Pet memorials can be a helpful and comforting way of remembering and commemorating the life of a pet that is no longer with you. Creating a memorial to your pet will serve as a lasting testament to the unique bond that was shared between you.

Create a pet memorial by writing a few words or a poem describing what your pet meant to you. You may like to include a favourite photograph if you wish. You may wish to frame the memorial and display it at home. If you’d like to share your memorial with us, please considering sharing your words and photo to our Facebook timeline.

Most of us who have pets have to part with them at some stage in their lives. This is never easy and sometimes it can help to talk to someone who understands. We at Girling and Bowditch offer emotional support and information for anyone experiencing the loss of a much-loved pet, whatever the circumstances.

You may find it helpful to read the information below. Not only will it give you written support during this sad time, but it also gives you advice about where you can find confidential help should you want to talk to someone other than the team at Girling and Bowditch.

When you lose a pet

We know that losing a pet can be extremely difficult. We’ve all been through it, and wanted to put together some advice to help you as much as we can.

Coping with the loss of your pet

Many people have suffered the loss of a loved one at some time in their lives and have had to find a way of coping with that loss. Losing your pet is no different as we spend lots of time with them, watching them grow and play. We make sure we look after them by keeping them safe and seeking advice when they are sick, just as you or I would with a family member or friend.

Because our pets form a large part of our lives, when it’s time to say goodbye to them it leaves a big hole in our hearts. Daily routines are no longer there, our pets no longer greet us as they used to do. Pets give us love and affection in return for ours, they help us through sad and difficult times and they are a great friend when we need to talk to someone. It is understandable that when we lose this connection we feel lost and grief stricken.

Here at Girling & Bowditch, we like to take care of our clients well-being as well as their pets, especially when they are experiencing a loss. Please let us reassure you that whatever you feel is a natural response to the loss you have suffered. You may have family and friends who also have to cope with loss too. For this very reason we have put together information that we hope will help you, and others, through this daunting time.

Grief Reactions

People react in many different ways when they have lost their pet, you may even experience additional reactions not listed below. Some people also experience grief even before their pet had passed away because they anticipate what will happen, all of which is perfectly natural.

There are sometimes strong deep feelings that we experience such as numbness – we feel disbelief and are unable to comprehend what we are experiencing. We may yearn for our pet resulting in what we perceive to be a physical pain inside us. Some people experience denial and anger and perhaps a difficulty to accept what is happening, as well as strong feelings of guilt. People may feel guilty for having to make the decision to put their pet to sleep even if the reason was to prevent suffering and was the kindest gesture they could make for their pet.

Emotional reactions such as sadness, shock, and depression are all very common. Sometimes we start to think very deeply and perhaps become introverted, feeling less sociable than we would usually. We may seek information about the illness/injury from which our pet suffered to reassure ourselves that we did the right thing, we may repeat or go over things in our minds that we or the vet or other people said in relation to our pet, we may even re-run the events of that particular day over in our minds too. Some people may turn to or even away from religion.

Physical reactions we may experience are crying, insomnia – being unable to sleep, tiredness/lethargy, agitation or an inability to sit still. Illness such as vomiting and/or diarrhoea or becoming susceptible to colds are common, we may even find ourselves searching for our pets in and around our home.

Past Experiences

Our past experiences of loss can also re-surface during this time. We may have similar feelings to what we have felt before. Whether we lost a family member or friend or another pet it does not matter, passed experiences will have an influence on us later in life. This may mean that we understand what we are going through to some extent, it could also mean re-living upsetting moments or memories that have until now lay dormant. We never forget our experiences of loss but it is quite natural when we suffer a recent loss that painful memories of the passed will be brought to the forefront of our minds and re-experienced.

Expressing feelings and emotions

Expressing feelings and emotions…

As many people will agree, it is important that you are able to talk about your experiences with someone who understands what you are feeling. Of course every person is different in that their relationship with their animal will be unique to them and so you may want to talk about particular things you did together as companions to help people understand even more about you and what your experiences together. Family and friends are usually good listeners for who many turn to for help. But sometimes we can find this relationship too close to us and may even feel in some circumstances that we may be judged for how we have lived with our pets and the choices we have had to make for them. This may leave us feeling isolated and result in worsening feelings of anxiety, sadness or depression.

Finding the right help for you

Finding the right help for you…

The Pet Bereavement Support Service is a confidential service run by fully trained volunteers in association with The Blue Cross. They will listen and help you with no judgement or opinions. The PBSS help people who not only have lost their pet through death, but other circumstances too. If you would like to contact the Pet Bereavement Support Service you may do so on 0800 096 6606 between the hours of 8:30am and 8:30pm or email them at pbssmail@bluecross.org.uk they will help you confidentially and at no cost to you.

Our team here at the surgery are also more that happy to talk with you about your pet and your experiences openly if you prefer this and feel that it would help you in your time of grief.

We can be contacted on 01308 862312 or by emailing us at girlingbowditch@aol.com, we will help you confidentially and without judgment or opinions.

Useful information

There are also some practical things to think about when your pet passes on, and we have put together some useful information to help you.

When your pet has passed

We at Honeysuckle Veterinary Surgery understand how deeply distressing and sometimes traumatic the death of your pet can be for the loved ones around them. Our team of vets, nurses and receptionists will be very supportive of you and will take great care in listening to your individual needs as well as that of your pet.

Everyone is different in the way they grieve and cope during their time of loss; some people believe that when a pet has died the body and what happens to it does not matter. Other people wish to know how we will treat their pet’s body, where they will go, and what the options are after they have passed. Let us reassure you that you and your pet will be treated with the utmost respect and dignity throughout, which is important for a treasured member of your family, and will remain here at the surgery before being taken to the crematorium.

We have written below the many options available to you after your pet has passed; take your time to read through these options, remember there is no pressure or judgment about what choice you will make for your pet.

Burial at home

Burial at home

We can visit you at your home to put your pet to sleep in a familiar environment if you wish us to do so and leave your pet with you to bury them in your own time in a special place you have chosen for them. Alternatively you may wish to bring your pet into the surgery and take them home afterwards. We respect whichever choice you may make. Please be aware there are a few legal requirements you will need to take into consideration when burying your pet at home: they must be buried at a depth of 1.25m and be 3m away from a water source, main cables and service pipes.

Cremation

Communal cremation

This type of cremation means that your pet will be cremated alongside several other pets after which their ashes will be scatted at the pet crematorium. Alternatively, our pet crematorium can provide you with a ‘token’ of ashes from your pet’s communal cremation if you wish to scatter them in a place of your choice

Individual cremation

Some people like to have solely their own pet’s ashes back to keep or scatter. During this type of service your pet will be cremated individually, guaranteeing only your own pet’s ashes will remain afterwards. With prior arrangement, our pet crematorium will also welcome you if you wish to attend the funeral of your pet.

Your pet’s ashes can be returned to you in a variety of ways depending upon whether you would like to scatter them or keep them, such as;

  • Urns made of slate and silver, china, or pewter and bronze, or contemporary urns turned in rubber tree wood.
  • Caskets made of natural or deluxe wood.
  • Tributes (in the shape of a dog or cat)
  • Tribute frame (a quality picture frame, with a discreet slim line ashes casket mounted behind)

We welcome you to see the crematorium where your pet will be taken and the services they can offer you: www.pcsonline.org.uk, alternatively you can call them on 01747 839809 to ask for a leaflet, they will also answer any questions you may wish to ask.

Pet Cemetery Burial

To some, the benefits of burying their pet at a cemetery means that they do not need to worry if they decide to move house as they will not be leaving their pet behind. It can also a place to visit at special times of the year whether that be a birthday or indeed an anniversary of any kind, or even if it is to simply say hello and have some private time to yourself.

There are many cemeteries in our area, and in fact all over the UK other than the crematorium we use, which can be found by looking on the internet, in the yellow pages, or asking your local council.

There is also a pet cemetery in Cornwall of a slightly different kind in that, if you wish to be buried alongside your pet, you can be. Penwith Pet Crematorium is able to hold funerals for dogs and cats, horses and humans alike. Please look at the lovely services they can offer at www.petsandpeopletogetherforever.co.uk. Alternatively you can call them on 01736 731310 and they will be able to talk you though the variety of services they offer.

Taxidermy and freeze-drying

This intricate type of service will preserve your pet’s body in a way that it can be displayed. Please visit www.taxidermy.co.uk and they will provide you with the information you need on this service. There are also listed below some contact details for people who carry out this service. Please note that we do not make recommendations therefore do not accept any responsibility for any company you wish to employ.

Chris Elliott: 01823 733022 / 07788 971637 / info@taxidermist.uk.com

Philip Leggett: 01204 523622 / 07971 871054 /  info@taxidermyuk.net

James jackson: 0151 929 3413

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