Pet Loss Companioning
A Pet Loss Companion can help plan and prepare for the loss of a beloved pet. They know available options and can assist or create beautiful ceremonies for all stages of pet loss. They can provide practical, emotional, and spiritual support leading up to, during, and after the death.
Contact Madeline for compassionate support.
Read on for more resources, what to expect when holding a pet wake, downloadable instructions, and online classes on navigating pet death.
The passing of a beloved pet is one of the hardest experiences for many animal lovers. The sad reality is that we normally long outlive our little companions and will see them age and die in what seems like a few short years. While it's never easy, Madeline's intention is to help make it less of a burden.
Having learned from experience and listened to others about theirs, Madeline knows that one of the best things you can do after your friend has died, is to spend time with them.
Moving slowly and using ceremony and ritual can make all the difference in acknowledging the grief and loss. Finding meaning through something as simple as placing a flower with your pet can be healing and cathartic, allowing for a more peaceful passing.
Read more about how Madeline has kept her grief moving since the death of her two cats.
Things You Can Do
Here are some things you can do to ease the suffering for both you and your pet. Having conversations and planning ahead if possible is important, and as a Pet Loss Companion, Madeline can help you facilitate any or all of the below steps.
Home Euthanasia - Being at home will bring comfort you and your pet. Ask your veterinarian if they offer in-home euthanasia service. If they do not, you can search for a vet in your area who will. Some vets may require an examination prior to the home visit. You can also bring your pet home after they have been euthanized in a clinic if you wish.
Pet Wake - Holding a pet wake can be a beautiful goodbye. If you are comfortable with a more DIY approach, Madeline recommends this to everyone. Taking them home or keeping them there so you can spend more time to say goodbye is something very special. If you can't imagine doing this, read below to hear from someone with first-hand experience.
Click here for downloadable Pet Wake Instructions and Tips.
View the special gallery of photos from pet wakes Madeline has held.
Disposition - You can have a burial or cremation for your pet, or have the vet take your pet for cremation and return the ashes to you. It may also be possible for you to take them to a pet crematorium yourself depending on what is available in your area. Often they allow for a witnessed cremation as another way to say a final goodbye to your loved one.
Pet Wakes - What To Expect
Lori lost her 16-year-old Miniature Schnauzer, Kuzco, in February of 2022. With a little of Madeline's guidance, and Lori's innate ceremonial skills, she was able to hold a pet wake.
What is a pet wake? Often a pet wake takes place after they have died and before the chosen method of disposition. After taking Kuzco to the vet, Lori brought him home and asked Madeline to bring some ice packs to cool him down and keep him overnight. Madeline also gathered a small cardboard box to make Kuzco a bed, and some flowers.
Just like we have funerals and ceremonies for humans, we can do the same for our pets.
What is the point? Lori has had over a dozen pets throughout her life, including cats, birds, and horses. Her previous experiences had been bringing them home from the vet and burying them right away, maybe with a small note she had written. That was it. They were gone forever within hours.
The rushed manner in which our loved ones can be taken from us leaves us in a state of shock and disbelief. The idea of holding a pet wake is to spend more time to say goodbye and start coming to peace with what has transpired.
Is it weird or creepy? Lori's advice is to not feel creepy about it or be afraid of having them at home with you. She says, "Because they were your babies and it's a way that you really get to say goodbye to them. And if you feel at all that you would be okay with it, go for it. I put my mom's ashes into a locket and the funeral home offered to do it for me because they thought I might not want to handle the remains. Once I was doing it, I didn't feel afraid at all. So I think that's sort of what this showed me. I'm not afraid of the body being left without the life. It was still nice to be able to touch him (Kuzco), and talk to him, and thank him. To kiss him and play a song for him, and thank my Father in heaven for the gift of him."
What is the value? Lori says spending more time with Kuzco made it easier. Having him to herself the morning after, and moving slowly, "was really lovely." she reflected.
Holding a pet wake is a ceremony. The simple act of placing flowers around your pet with intention is a ritual within that ceremony. As interpreted from Be Ceremonial, ritual and ceremony can help us create meaning and share our stories during moments of change or times of transition.
For help in creating a beautiful ceremony for your pet, contact Madeline.
Note: Some links on this website are affiliate links. Madeline may earn a commission if a purchase is made through the link. She only recommends products or services that she believes in and has used.
Guides Through Grief
Death-positive public speaker and writer, Andrea Townsend, shares valuable insights on guiding clients through pet loss and grief, managing personal grief, and avoiding compassion fatigue. Enhance your skills and deepen your understanding of this universal human experience.