trusted confidante. They were your faithful pal. That’s why you may want to offer a lasting tribute to such a special friend. Gestures of remembrance, large or small, provide comfort by celebrating a pet’s life and the incredible power of the bond between humans and animals.

Here are a few ways to memorialize your pet and ease the pain of their passing by celebrating their life:

  • Plant a tree
  • Hold a memorial service or celebration of life
  • Create a photo album or slideshow
  • Personalize a keepsake (e.g. bookmark, garden stone, candle, calendar)
  • Customize a permanent memorial urn
  • Donate (e.g. to your pet’s favourite park or to an animal shelter)
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