Sunday, September 8, 2019

National Pet Memorial Day

Today is National Pet Memorial Day. National Pet Memorial Day was established by the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories (IAPC) more than 40 years ago and is celebrated on the second Sunday in September. This day allows pet lovers a moment to remember their lost furry companions and show their appreciation for the love, memories, and joys they gave them while still on Earth. Memories can help replace the empty space in your heart from the loss of a beloved pet.

I wrote a post a few days ago for Rainbow Remembrance Day with the title, "It's Just a Cat. NOT!" to address how important our pets are in our lives. Pets become members of our family and are a familiar and comforting part of our lives. When we lose a pet, the pain can be overbearing and is genuine. Everyone mourns the death of a pet in different ways. Some may plant a tree, shrub, or flower as a memorial. Others may create a stepping stone with a paw print of their furry companion or have their pet's ashes made into a pendent. 

Memory shelves that includes the ashes of Sweet Praline and Beignet

Sweet Praline Memories

We just celebrated Rainbow Remembrance Day last week and I shared stories about Praline, who was my first Persian Cat. Today is National Pet Memorial Day and I wanted to take a moment to honor her memory.The photo below is one of my favorites of Sweet Praline. This photo was taken about 6 weeks prior to Praline being helped to the Rainbow Bridge because of cancer. Praline was born on September 25, 1995 in Columbia, SC to two beautiful Persian Cats. Her dad was a red tabby Persian and her mom was a seal-point Himalayan. Praline was registered with the Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA) as Miss Paula's Sweet Praline. She came to live with me on December 12, 1995 when I was in my first year of graduate school working on my Ph.D. You can read details about her Gotcha Day on Sweet Praline's website. I began a blog about Praline in 2008 called Sweet Praline and it's still active today. I revisit her blog each year on special days of her life with me. 
Tortoiseshell Persian, Sweet Praline, looking out window
Praline looking out the window about 6 weeks before she left for the Bridge

When I lost Praline, I was devastated! To help with my grief, I continued to write on her blog until her blogoversary and shared stories, photographs, and memories. I made a video that shared her life in photographs and posted it on her webpage the day I helped her on her journey to the Rainbow Bridge. When I received her ashes, I made a special place for her on shelves of my secretary desk. I surrounded her box with photographs, her favorite toy, some locks of her fur, and a praline figurine a friend sent me. Even though the pain was almost unbearable at times, I felt some comfort when I'd look at those shelves.

Beignet Memories

Beignet - 11 weeks old
Photo credit Terri Rogers

Beignet was Truffle's litter mate and was supposed to come live with me, but God had other plans. Beignet was born on June 2, 2011 and was the only other kitten in the litter with Truffle. Beignet's parents were two silver shaded Persians: Chloe and Jayden. Beignet was never registered (even though he was eligible) because he died on August 24, 2011 as the result of a sarcoma that developed from his first vaccination. I shared a detailed post about Beignet on this blog and I encourage you to visit it to read about my special little mancat.

It had only been 4 months (within 1 day) from losing Praline that I lost Beignet. I had visited the cattery several times that summer and already had a connection with him. When Terri brought Truffle to me and was pulling items out of the bag (blanket, toys, food, etc.) she hesitated a moment and quietly said, "I had hoped to bring you two kittens today..." She then pulled out a tiny gold and black urn and said, "I wanted to bring you a part of him." She'd separated Beignet's ashes and shared them with me. Beignet's urn was placed beside Praline's on the memory shelf. As I took photos this morning, I realized I needed to put a framed photograph of him beside his urn. The photograph above was taken only a few days before he died.

Observation of National Pet Memorial Day

Photo book of Praline

I've chosen to observe this day by sharing how I've memorialized my previous Persian cats, Praline and Beignet. Here are some possible ways you may choose to memorialize your pets.
  • Memorial Tattoo. If you like tattoos or always wanted to get one, but didn't know what you'd use, you may consider getting a tattoo of a photo or the name of your cat(s).
  • Create a Photo Album. Cherish those memories with a photo album of your pet(s). You may choose to make an "old fashioned" album by putting actual photos in a notebook and write stories beside each photo. You may also consider making a photo book of favorite photos and stories. 
  • Write a Poem. If you love to write poetry, consider putting your memories of your special fur child to words.
  • Donate to a Shelter in Your Pet's Name. Consider donating (monetary or product) to your local shelter in your special pet's name. You can also donate to national organizations in memory of your pet. This way you are helping others as you honor your pet's memory.
  • Share memories of your pets on social media using #NationalPetMemorialDay. 
Remember, our pets become part of our families and we should always remember the joys and comfort they brought to our lives.

How have you memorialized your special furry family member?

Would you like to comment?

  1. I have photos of our missing friends on the blog, and have a photo of Chuck on the wall, plus the last wooly sock that he carried is still where he left it. Hugs and purrs on this remembrance day.

  2. All of those memories are so special and never fade.

  3. My human still gets sad when she thinks of Beignet.

  4. What adorable babies your Sweet Praline and Beignet and though they were in this world for a brief amount of time, Mom and I can tell that they meant the world to you. When the white Persian kitty before me went OTRB Mom wrote a long poem about him and wrote in a diary for several months as a way to help her cope. She also made a photo album which she looks at from time to time. Hugs for you as you remember your loved ones.

  5. Great ideas for remembering the cats we share our lives with. I love what you've done for yours. Kitty is the only cat I've lost so far - and my hope in having the blog is that my memories of my two and me will be saved. I guess that's my way of honoring them. I've forgotten so many things about Kitty and I want it to be different with Bear and Ellie.

  6. It is never easy to lose a furry loved one! I have had many pets over the years ranging in so many different sizes and they all hold a special place in my heart.

  7. We have paintings of our pups who have past and place them theoughout the house. It helps keep the memories and their spirits alive. I love this day - I give thanks to all that our past critters have taught me!

  8. Praline and Beignet were beautiful Persians. I’m sorry for their loss. The artwork on the top of your post is lovely too. I have a garden to memorialize my lost furbabies.

  9. Pets are family and to me Babu is my baby! Their memories will help us tide through a lifetime. So sorry for the loss of Praline and Beignet!

  10. Pets leave a permanent paw print on our hearts. I don't have much room for memorials in my apartment, but I do have a photo of Cinco next to his urn and ceramic paw print. I added a small chain to Obi-Wan's collar so that I could wear it myself when I want to remember him. I miss them both very much. Thank you for sharing your memories of Praline and Beignet. They are so precious!

  11. Donating to a pet shelter in my pet's name. That sounds like such an awesome idea! I'll have keep that in mind when the time comes.

  12. Losing our closest friends is tough. They have a special place in our hearts and leave the biggest gaps. Every cat we have had is missed as though the loss was a recent one.

    We are lucky to have them, even if they don't stay as long as we want them too.

  13. It is so hard to lose a loved one, and pets are some of the most important members of a family. I love your suggestions of different ways to memorialize a pet. One of my sisters has art work that reminds her of her beloved dogs and cats. (Some were commissioned, others she just found and they reminded her of a certain pet.)

  14. I truly appreciate memorial days but we, personally, chose to remember the lives rather then remember the end.

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