June 8, 2005, VANCOUVER – June 12 is World Pet Memorial Day and a wonderful time to remember and honour our beloved pets who have passed away says The Humane Society of Canada (HSC).
“There are over 15 million, dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, fish and other animals living in our homes who are just ‘one of the family’”, says Al Hickey, HSC Western Regional Director. “If you’ve ever been nudged by a cold wet nose, or listened to the sound of a contented purr, then you know what I’m talking about.”
HSC Executive Director Michael O'Sullivan, whose family lives with a household of dogs and cats believes that our pets also make us better people; “We can learn a lot from animals: unconditional love, loyalty and kindness with no strings attached.” He says that honouring a pet who has passed away is particularly important for children, and he speaks from first hand experience.
“Just a short time ago, we lost ‘Ashe’ our beautiful gentle cat who passed away after twenty years, and it was tough on all of us, especially our children. Our ten year old daughter wrote a beautiful story about how much ‘Ashe’ meant to us, and before ‘Ashe’ died, our son spent every waking moment caring for her,” says O’Sullivan.
"The bond that we share with our pets is so strong that the grief that we experience with their passing can be very intense and it is important to learn how to deal with this grief. Paying tribute to a beloved pet can be an important part of the mourning process that helps us to begin healing," says O'Sullivan.
Knowing the importance of expressing feelings for a deceased pet and the benefits of honouring these animals, The Humane Society of Canada has also created a Book of Remembrance on their popular website which allows people to create a memorial to their pets by writing about them and even including photographs of them. Each week, thousands of visitors from Canada and around the world visit the site. The memorial is perpetual and there is no charge for this service.
To help people cope with their loss and mourn their pets The Humane Society of Canada has reviewed several books on pet loss, including children's books, in their online library here.
10 More Ways to Memorialize an Animal Companion
- Plant a tree or bush in memory of your pet.
- If you are ready, adopt an animal in need from a shelter or pound.
- Have a ceremony with family and friends where people talk about the deceased pet’s life.
- Children can draw pictures or write a story about their “best friend.”
- Make a photo album of your pet.
- Make a remembrance box containing special items of your pet, like his/her collar.
- Place a framed photo of your animal companion in a place of prominence.
- Honour your pet’s memory by helping out at an animal shelter or making a donation to a humane society in memory of your animal companion.
- Educate others about the joys of sharing your life with a pet – especially a pet in need.
- Support organizations that help pets.
“Animals ask for so little and give us back so much in return. They are there in good times and in bad, asking only that we return their affection with kindness,” he says.
CONTACT: Michael O'Sullivan by toll free 1-800-641-KIND or Michael on his cell phone (416) 876-9685 or at www.humanesociety.com via twitter at www.twitter.com/HSCanada and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Humane-Society-of-Canada/211468055538280
[For more than 17 years, Al Hickey was the Chief Executive of the BC SPCA and before that headed up the Alberta and BC Chambers of Commerce, and was the Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Vancouver. He has been The HSC Western Regional Director for over 12 years. He has 4 children and 6 grandchildren. For his lifetime of achievement dedicated to helping people, animals and the environment, we have bestowed upon him our prestigious Heroes for Animals Award, shared by only a handful of people and organizations.
A father with two children, and a houseful of dogs and cats, Michael O'Sullivan has worked across Canada and in over 110 countries during the last 40 years helping people, animals and nature.]
The Humane Society of Canada (HSC) works to protect dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and small animals, livestock, lab animals, wildlife and the environment. We carry out hands on programs to help animals and nature, mount rescue operations, expose cruelty through hard hitting undercover investigations, work to pass laws to protect animals, use a multidisciplinary approach, support animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centres, and spread the word about how to help animals and nature through humane education.
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