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Remembering our animal companions on National Pet Memorial Day

Each year, on the second Sunday in September, National Pet Memorial Day remembers and celebrates the bonds we have with our pets, and honors their memory. Falling on September 11 this year, the day is especially poignant.

For many, the loss of a pet evokes strong emotions, and can be a terribly traumatic event. Pets bring richness to our lives. They teach us valuable lessons, help us to grow, and become our family and our friends.

Because of this bond, it is natural to grieve our loss. Grief can bring a wide array of reactions, all of which are equally valid and important for our own mourning process. Shock and disbelief, guilt and regret, disorganization and confusion – no matter what you feel, acknowledging these thoughts is essential.

Healing is truly the process of turning grief into mourning. Although these terms may seem synonymous, grief is what we experience internally, and mourning is how we express it.

While there are many different tools to help you mourn your loss, people choose different paths. Lila Zlotowski, an employee at Morris Animal Foundation, has had her share of pet losses. A few years ago, she and her family lost two cats to feline infectious peritonitis.

“We couldn’t believe that two of our kittens had passed away from the same disease in such a short period of time,” said Lila. “It was devastating.”

Lila and her family celebrated the lives of their cats, Niko and Boris, by sharing their stories, connecting with their own support network, and taking time for themselves to heal and recharge.

They also memorialized the lives of their adored cats, and marked their burials with beautifully engraved stones. “It’s difficult,” said Lila, “but we have come to terms with their loss and will always remember them.”  

Lila’s family chose one way to remember their beloved cats that was special and personal. There are many other ways to remember and honor the life of a beloved pet. These include planting a tree or flower in memory of a pet, making a scrapbook or making a donation in a pet’s name. Morris Animal Foundation recognizes these individual preferences, and provides several different ways you can honor your pet.

Categories: Memorialize a pet
September 9, 2016