Myths

Whether by the cruel hand of fate or by the universe’s grand design, pets never usually outlive their owners. This leaves many pet-lovers with the weight of knowing that, sooner or later, they must say goodbye for the final time. It doesn’t help that there’s still so much unknown about death, and equally life, but as sure as the Sun comes up each day, grief will affect all of us, but so too will that grief pass — no feeling is forever.

Because so much is left unknown, there are plenty of myths and misconceptions surrounding the departure of a loved pet and how that trauma affects us; even in this day and age. Today, we’ll be dispelling some of them!

There is nothing special about the relationship between animals and humans.

This is simply and unequivocally not true. Your relationship with a pet can be just as special and loving as those you have with any other family member or friend. Loving an animal is different to loving a human, of course, but the bond between pet and owner goes as far back as the discovery of fire.

Losing an animal is less painful and less important than losing a human loved one.

Again, not true. Pain over the loss of a beloved animal is as natural as the pain you would feel over the loss of any person in your life. Pets find their way into every aspect of our daily routine, so it can be even more difficult to cope after losing them.

Having close relationships with animals (and grieving at their loss) is abnormal and unnatural.

No, it really isn’t. Never let anyone influence you to believe that your relationships with animals are wrong or less important than those you have with humans. Sharing your love with an animal teaches us to better love all living things, including humans. Grief is a normal response to losing someone and grief is indifferent to species. Love is love, loss is loss, and pain is, unfortunately, pain. But, as my Grandmother used to say, “time is the healer of all wounds”.

 

 

The death of a pet can be a useful “dress rehearsal” for the real thing, especially for children.

While it’s true that the death of a pet can be a child’s first encounter with loss, it is by no means a ‘dress rehearsal’. Quite suddenly, friendship, companionship, loyalty, support and unconditional love are replaced with overwhelming feelings of loss, confusion, emptiness, fear and grief. For most children, the loss of a family pet is a profoundly painful experience.

Euthanasia is a quick and easy way to get rid of sick, dying, old or unwanted animals.

Deciding when and whether to euthanize a beloved pet is one of the most difficult choices an animal lover will ever have to make. On one hand, you know that choosing to end your animal’s life will intensify your own suffering, yet postponing the decision may prolong your animal’s pain needlessly. At such times it is important to explore all aspects of the decision with your veterinarian and with others you trust, to listen to what your animal may be trying to tell you, and to trust your own intuition.

Conducting rituals, funerals or memorial services for dead animals is a waste of time.

The last one on our list and arguably the biggest myth of all. Whether for animals or for humans, death ceremonies and rituals help us to support one another in grief, acknowledge the important role our loved ones played in our lives, honor the memory of our departed companions and bring meaning to our loss. In short, a memorial or service is a great way of telling your body when to begin healing.

Putting myths and falsehoods to one side… the loss of a beloved pet can be one of the most difficult times in our lives. If someone you know has suffered or is currently suffering the loss of a pet; be there for them, offer them your support or time to talk and make sure they have no regrets with their pet. It can be just as devastating as losing a family member. For more information on the services we provide, click here.

Grief and grieving having lost a pet

There are two sides to owning and caring for a pet. One of them is loss, and loss can take a serious toll on us, especially on the members of our circles that were close to those pets or animal lovers in general. Whether it is a dog or cat, rabbit or hamster, parrot or horse or even a fish; suffering the loss of a pet is a process of grief and hardship, just like any other death.

Healing from a loss is a long road; some days will be harder than others, other days will be total write-offs, and that’s ok. Grief, sadness and pain all take time for the brain to process and for the body to react to and this is no different in the case of a pet’s passing. In the early stages of loss, it is important to take stock, take time and take a break in order for the healing process to truly begin. This is especially pertinent for young adults and animal lovers as choosing to go on without acknowledging a death can have detrimental effects later on in life.

 

 

The course that grief will take is unpredictable and varies from person to person. It could be months of sleepless nights, it could be a loss of appetite, it could be wanting to be alone; it could be a range of different feelings, emotions and reactions, but that’s ok too. To grieve is to be human, and no one can help that. Yet, unlike humans, having a formal ceremony for a pet is seen as outlandish, but any ceremony to remember a pet is a worthwhile one; to remember them for the love they brought into your life, the joy they made you feel and the time you spent together. A ceremony can help you adjust and is the first step towards accepting their death and learning to live without them; to allow grief to run its course is the bravest thing any pet owner can do — after all, what is grief if not love persevering.

At Pawprints, we offer a bespoke, individual service for each owner to grieve, honour and say their last goodbyes to their pets; ending with a range of memorial options that includes headstones, jewellery and plaques. By offering a complete end-of-life service for your pet, you can focus on the emotions of the moment and allow the healing process to begin.

The loss of a beloved pet can be one of the most difficult times in our lives. If someone you know has suffered or is currently suffering the loss of a pet; be there for them, offer them your support or time to talk and make sure they have no regrets with their pet. It can be just as devastating as losing a family member. For more information on the services we provide, click here.

The right time to say goodbye?

It’s sort of an oxymoron, isn’t it? I know from my own experiences that there is no right time to say goodbye, because letting go of those we love is one of the hardest things we’ll ever do. However, there will come a time in every Pet Parent’s life where they’ll need to be cruel in order to be kind; to release a suffering pet to be free from pain and hurt.

Elderly Pets:

As much as we might not want them to, little pups and fluffy kittens will eventually become lazy dogs and grouchy cats. But at what point of their twilight years should you be thinking about letting them be free of their age? We certainly can’t tell you, but a pet that is suffering from a myriad of illnesses is most certainly not having a good time. With extreme age comes kidney problems, joint problems, organ problems and a range of other maladies that will make your pet’s existence torturous. As an owner, you’ll need to be prepared to say enough is enough on their behalf.

Accidents:

Animal attacks, road accidents, human accidents and natural disasters can all affect our pets. If they’re young and healthy enough to recover, they’ll often do so fully with little-to-no side effects. However, a pet that suffers catastrophic injuries might not recover at all. This will be one of these times where, as an owner, you’ll need to decide if your pet’s suffering is something they can bear for your sake. If it’s not, you’ll need to consider letting them be at peace.

 

Lost, Stolen or Missing:

Having a pet taken from you before you’re ready can be an awful experience for any pet owner and can be devastating for children. However, you can still say goodbye for a pet that’s not present — holding a vigil or small memorial ceremony in their stead. Again, no one can say when is the right time to move on, but you yourself will know when that time comes.

How Best To Say Goodbye:

There’s no right or wrong way to say goodbye to your pet. It can be as simple as a small service in memory of them, a garden party celebrating the happy moments from their life or even erecting a plaque or stone in their favourite place.

At Pawprints, we offer a bespoke, individual service for each owner to grieve, honour and say their last goodbyes to their pets; ending with a range of memorial options that includes headstones, jewellery and plaques. By offering a complete end-of-life service for your pet, you can focus on the emotions of the moment and allow the healing process to begin.

Our service is available to all pets and only one pet is ever present when a cremation is taking place; a guarantee and assurance from us that the ashes you receive are your pet’s and your pet’s alone.

To find out more about our services, please contact us directly.

Send off

The loss of a beloved pet, be they large and lean or small and furry, is an experience that every owner is likely to go through at one point or another. Like most periods of loss and bereavement, life stops; it has to, the brain can’t process the finality of death unless it does! However, as final as death may seem, life eventually goes on; this is where healing can truly take place.

Healing from a loss is a long road; some days will be harder than others, other days will be total write-offs, and that’s ok. Take it from experience, though, that this is a time where mementos, memorials and memories can act like stitches; closing those wounds long enough to let them scab.

It’s worth giving some thought to how you plan on sending-off your pet should the day ever come. This sending-off can provide closure to an already final event, giving greater peace to the family who remain. It can also preserve your pet’s memory for future generations to enjoy. Today, we’ll be going over a few different types of send-offs and what you can do to honour your pet’s memory.

Types of send-offs:

Burying is a popular way of putting a flourish on the end of your pet’s life. Unfortunately, this is only available to families that own their own land or home as far as the law is concerned. We’ve often heard of owners wrapping their pet in their favourite blanket or with their favourite toy, ensuring that their pet will be warm once they’re laid to rest. A few words or a small service is normally what follows and some marker or stone is then placed at the head of the grave as a reminder.

Of course, some pet parents don’t have the choice to bury their friend and, while it brings us no joy to say, many owners have no choice but to dispose of their pet’s remains as you would general waste. So, what can they do instead?

Well, one of the many services we offer is bespoke pet cremations. These ceremonies are designed with both owner and pet in mind and can offer a grieving family the opportunity to put a full-stop at the end of their pain, rather than a comma. Only one pet is ever present in our crematoriums during a service, giving you peace of mind that the remains you receive are your pet’s and your pet’s alone.

Once the service has concluded, you will receive your pet’s ashes and be presented with a wide variety of commemorative options, including but not limited to; bespoke jewellery, urns, headstones and plaques. Of course, these memorial tokens are completely optional and you can do whatever you wish with your pet’s remains; by scattering them in their favourite spot or by storing them in your own container. As pioneers in the realm of end-of-life services for beloved pets, it is our commitment to you that during the time we share, you and your pet are our only and top priority.

Signing off:

However you wish to give your pet a final farewell, we always recommend two things; 1, that you have no regrets with them, and 2, that you give them the send-off that you want. When life returns to normal and all is said and done, having a bespoke token of their memory can make all the difference on days when clouds blot out the Sun.

For more information on our services or to book a viewing of our premises, please click here.

 

Talking to your Child About Death

There comes a time in every owner’s life where a hard decision will need to be made. Pets, unfortunately, aren’t built to last as long as us and, towards the end of their lives, they’ll depend on us to make that hard choice. But, how do you explain this to your son or daughter?

 

Children, as we’re sure you’re well aware, can become very attached to family pets and explaining this delicate topic to them is, in and of itself, a difficult thing to do. As a parent, it’s important that this conversation, firstly, takes place and, secondly, that it is handled correctly. Take it from us; the one thing we remember about the passing of our first pet is how our parents handled the conversation around it!

 

To start, it’s important to phrase this discussion using terms that your youngling can understand. The conversation you have with your thirteen year old will be much different to the one you would have with a seven year old, for example. Try to avoid using euphemisms such as “sleep” and “rest” as this can have adverse effects on your child, leading them to be fearful of procedures which require anaesthesia in the future. If your pet is sick or old, it’s best to have this discussion before they depart. Allow your child to decide the flow of the conversation while answering their questions as easily as possible. Contrary to popular belief, if you don’t know the answer to their questions, say so – death is a mystery that no one can answer.

 

 

For any parent who has a child dealing with the loss of a beloved pet, it is vital that they are given time to process the ordeal and plenty of opportunities to talk about their feelings; perhaps how this miss their friend, or how they cannot stop thinking of them. It is completely normal and healthy for them to express grief in a variety of ways and it is up to you, as a parent, to listen to your child, reassure them and comfort them. Helping your child to properly express grief and loss is a necessary life lesson that will prepare them for hardships later on.

 

Euthanising a pet is hard. It takes courage but also a lot of love for your pet, to be able to put them before yourself and your children and how much you want them to still be a part of their lives. However, a symbolic gesture such as burial or cremation can help a child put a full-stop under this period of grief and give closure to the whole affair. This symbolic gesture can be anything that your child wants it to be, but ideas should be suggested to them; perhaps they’d like them to be cremated and for their ashes to be scattered, or maybe for them to be buried with their favourite toy. The important thing is to provide guidance to your child, while using a balanced hand to be realistic about the situation. Sometimes one must be cruel to be kind, as the saying goes, but the time your child and their furry-friend spent together will always stay with them – reminding them of this can be a nice footnote to any hard talk you have with them.

 

Explaining and getting through the loss of a family pet is a herculean task, but friends and family are always there for us and our children; as crutches to help us walk, as casts to help us heal. If your child is going through the loss of a beloved pet, it’s vital that you are prepared as a family and available for them to speak with – having their favourite Aunt, Uncle or Cousin on standby can make the world of difference in the eyes of a child.

 

If you require any advice on the services we offer or how to deal with grief and loss for all ages, click here.

How to memorialize your pet

Whether furry, finned, feathered or otherwise, we form a strong bond with our pets from the moment they enter our homes. They add structure to our day, keep us active and even provide a sense of meaning and purpose to our lives. However, we rarely spare a thought about what happens once these friends pass away.

For this reason, we at Village Vets have partnered with Pawprints Cremations to give bereaved pet owners peace of mind while they come to terms with the loss of their beloved pet. In addition to providing dignified and respectful cremation services, we’ve compiled tons of advice for owners struggling with the loss of a pet.

To begin with, there are many amazing things you can do to immortalise the memory of a friend no longer around. Things like:

  • Eternalise your pet’s memory: If you decide to cremate your pet, their ashes can be eternalised in a variety of ways. While Pawprints Cremations offer traditional urns, caskets and scatter tubes, owners can also opt to keep their pet close to their heart with discrete memorial jewelry. Another touching keepsake to consider is a framed paw print to remind you of your beloved friend.
  • Get a memorial tattoo: For tattoo enthusiasts, getting a memorial tattoo is the ultimate way to help the healing process. Whether it’s a picture of your pooch or its favourite chew toy, their memory will live on forever on your skin, no less. It doesn’t have to be a full arm-sleeve; less is often more!
  • Create an outdoor memorial: Set aside a peaceful part of your garden to create a dedicated memorial to heal at. This might be as simple as installing an engraved memorial stone with your pet’s name by their favourite tree, or planting a beautiful forget-me-not memorial by mixing your pet’s ashes with seeds and letting their memory flourish with every passing Spring.
  • Compile a photo album or scrapbook: Create a photo album or video tribute of you, your pet and your family. It will help make a legacy to celebrate their life, encourage laughter about the funny moments and help you to grieve. There are also tonnes of websites available that can turn your pictures into beautiful canvas prints, ideal for hanging on the walls of your home.
  • Donate to an animal charity: Why not honor your pet by making a donation to one of Ireland’s many amazing animal welfare charities, such as the DSPCA? Most organisations accept financial contributions online, either as a one-time donation or a recurring gift, and you can often donate in memory of your beloved companion.
  • Host a charity walk or climb in memory of your pet: Following on from the point above, sponsoring yourself to raise funds in your pet’s name is a great way to memorialise your pet and raise money for vital causes such as Guide Dogs Ireland. You’ll need to go through the proper channels, of course, but if done correctly it could become a yearly endeavour!
  • Adopt: Often the best way of all to memorialise a pet is to take the next step and bring a new animal into your family, especially one in need of a home. Adopting after a pet has passed can feel like you are trying to replace a cherished friend, so don’t feel guilty for taking your time to grieve before you feel ready to move on.

However you decide to remember your pet, know that as long as it helps ease the grief of their passing it isn’t such a bad idea. In any case, we at Village Vets and Pawprints Cremations are always on hand for a chat or for advice.

Individual Cremations

If you’ve decided to have your pet cremated, the last thing you want to hear is that your best friend will be joined by other animals in the cremation chamber. Unfortunately, that can be the case with some pet cremation services – and sometimes it could be worse as some companies will even incinerate pets alongside clinical or general waste.

Thankfully, this isn’t us.

Pawprints Cremation Services offers you and your pet a dignified and personal experience where your wishes for your beloved companion will be followed to a tee. Our individual pet cremations also mean that no matter the size of your pet – from Great Dane to Hamster – there will only ever be one pet in the cremation chamber at any time. We believe that each pet deserves a respectful send-off and cremating each animal individually is the only way to ensure that grieving families are receiving their pet’s ashes alone – something that we will never change.

 

 

We store all pets in our cool room prior to cremation, where they are left peacefully in Pawprints Cremation beds before being moved onto a bespoke stretcher and gently laid in the cremation chamber. We also have an attended service if you wish to see the process and stay with your pet
until the end. Once the cremation is complete, we carefully remove and cool them before they are reduced to ash. They are then placed into a sealed plastic bag and transferred into your choice of container.

Our range of urns, caskets and memorials are all optional but provide a beautiful way to remember your pet. We also have scatter tubes or caskets for burials, photo frames with hidden ash compartments and even jewellery that can contain a small amount of your pet’s remains. When you enquire about our services, we will give you an individual cremation cost which you can add as many additional services to as you wish.

However, there are plenty of options available to you across all of Ireland. Your Vet may even offer you information on their pet cremation provider, but make sure you’re asking the important questions before you agree to go ahead with their service, questions like:
• How will my pet be stored?
• Can my pet be collected from my vet or delivered to my home?
• Can I spend some time with my pet before and after?
• Can I have a full description of the way the procedure is carried out?
• Can I see the cremation, the crematorium and any other part of the process?

 

 

Of course, there are many other questions you may need to ask depending on your individual wishes. Keep in mind that this is your pet and it will be the last time you get to say goodbye to them, so do not agree to anything that you are unhappy with. Ultimately, your personal preference for the service you want for your pet is what matters most. It’s important to say farewell properly and that is the service we offer, no more and no less.

If you’d like to know more about individual pet cremations or, sadly, need to use our services, please get in touch with a member of the Pawprints team on 01 6409901. Otherwise, you can click here where there is plenty of information on each service we offer.

Stages of Grief

Grief is the catchall term used to describe the five stages that one goes through after having suffered
a loss. Naturally, when you lose a pet you will experience grief just as you would when losing a
human companion. A great analogy I once heard was that grief begins as a large ball in a box with a
button on one of its walls. When the ball is huge (when the grief is fresh) any movement to the box
will cause it to press the button and subsequently hurt you. With the passing of time the ball will
become smaller and will eventually stop pressing the button every time the box is moved.
This period of grief or mourning is a complex and lengthy process that will differ in intensity from
person to person. Today, we’ll look at these five stages in no particular order.

Denial:
Denial can be the first or the last thing someone will experience and refers to the ignoring of a
hurtful event, going so far as to say that it never happened. The mind refuses to believe that which
brings it sadness; rejecting the information. This can manifest in pet owners by them still believing
that their pet is alive.

Anger:
Anger is a common response to loss; the mind floods the body with adrenaline and our fight or flight
response is triggered. It is most commonly associated with a feeling of having been able to prevent
the death or being angry in oneself that more couldn’t be done; of course, this mightn’t always be
the case. Anger is dealt with over time like the rest of these stages.

Bargaining:
If only it could be done… Bargaining is the offering of a trade — the mind offering whatever it thinks
is valuable in exchange for the loss to be reversed or perhaps that by changing an aspect of one’s life
can the departed return. In reality, this can never be done which is why bargaining can quickly lead
to anger or depression.

Depression:
After the shock of death comes the first confrontation to the absence of a pet or loved one. This can
result in physical, behavioural and emotional manifestations (crying, loss of appetite, sleep,
palpitations, fatigue, migraine, aggression, guilt, isolation…) comparable to depression, but a normal phase in the throes of grief.

Finally, Acceptance:
To mourn is to remember a pet for the love they brought into your life. It is accepting their death and learning to live without them. We reorganise, we restructure and we keep going, to get out of that black torpor of pain and to remember the parts of them that we cherished in life.
The loss of a pet is something that you and your children do not have to go through on your own.
Family and friends will always be there for you, to support and help you process it. The loss of a
beloved pet can be one of the most difficult times in our lives.
If someone you know has suffered or is currently suffering the loss of a pet; be there for them, offer
them your support or time to talk and make sure they have no regrets with their pet. It can be just as devastating as losing a family member and there is a grieving process just like any other loss.

Helping your Child Overcome the Death of a Family Pet

Unfortunately, there are two sides to owning and caring for a pet. One of them is loss, and loss can take a serious toll on us and our families, especially the youngest members of which. Whether it is a dog or cat, rabbit or hamster, parrot or horse or even a fish; suffering the loss of a pet is a process of grief and hardship for children of all ages, because those pets we lose so easily became part of our families in the first place.


My first ever pet, back when I was only a young man, was Bagpuss (named after the haggard looking pink and white cat from children’s TV). Bagpuss and I were inseparable for most of his life and it absolutely rocked my little world when he passed. In-fact, I didn’t think he would ever pass; I didn’t believe that he could. Luckily, I had a pair of great parents watching my back. They coached me through the entire process, albeit in rather realistic fashion, and agreed to all of my idiosyncratic burial requests (I wanted him buried with his bed, and his toys, etc…).

For any parent who has a child dealing with the loss of a beloved pet, it is vital that they aregiven time to process the ordeal and given plenty of opportunities to talk about their feelings; perhaps how this miss their best furry friend, or how they cannot stop thinking of them. It is completely normal and healthy for them to express their grief in a variety of ways and it is up to you, as parents, to listen to your child, reassure them, explain in full what has happened (leading up to the passing and after) and comfort them. Of course, your child will have many questions, and depending on their age, you may want to answer them differently. I firmly believe that honesty is the best policy. Children are inquisitive by nature and will seek out their own answers; either through their friends or through whatever limited internet access they are granted. A simple lie told now will have far reaching consequences!


Choosing the long sleep for any pet is a difficult task. It takes courage but also a lot of love for your pet, to be able to put them before yourself and your children and how much you want them to still be a part of their lives. However, a symbolic gesture such as burial or cremation can help a young child put a full-stop under this period of grief and gives closure to the whole affair. This symbolic gesture can be anything that your child wants it to be, but ideas should be suggested to them; perhaps they’d like them to be cremated and for their ashes to be scattered somewhere, or maybe for them to be buried with their favourite toy (like me). The important thing is to provide gentle guidance to your child, while using a balanced hand to be real about the situation with them.

I remember (so long ago, admittedly) that there were no objections from my parents as to Bagpuss’ funeral arrangements and even now, when I look down to the back wall in our garden, to a tiny patch of grass which is greener than the rest, I am reminded of him and how he had affected me as a person, and how he still makes me smile though he is no longer with us. I have one printed picture of Bagpuss as he existed before a time when smartphones were affordable, but it still has its prominent place in my room, among my family and my friends and those I hold most dear to me.

The loss of a pet is something that you and your children do not have to go through on your own. Family and friends will always be there for you, to support and help you process it. The loss of a beloved pet can be one of the most difficult times in our lives. If someone you know has suffered or is currently suffering the loss of a pet; be there for them, offer them your support or time to talk and make sure they have no regrets with their pet.

It can be just as devastating as losing a family member and there is a grieving process just like any other loss.

Not all pet crematoriums are the same

Our pets are more than just a fixture within our homes. For most pet owners, their pets are a massive part of their family for years.

Over the course of their lives, you and your pet will have developed thousands of memories, connections, and emotional bonding moments together. When a pet passes away, it can leave a lasting impact on your home and family that will be felt forever. 

 

That is why we at Pawprints Cremation aim to make the passing of your pet as easy as possible, with our tribute pet cremation. Cremation has been a popular way of honoring those who have passed for centuries among human societies. Cremation is a great way to preserve the body of a loved one, and send them off in the fire that represents purity. From the old Norse traditions, to ancient Asian cultures and traditions, cremation is no foreign concept to most of us. Although, cremation for pets, is in fact a relatively new concept. With that new concept in mind, we at Pawprints Cremation have been engaging in pet cremations since 2011. 

 

We believe that cremations are a great way to honor, and give tribute to the years of loyalty, friendship, and love that pets give us over the course of their lives. However, it is important to remember that not all pet crematoriums are the same. We did not invent the concept of pet cremation, but we have worked hard to perfect it. We believe in paying tribute to, and caring for the body of your beloved pet. We do this by working closely with pet owners, and veterinary practices to ensure that we understand the wishes and desires of the pet owners–no matter what. We guarantee that you will have the ashes of your pet back within 24 hours, and can even facilitate same day cremations if the owner requests it. 

 

We are pet owners and pet lovers ourselves, and we understand how important it is for you to have the ashes of your friend back as soon as possible. We know how concerning and disheartening it can be for a pet owner to have to anxiously wait to get the ashes back from their pet. We always aim to make sure that you never have to endure that wait. Our services are always fast, careful, and tastefully done.

When you choose Pawprints Cremation, you are choosing a team of compassionate and caring individuals who are experienced at the delicate nature of pet cremations. We want to ensure that the love and body of your pet is handled with care, dignity, and compassion. Through our services, you can honor the life of your pet forever, with pet cremation.