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Memorializing Your Companion at Home

by Rev. LoraKim Joyner, D.V.M

There are many ways to honor your companion that has died. Basically, you can almost do anything for your bird that you would do for a human companion:

  • Hold a private memorial service or engage a representative from a religious tradition
  • Write a poem or story (share it with others if you like).
  • Journal about your bird’s life and what he or she meant to you.
  • Run an obituary in your local paper (not every paper will let you do this)
  • Create your own rituals that fit your needs

Elements of a Memorial Service

  • Opening Words – why we have gathered
  • Readings – that reflect your understanding of loss and the beauty of life (including sacred texts)
  • Music – recorded, live, or sung by participants
  • Reflections – stories or writings of your companion that you or others bring to share
  • Prayers, meditations, silence
  • Lighting of candles or ringing of bells
  • Closing Words – a wish for peace and healing

Possible Rituals

  • Light a candle at home to burn – on the day of death and on anniversaries
  • Ring bells as you say the name of your companion and special events in your lives
  • Place wind chimes to remind you of your lost companion
  • Decorate the burial site or area of cremated remains with objects special to you and the bird (rocks, pictures, colored glass, sacred objects)
  • Get a tattoo
  • Make a beaded chain or jewelry representing your bird’s life

“Dr. Yetter’s professional & compassionate care enabled us to have Lady as a member of our family for over 17 years. Through his knowledge, extensive research, and willingness to reach out, he provided Lady with a long quality life in spite of numerous health issues. We are eternally grateful.”

— Diane & Terry Svob

“Dr. Yetter and the staff at Prairie Ridge have given excellent care to my family of pets for about 20 years. I always feel comfortable asking questions and knowing I will get complete, caring answers. Dr. Yetter researches to find the best treatment options. My cats and dog are family to me, and we trust Prairie Ridge Veterinary Clinic.”

—Janis Blout

“We are so grateful for the hard work and extra research Dr. Yetter did for our Tansy-cat to find out why she wasn’t eating. If there is a time when your most precious friend is ill and you need to trust someone to care for them, Dr. Yetter is definitely that person! He went above and beyond to do everything he could to save our beautiful Tansy.”

— Tom & Bev Berberett

“My pets have been patients of Dr. Yetter and his great staff for many years, and I have always been grateful for their efficiency and helpfulness. Having good care right here in Havana is a big plus!”

— Jan McFarlin

“I began to bring in my labs into PRVC when I started working there, and was happy to have such a caring and knowledgeable doctor to take care of two of my best friends. It always amazes me just how much care goes into each and every animal, let alone the perseverance of Dr. Yetter and staff (I should call them family) in working out how to treat each and every problem.”

— Chris Johnson