by Steve Pritchard-Jones


Group of cats and dogs in front of white background

Coping with the sudden loss of a pet can be an emotionally trying time for most pet owners and can be devastating for the whole family, especially when they have been a source of unconditional friendship and love. For many of us, pets are a beloved extension of our family and we have a unique bond with them. For children, the breaking of this beautiful bond can cause high anxiety because it may be the first time that they experience the loss of a close family member or friend. 

When your much-loved pet passes away unexpectedly, a part of us goes with them. We mourn their loss as that of any other cherished member of our families. 

Four important things to remember:

1: Allow yourself to grieve

2: Celebrate the life of your pet and honour the death

3: Talk about your loss

4: Seek help, if needed

Having a special ceremony to say goodbye to your pet can be a source of comfort and help with the grieving process. Funerals and end-of-life rituals are not only for the loss of human life. 

When a family member dies, you always celebrate his or her life. But what about your pet family member? Planning and holding a pet funeral can be one of the important ways you can pay tribute to your family pet. 

Plan of action:

Step 1: Think about what you would like

Step 2: Book your Celebrant

Step 3: Work with your Celebrant to write the script for the service

Step 4: Choose between burial and cremation

Step 5: Work with your Celebrant to write the script for the service

Step 6: Choose a funeral location

Step 7: Choose you guest list

A Top Note pet funeral, internment or scattering of ashes can take any form including, poems, readings, music and a special farewell ritual. I will work with you to create a meaningful bespoke ceremony to give your much-loved pet the send-off they deserve.

In remembrance of a pet. Red rose beside an urn filled with ashes of a dog isolated on a white background.


The bond with family pets is difficult to let go after death and this can be particularly stressful for children and young children this period will be an emotional time and many would wish to bury their pet at home, but you must know the law. Holding a special ceremony and burying the remains of an animal at home creates a dedicated spot for remembrance that will help families through the grieving process and this is particularly supportive to children and young people.

Legislation in the UK grants permission to homeowners to bury animals within the grounds of the property. But, you must follow certain conditions to perform a home burial for an animal including:

Please be aware that although it’s a rare occurrence, a vet may refuse to release the animal’s remains for burial (e.g. if certain controlled drugs would be hazardous for other wildlife).

If it is not possible to bury a pet immediately after death you should try to store the remains at a temperature below 4° Celsius (39 Fahrenheit) because this will provide you with a few days to make any final preparations for the ceremony?

There are a few more important things you should know before you try to bury your deceased pet:

How much does it cost to bury a pet? In short, burying a pet at home costs nothing. Whereas paying for the services of a dedicated pet cemetery is likely to cost a few hundred pounds but the advantage is that registered pet cemeteries offer lasting resting places for animals after death – and they will still be there even if you decide to move home.

Animal cremations have become a very popular option for ‘remembering a family pet’. Some of the advantages include:

  • The crematorium will return the ashes to you
  • You can choose to scatter them or bury them at your favourite spot
  • You can have a memorial plaque

Heaven’s Doggy Door by Jan Cooper 

My best friend closed his eyes last night,

As his head was in my hand.

The Doctors said he was in pain,

And it was hard for him to stand.

The thoughts that scurried through my head,

As I cradled him in my arms.

Were of his younger, puppy years,

And OH…his many charms.

Today, there was no gentle nudge

With an intense “I love you gaze”,

Only a heart that’s filled with tears

Remembering our joy filled days.

But an Angel just appeared to me,

And he said, “You should cry no more,

GOD also loves our canine friends,

He’s installed a ‘doggy-door”!

Feel free to contact me to book a free consultation or for help and advice.


Top Note Ceremonies ‘at your service’


Tel: 07988 626583


Steve Pritchard-Jones

Steve Pritchard-Jones

I am an independent civil celebrant conducting weddings, celebration of life/funerals, commitment, civil partnership, renewal of vows, adoption welcoming, naming, pet funerals, internment or scatter of ashes, memorials service, and even divorce ceremonies in Shropshire, West Midlands, Mid and North Wales, Derbyshire, Staffordshire & throughout the UK.