The human-animal bond is thought to have evolved more than 15,000 years ago. Animals have worked and been by the side of humans for almost as long as humans have existed. The memorialization of a pet can be tracked all the way back to the Stone Age. In 1914, a gravesite, decorated with bones and antlers, was unearthed and shown to be the resting place of a man, women, and their dog. With the human-animal bond growing stronger throughout time, so does the grief associated with losing a pet.
With pet ownership increasing significantly, it has lead to many studies that have shown the severity of loss felt when one loses a pet can be compared to the severity felt during a human loss. Although the severity of loss is comparable, feeling supported can be more difficult.
As pet professionals, we know how important it is to provide your clients support and care during a loss. Thanks to a study we will reference below, you can feel confident in the support and memorialization options you offer your clients.
Effective Forms of Memorialization
Loss and memorialization often go hand-in-hand. Memorialization is typically an important part of the grieving process and can look differently for everyone. It can be a ceremony, a display on your wall, a customized urn to hold cremains – the list can go on. Colorado State University preformed a study entitled “Pet Death and Owners’ Memorialization Choices”. This study shows an array of different and personal ways people choose to memorialize their pets and their importance. The study also shows how your care team can leave your client feeling most satisfied after their pet’s death.
Participants of the study were asked what their veterinarian did in response to their pet’s death and how satisfied they were with their veterinarian’s response. The most common answer was being given a condolence card, which left them feeling satisfied. But participants reported a higher level of satisfaction when a card was paired with a paw print.
Participants were also asked if they wished they had done anything differently to memorialize their pet. Many who answered “yes”, said they wished they would have gotten a nose or paw print upon their pet’s death.
With these results in mind, you can feel confident that by presenting your clients a ClayPaws print you are giving them a trusted and lasting keepsake that will leave them feeling satisfied and supported.
Presenting a Clay Paw Print Memorial in the Moment
With clay paw print memorials being appreciated amongst pet parents, the time of presentation can also play an important roll. Thinking back to my own experiences with loss, I remember a time that stands out most to me. When I lost my dog Nova, I was presented with a ClayPaws print before her body even left my presence. It was so healing to watch her ClayPaws print being made. Not to mention the comfort it provided me to have an immediate keepsake of her to hold on to.
By presenting a ClayPaws print at the time of euthanasia, you allow a small moment of distraction around the overwhelming feeling of grief. Your client will have an immediate keepsake that serves as a tangible memory of their cherished pet.
We hear from many pet parents who tell us what a special surprise it was when their pet’s care team presented them with a ClayPaws print before even leaving the office. Memorializing your clients lost pets with a ClayPaws print is an effective way to show your support and care.
Thanks for all you do,
World by the Tail, Inc.
Kogan, L. R., Packman, W., Bussolari, C., Currin-McCulloch, J., & Erdman, P. (2022). Pet Death and Owners’ Memorialization Choices. Illness, Crisis & Loss, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/10541373221143046