When you lose your pet, the grief you feel can be very real and even overwhelming. Memorializing your beloved animal companion with a written obituary can be a healing experience that allows you to express and document your emotions.
Facing the Loss
Losing your dog can be heart-wrenching, and it can be made even more difficult if people around you downplay your grief or ridicule your loss as being, “only a pet.” Seek pet loss support groups or grief counselors who can help you through this difficult time, and ask for the support and understanding of those closest to you. Plan a memorial for your pet, if you feel compelled, and write an obituary that details all of the most cherished elements of her life.
Distribute the obituary to friends or family who will recognize your loss. Post the obit on social media or make it available on forums dedicated to offering support for pet loss.
Open your obituary with an announcement of your dog’s passing and a brief mention of whether services or a memorial will be held. For example, “The Smith family’s beloved poodle Mitzy passed away on June 1, surrounded by loved ones, after a brief battle with cancer. A memorial luncheon will be held at the Smith home Sunday afternoon for all who would like to say goodbye to Mitzy as she’s laid to rest in the family rose garden.”
Format the obituary with your dog’s name, date of birth and death, and a photograph.
Include favorite memories that will touch friends and family reading the tribute. For example, “No one will ever forget how Mitzy stole the turkey drumstick from Uncle Fred on her first Thanksgiving in her forever home,” or, “We will always remember how Mitzy loyally spent day and night by Robert’s crib when he got measles as a baby.”
Include loved ones in your writing, mentioning other pets and family members. “Mitzy will be forever cherished by Stanley, Meredith, Robert and Julie, as well as by her furry adopted brothers, Max and Fluffy.”
Documenting a Life
Conclude with a descriptive phrase that characterizes your dog’s unique qualities and characteristics and demonstrates the impact she had on your life. For example, “Mitzy was a lovable and mischievous companion for more than 14 years. She loved to sit in the sun, warm a lap or offer comfort at the end of a long day. She will be greatly missed by everyone in the Smith family.”
If you would like to solicit contributions to a favored animal charity in your pet’s name, include the details in the obituary, with links if the tribute will be distributed electronically. Close with a thank you to those reading your work. “Those of you reading this understand how the Smith family loves and cherishes our animal companions. Thank you for recognizing and being supportive of our grief during this difficult time.”
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.