On National Pet Memorial Day, every second Sunday in September, on September 11 this year, pet owners across the country remember their beloved pets who have passed on. For many of us, pets are loved ones on scale with some of the most important people in our lives – when they often die before us, it’s not an easy loss. We’re not alone in remembering some of our favorite pets for the rest of our lives, and there are many ways of memorializing pets. National Pet Memorial Day is a great day to think back to your favorite pets and honor their memory.
History of National Pet Memorial Day
Throughout history, the role of pets in our lives has changed drastically with our living situations and cultures, and so have the ways we honor our pets who have crossed the rainbow bridge. Since the first wolf cubs were domesticated and the first barnyard cats made pets, standout furry friends have captured people’s hearts and worked their way towards feeling like our family.
There is evidence that dogs were domesticated as far back as 26,000 BCE, when ancient footprints showed a child and a dog once walked together in a cave. Pet memorials began to crop up around 14,000 BCE, first in what is now Germany. Pet memorials from 7,000 BCE were also found in China, and North America from 11,000 BCE. Native Americans very often buried their dogs when they passed away, showing pets have long made an impact on our hearts!
Even the heroes of the ages memorialized their pets. Alexander the Great, for example, was known to be very fond of his mastiff named Peritas. When she died around 350 BCE, he held a formal burial and procession, as well as erected a monument in her honor.
Throughout the more modern era, there are other well-loved pets in the public eye that have been famously memorialized. Notable ones include Balto, the Siberian Husky known for his courageous journey across Alaska to deliver medicine, and Towser, the cat in Scotland who caught a record-setting 28,899 mice.
There are many pet cemeteries and standards for pet memorials today. Famous pet cemeteries include Hartsdale in New York City and Toto Memorial in Los Angeles. Many people choose to cremate, bury, or even taxidermy their pets to remember them, and pet headstones can be customized and purchased. We will never stop memorializing the pets that have brought so much love to our lives.
National Pet Memorial Day timeline
As early as 26,000 BCE, there is evidence of a child and dog walking together through a cave - proof that dogs were already domesticated to some extent!
In America, the earliest pet memorial dates back to 6,500 BCE, when the Native Americans who inhabited modern-day Illinois buried the dogs that accompanied them.
When Peritas, the beloved mastiff of Alexander the Great, died, he not only held a formal burial for her, there was even a monument constructed in her honor, as well as a funeral procession!
After the racehorse passed away, he was memorialized by a statue in Kentucky Horse Park.
National Pet Memorial Day FAQs
What is World Pet Memorial Day?
World Pet Memorial Day was created as a special day to memorialize beloved pets that have passed away. It is observed every year on the second Tuesday in June, and it is a great time to celebrate the lives of your pets.
Can pets be buried with humans?
In some places, humans can be cremated and their ashes buried in a pet cemetery with their pets.
What day is National Hug Your Dog Day?
National Hug Your Dog day is celebrated on April 10 in the United States of America.
How to Observe National Pet Memorial Day
Remember a beloved pet
Whether there’s a picture tacked to your wall, a home video of your dog playing with your child, or an old collar you kept behind, there are many ways people retain keepsakes of their lost furry families. Pull out the picture, watch the home video, or find the collar in a memory box, and talk about what made Snowball such a good cat for all those years.
Reach out to a friend who lost a pet
The acute loss of a good pet is incredibly difficult to get through. Bring them a stuffed animal with their pet’s name on a collar, bake them cookies, or send flowers. The little gestures of support become incredibly valuable in times of loss.
Love your pets a little extra today
It’s a great day to appreciate the furry friends that are still by your side. Love on your pets just a little harder today. Buy them a new toy or treat, or take them to the vet to get a checkup. You’ll want them healthy and happy as long as possible!
5 Interesting Facts About Pets & Pet Memorials
There are four famous pet cemeteries in the US
These include Hartsdale in NYC, Toto Memorial in Los Angeles, Boomer Monument in Illinois, and Brownie Gravesite in Florida.
There’s a standard for pet cremation
Established by the International Association for Pet Cemeteries and Crematories, the procedure for Pet Cremation can be followed by the Pet Owners for the Cremation Process.
It costs to be a pet parent!
Over $60 billion was spent in 2015 by pet parents on their pets, according to the American Pet Products Association.
Better to have loved and lost...
For almost everyone, pets improve lives. According to one survey, 94% of pet owners say their pet has made them smile every day.
There are many famous memorialized pets
From Balto the courageous Siberian Husky to Towser of Scotland, the cat who caught a record-setting 28,899 mice, our favorite pets are memorialized in our collective history.
Why We Love National Pet Memorial Day
It honors our best pets
As with a beloved family member, it’s important to honor the lives of beloved pets. Animals have a magical way of touching our hearts even more than people can at times, and it’s important to honor that after they’re gone.
It’s a trip down memory lane
While we love our pets who have left us, as years pass we tend not to think of them daily. Today is a great day to find the pictures of you as a baby holding your first cat or the video of your old pup roaming your first apartment. You can honor your pet’s memory while revisiting some great times of the past.
It reminds us to care for our pets
Pets can’t tell us when they’re sick, so it’s up to us to read their signs! Nothing is sadder than losing a pet to something preventable. While some mourn their favorite pets today, make sure your good boy or girl gets to the vet to make sure everything is shipshape.
National Pet Memorial Day dates