Leesburg community will honor beloved lost pets in annual Pet Remembrance Candlelight Ceremony

Image Source: Ellen Zangla Photography

Our animal companions have many roles in our lives.  Feelings of grief and sorrow are perfectly natural when our furry friends pass away.  Image Source: Ellen Zangla Photography

More Than Just a Cat

Popoki was a beautiful orange and white tabby cat. He slept on his mom’s pillow every night, and on every book she read. He was loving, intelligent, and a good friend. When he passed away after living with his mom for twelve years, she was devastated. Many friends were sympathetic, but one person said, “It’s just a cat.” How wrong that person was.

Animals play many roles in our lives. We have a close bond with our pets, so close that we consider them to be part of our family. We care for them for their entire lives, providing food, shelter, and love. The hardest part of loving an animal is coping with the loss and sorrow we feel when they pass away.

We have rituals for when our human family and friends pass away. We attend viewings, memorial services, and funerals. We send flowers and cook food for the bereaved.

But what is done for animals? Most of the time, very little. Even though we love our animals, our grief is mostly hidden when they pass for fear that someone will say, “It’s just a cat.” We shouldn’t feel as badly when an animal passes as when a person passes. The truth is, many of us do. However, because of the integral relationship pets share in our daily lives, it’s perfectly natural to feel overcome with pain or grief when we lose a furry friend.

What can we do to honor our pets’ lives? And to deal with our grief?

One of the most important things we can do is seek comfort from those who share our feelings and understanding of the human-animal bond. Here in Loudoun County, we are fortunate to have an annual Pet Remembrance Candlelight Ceremony.  This special event provides a safe haven for us to express all of the feelings that come with the loss of a pet. Here we listen to readings of stories and poems about our faithful companions. We cry, we laugh, we hug, and most importantly, we share our grief with people who understand, who care, and who would never say, “It’s just a cat.”

This year’s Pet Remembrance Candlelight Ceremony will be held on March 5, 2015 at 7:00 (doors open at 6:30pm), St. James Episcopal Church, 14 Cornwall Street NW, Leesburg. One of the most special portions of the event is the Roll of Honor, a slide show and reading of the names of our pet angels.

If you’ve lost a beloved companion this year and want to remember their life in a loving, supportive environment, we encourage you to attend the ceremony. For more information, please visit http://wholisticpawsvet.com/candlelight_ceremony.html or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wholistic-Paws-Veterinary-Services/114747271917454?ref=br_tf 

You may also submit photos for the Roll of Honor to Krisi Erwin at petcandlelightceremony@gmail.com.

Pet Candlelight Ceremony- LVH web image



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