2012 Companion Animal Remembrance Ceremony
The 4th Annual Companion Animal Remembrance Ceremony was held on Saturday, July 28, 2012. Invitations were sent to owners of Veterinary Medical Center patients that had died during the past year.
As owners entered the Dunlap Auditorium, they received a special gift of a candle and forget-me-not seeds. The attendees were welcomed by Joelle Nielsen, program coordinator for Honoring the Bond. Over 80 attendees listened to three speakers. Dr. Megan Breit spoke about the perspective of being a veterinarian and working with the special animals and their owners. Roberta Knauf, of Schoedinger Pet Services, spoke about getting through (not over) pet loss. Dr. Joelle Fenger spoke, on behalf of Joelle Nielsen, about the different types of companion animal loss and the differences and similarities among attendees.
Following the speakers, a slide show featuring photos submitted by owners played while owners wrote a message or prayer for their lost pets on stone. The owners then placed the stones in the Remembrance Tree area.
Afterward, participants shared refreshments and reminisced about never forgotten friends with each other. Some owners chose to stay and work with Heidi Wagner, and art therapist and make a memorial item to take with them.
Following are just a few of the comments that were received from attendees of the 2012 ceremony:
“ I had no idea how much healing I would witness that day! The slideshow is so important! It acknowledges our loved one and later it gave us a starting point for conversations. The art activity wasn't about the projects. It gave us a chance to talk with other 'parents', to cry and laugh with each other, to bond. I cannot stress the importance of this tradition!”
“My husband and I really found the Remembrance Ceremony meaningful. I am so glad we made the trip. One of the best things about the speakers and the Ceremony was the feeling of understanding that everyone shared. It's a comforting feeling.”
“I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful ceremony. We were proud to be there representing Ren and it felt good to be surrounded by people who love their pets just as much as we love ours.”
“I would like to say thanks for putting it on and allowing us to honor our pets and their place in our memory.”
“I feel so much better after attending, and I thank you for doing it.”
“Thank you for the caring and concern you have shown all of us who have lost our special "children" in the last year. Your program has much to offer those who are grieving.”
“It was very nice, I appreciated the speaker talking about their own loses. Thank you all for doing this, it is very meaningful and appreciated!”