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10 Ways to Honor Your Pet on National Pet Memorial Day

National Pet Memorial Day is a special holiday for pet parents which is observed on the second Sunday each September. The first Pet Memorial Day was celebrated over 40 years ago and it continues to grow in popularity each year. It is a unique day carved out in our hectic, yearly calendar to reflect upon, celebrate and honor the memories of beloved pets that have passed on, but still have a special place in our hearts.


It’s a great day to share with others what a tremendous impact pets make and how their bond is everlasting. If you would like to share your memories, you can use #NationalPetMemorialDay to post pictures and remembrances of your pet online for all to see. In addition, the ideas below can help you pay tribute to your pet while at the same time effecting a positive change in your family’s life.

1. Visit your Pet

Take flowers, wreaths, lights or decorate the site with things your pet treasured in life. The site might need some tidying up if it is not professionally managed. If you feel up to it, consider talking to your pet while there.

2. Light a Candle

Lighting a candle is an excellent way to remember a beloved pet. You can also light it on their birthday and/or the day they passed - to honor their memory. To stay safe, remember to put the candle out if it’s going to be unattended.

3. Plant a tree, bush or flowers

A great way to honor your pet that has crossed the rainbow bridge, is to plant a tree, bush or flowers to help remember them by. The entire family can participate in the dedication of a living memorial to your pet. If you want to leave the planting to someone else, the Arbor Day Foundation’s Trees for Pets program presents an opportunity for a tree to be planted in memory of your pet. And a personalized card or certificate is sent identifying where the tree has been planted.

4. View Photos & Videos

Going through photos and watching videos that feature your pet is a reassuring way to remember them on this special day. Gathering printed photos to view and possibly frame, or viewing digital pictures and making sure they are stored in the right places and backed up, is a productive way to honor your pet’s memory. You can even make a scrapbook out of pictures and some of their favorite keepsakes.

5. Reflect on Memories

It’s important to periodically reflect on memories of your pet so it is easier to remember details long-term. National Pet Memorial Day is a great time for remembering all the good times and happiness your pet brought you. In addition, reflecting on memories gives us an emotional boost and allows us to heal even faster.

6. Keepsake Box

Write down what your pet meant to you and your feelings about your pet. Feel free to include pictures, small keepsakes, dog tags, decorations, collars, leashes, toys, etc. that would make for an interesting display.

7. Revisit your Pet’s Favorite Things 

Many pet parents keep their pet’s collars, bowls, toys, personalized bedding, etc. It can be comforting to take these items out from time to time and reflect on how important they were to your pet and how many fond memories are attached to them. National Pet Memorial Day is a perfect time to remember your pet through these items they needed and loved.

8. Volunteer

Rescue groups and animal shelters always need help. What better way to honor your pet’s memory than by donating some of your time and talent to help other pets in need. You can help walk or socialize dogs, comfort cats waiting to be adopted, or assist in getting these organizations more noticed so it is easier for pets to find new homes.

9. Make a Donation

Every non-profit organization needs monetary donations. And organizations that help animals are especially in need of more funding. Especially local animal organizations. You can make a donation in your pet’s name and help another animal find its happy place in life.

10. Adopt or Foster

If you have the ability to welcome in and take care of a new pet, adopting or fostering a dog or cat can be rewarding in many ways. Your pet would want you to help out another pet in need. And it would help the overcrowding situation at many animal shelters or within organizations that need foster help. It can also quicken the healing process. And most importantly, another pet would be forever grateful and fortunate to have you as their pet parent.

There are countless ways to remember and honor a pet on National Pet Memorial Day and beyond.  The best way for you is what feels the most natural and comfortable.  Whichever way you choose to celebrate and remember your pet, it will be the perfect solution for you and for the pet that will forever have a place in your heart.

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