September 10: National Pet Memorial Day

Throughout history, pets have been loyal companions. In recent times, pets have also come to be viewed as friends, family members, and even “kids”. National Pet Memorial Day offers an opportunity for pet owners to honor beloved pets who are gone but never forgotten. Celebrated on the second Sunday in September, this special event was established by the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories (IAOPCC).


National Pet Memorial Day is now celebrated by hundreds of people across the United States. According to National Day Calendar, one idea that is becoming a popular tradition is to plant a tree or a shrub as a living memorial. When our adopted dog died, this is how our vet paid tribute to him. Through the Arbor Day Foundation’s Trees For Pets program, you may have a tree planted in memory of your pet and a personalized card or certificate identifying where the tree has been planted.

What follows is a compilation of other ideas gathered from the IAOPCC and The majority of the ideas involve thinking about your deceased pets.

  • Look at old photos. Pictures tangibly capture the wonderful times we had and often refresh memories that may have become blurred or even forgotten. You might even want to frame favorites or compile them into a scrapbook.
  • Talk about your pet with others who knew your pet. These conversations, besides bringing smiles and tears, might also prompt fuzzy or lost memories. You might even want to write a letter to your pet.
  • Revisit your pet’s favorite things. If you’ve packed away special dishes and toys, now might be the time to pull them out to rekindle old memories. Looking at items that were important to your pet may provide cathartic relief.
  • Visit your pet’s burial site. Make a tribute by decorating the site with something your pet treasured in life. Talk to your pet while at the burial site.
  • Some ideas instead involve the act of giving to others. For example, you might use the day to send sympathy cards to pet owners who have almost pets. Alternatively, you might donate money or give time to an animal welfare group. These groups are working daily to care for and find forever families for homeless pets. This is a tangible way to give back to your pet who gave so much to you.

One idea not listed is to donate to animal medical research. To do so, have the name of your pet, your name and address, and amount of donation. When our first cat died of Chronic Kidney Failure, a leading cause of death in felines and so one of the most dreaded diseases cat owners face, this is how our vet paid tribute to her.

Whatever way you choose to remember your departed pets, the thought behind your tribute is what’s most important. There is no one right way to keep alive the memories of their life. How have you honored pets who have now passed to Rainbow Bridge?


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