Obituaries: Not Just for People Anymore
Information generally given (if available) for an obituary, is the pet’s (or persons) full name. The birth and death dates and places as well as the burial place. Next include any life events or traits that those left behind desire to put in the document.
Obituaries may be short or long, depending on the writer, the subject of the piece and the relationship between the writer and the subject. The goal should be to tell others enough about the subject to spark the good memories of that pet (or person).
Obituaries are a tribute to those who have passed on usually written by the loved ones left behind. For people, they are usually published in the local newspaper. For our pets, however, it is rare to see an obituary in the newspaper. Fortunately with social media pet obituaries (or obituaries for cars and other items) can be made public. Writing obituaries is not an enviable process, but one that very few of us get out of. For people an obituary is a given. For loved pets an obituary should be.
Pets, with some exceptions are as beloved as family members, and as such deserve the same kinds of respect and services that humans deserve. There are pet cemeteries, coffins and head-stones, (look on-line, as it’s unlikely you’ll find a local shop with these items) available for most pets. Unfortunately with tight, un-forgiving budgets and the typically shorter life span for pets, many pets barely get a quiet burial in a cardboard box in the back yard and perhaps a brief grave-side service. Headstones, if any are small and un-obtrusive, and come memorial day pets are often forgotten. However, there is one service that can be done for all pets and that service can last for years. It is the simple act of writing an obituary.
Shortly after my father died, his pet raven also died. The raven was a family pet, and having recently written my father's obituary, it seemed only natural that I should write one for our pet that passed away. If nothing else, it made me feel better, and that was the beginning of a tradition.
The process of writing an obituary, whether for people or pets is fairly simple. Name, age and date of birth (if known)and death date, followed by the things that made the individual unique, or special. A picture is usually included as well as details on services that were (or will be) held. The obituary then becomes a memorial to those who have passed on that can be shared and passed on from generation to generation.
Pets as well as People, deserve a well written obituary. It is the one service anyone can do for those who have passed on.