The experience of losing a pet and having to bury them is nothing short of traumatic. After all, pets are a part of your family and many people feel the loss of a pet every bit as much as they do if they lose a person in their life. For this reason, many people choose to plan pet memorial services and pet funerals to honor and share their pet's life and loss with the people around them. Planning and performing a pet memorial ceremony can be a critical step in the healing process.When planning a pet memorial ceremony, there are many small details to consider, including aspects of the burial. Many people choose to use pet headstones to formally mark the grave of their beloved pet. There are many different types and styles of pet headstones available on the internet that can be personalized to beautifully express the unique characteristics and personality of your pet.However, beyond what you carefully choose to have engraved on the headstone, there are many other things you can do to make the pet headstone more meaningful during the pet memorial ceremony. Similar to human grave markers, there are a number of creative things you can do to further personalize your pet's grave marker.During the service, place some of your favorite framed pictures around the headstone as well as a smattering of your pet's favorite toys and trinkets. Drape your pet's favorite blanket over the headstone for the service or bring your pet's favorite kennel or bedding to place alongside the grave site. As a symbol of their pet's life, many people light an eternity candle during the memorial service. Some pets even enjoy music, so you can play their favorites during the pet memorial ceremony. You can do as much - or as little - as you feel comfortable doing for your pet memorial service. The point is to convey as much of your pet's personality as possible through the service and decoration of the pet headstone.
Post-service, you can place fresh flowers on your pet's grave on a regular basis. However, it is not advisable to leave anything graveside that will spoil or deteriorate when left outdoors over a long period of time. Anything that you leave graveside should be as natural as possible, which is why flowers are the best and most common options for headstone decor. Each pet cemetery will have their rules for what you're able to leave graveside so be sure to check with them. They do all vary. Keep this in mind when choosing a pet cemetery or other location to lay your beloved pet to rest. Weigh the pros and cons with careful consideration. Some pet cemeteries will provide you with their own lanterns or electric candles that they will also maintain for you.Again, decorating your pet's grave marker is specific to your own personal tastes and style. You should do whatever makes you feel comfortable and honors your pet with dignity. The goal of a pet memorial service is to pay tribute to all of the love and joy that your pet gave you so generously. Therefore, all of your preparations should be focused on honoring the love that you shared with your pet.------Colleen Mihelich is a Pet Loss Expert and the founder of Peternity.com, a website dedicated to celebrating and honoring the love we share with our pets. Visit Peternity.com to post a free online pet memorial and to receive free pet loss support gifts.