Honoring and Memorializing a Beloved Pet

We share so many adventures with our animal companions. There are endless ways to honor the bond that we share with these amazing creatures who bless us with their unconditional love. Whether you are preparing for the final end-of-life journey or wish to recognize a companion who has already passed, here are some ideas and things to consider.

Please note that this list is provided for information only, and is not an endorsement of the websites or services that are linked from this page. 

Body Care Options

Holding for Ceremony

Some families may wish to keep their loved one at home a little longer before burial or cremation, and it is certainly possible to do this comfortably, even in our warm climate. We can offer advice or assistance during the holding time, and our chaplain is available to help you plan a memorial or rituals.

Burial

Home burial is perhaps the oldest method of aftercare. If you choose this option, you need to check with your Homeowner’s Association, if you have one, and the City and County Zoning Department (roh.info@honolulu.gov or 1-808-768-3809. You may also contact the Hawaiian Humane Society at 1-808-356-2217 for more information.

Pets must be buried on private land that you own, or at a cemetary with plots dedicated to pets. Valley of the Temples Pet Cemetery (1-808-239-8811) is the only such place on Oahu.

It is not necessary to wrap your pet before burial, although you may wish to. Options range from a soft sheet or blanket to beautiful caskets, such as these biodegradable Paw Pods or more traditional caskets like those offered at Pet Memory Shop.

Grave markers and headstones are another consideration. 4everinmyheart.com has a wide selection and advertises free shipping in the U.S.

Cremation

Because land is limited on Oahu, cremation is the most common aftercare choice. There are two options: communal or individual cremation.  In a communal cremation, the pets are not separated in the cremation chamber. Our provider, Oahu Pet Crematory, scatters communal cremains in Kaneohe Bay. In an individual or private cremation, your pet’s ashes will be returned to you. You can learn more about the options on their website or see our explanation here.

Private and individual cremations include an attractive decorative tin. If you would like a custom or personalized urn, there are endless options. We have a selection of made-to-order keepsakes and urns – contact us for more information.

Some other providers of urns include:

  • Perfect Memorials – Wide selection of urns, shipping to Hawaii takes a little longer and may cost extra.
  • Rainbow Bridge Urns – Offers urns, markers, plaques, keepsake jewelry and more. Rainbow Bridge Urns is a subsidiary of a Maine company that provides aftercare services locally. They do ship to Hawaii.

If you have some carpentry skills, you may enjoy creating a personalized urn yourself. Here are some instructions on eHow. If you don’t need the urn to be sealed, you can repurpose just about any attractive vessel, such as a cookie jar or decanter.

If you’d rather have someone else make a special urn, you can order a koa urn right here on Oahu by calling 808-848-5559.

You could also choose to scatter your loved one’s ashes. You need to get permission before doing so on land that you do not personally own, or in the water (in particular if it feeds into a public drinking water supply).

For professional assistance in scatterings by boat charter, air, or on land, Hawaii Ash Scatterings can help you create a highly personalized experience at a reasonable cost. Although service for pets is not mentioned on the website, Captain Middleton will be happy to assist you.

Preservation

Some may wish to preserve their loved one as a way of honoring and remembering the life they enjoyed together. There are no pet taxidermists in Hawaii, but Preserved Pets in California is able to serve clients from the Aloha State. See their website for more information.

Remembrances

Simple tokens of remembrance such as a favorite toy, a leash, a lock of fur or a paw print can make a lovely tribute, whether tucked away for safekeeping or proudly displayed.

If you take comfort in creating keepsakes, here are a few ideas to get you started:

If you don’t feel crafty, you can support your local businesses who offer unique ways to honor and remember:

Pictures and video can be important in preserving memories, too, of course. If you are interested in professional portraits that capture your unique relationship with your companion, here are some local photographers who can offer services in the studio or on location:

 

Whatever you choose to do, what makes it special is that it is your choice. There’s no wrong way to remember your beloved friend, because it reflects your own story, experience, and values. May you find comfort in the process, and joy in recalling the precious memories you have created together.

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