Young adults aged 18 to 24 are the most likely by far to remember a beloved deceased pet by holding a ‘memorial event’, according to a national survey of over 2,000 adults.
Six in 10 (59%) young adults aged 18-24 say they would hold such an event, compared to just three in ten of those aged 65+ (29%).
The survey commissioned by 3D pet sculpture specialists Arty Lobster (www.artylobster.com) in the run up to national Pet Remembrance Day on 5th July asked: ‘Thinking about any pets you currently own, when your pet(s) dies, how likely or unlikely are you to hold a memorial event – such as scattering their ashes, or reading a poem at a favourite place – for them?’
Among all respondents who currently own a pet, just over two fifths (42%) said they would be likely to hold a memorial event for them in the event of their death. Just over one in twenty (7%) were unsure, while half (50%) said they would be unlikely to do so.
Women appear slightly more likely than men to hold a memorial event for their pet (44% vs. 40%).
Those with older children (aged 16-18), or with no children at all are less likely to hold a memorial event in the event of any of their current pets passing away (39% and 41% respectively). Whereas just over half (53%) of those with younger children aged 5-10 are likely to do so.
Single pet owners are more likely than pet owners who are married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting to hold a memorial event for their pet (48% vs. 40%).
People living in the Midlands are the most likely (35%) to hold such an event while 30% of pet owners in Northern Ireland say they would. This was followed by London (28%), Yorkshire (27%) and the South East and Scotland (each on 24%) while the North East ranked joint bottom with Wales at 19%. The aggregate figure for England is 28%.
The likelihood to hold a pet memorial event also varies across social grade with those in the highest social grade being more likely than others to hold such an event (AB; 46% vs. C1; 41%, C2; 40% and DE; 41%).
Lars B Andersen, CEO of Arty Lobster, who helped launch Pet Remembrance Day in 2015, said: “It’s interesting that young millennials are most likely to hold a special event to remember a pet. I can only imagine that this group is maybe less buttoned up than previous generations and more in touch with their emotions, which has probably been amplified by the boom in social media and the rise in ‘collective’ grieving…
“Pets are like family, and this national day is an important day when people will take time out, even if just a few moments, to remember deceased pets. A growing part of our customer base is served by people looking for that lasting memento of their pet.”
Best-selling author and speaker Wendy Van de Poll, MS, CEOL (Certified End of Life and Pet Loss Grief Coach and Founder of Center for Pet Loss Grief, LLC) explained: “Outwardly mourning is a way of saying good bye in a very healthy way by celebrating the life of your beloved companions.
“Paying tribute to those animals that touched your heart with a pet funeral, memorial, or remembrance will help you heal your loss all the while keeping the love of your companion close by. Pet Remembrance Day is a great reminder for you to get in touch with your feelings of loss and learn how they are going to help you throughout your life.”
Entertainer, and Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Damon Scott, said: “Only last year, my darling rescue dog Sophie gained her angel wings, and so I experienced the extreme grief and sadness which the loss of a beloved pet brings. People who have never had pets, especially dogs, sometimes don’t understand that they too are precious members of our families and can negatively downplay this heart-felt grief by saying ‘oh, it’s just a pet!’ but that is so wrong.
“Pets are family and they deserve to be remembered and to have their lives celebrated like any other family member. Pet Remembrance Day provides space for people to commemorate the lives of lost pets by doing something special like giving to a charity such as The Oldies Club, or something as simple as thinking about the happiness their pet brought to their lives, and sharing a photo of the pet on social media. I will be remembering my beautiful Sophie this year.”
Animal welfare campaigner Lisa Garner lost her beloved rescue Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lucy in December last year. Lucy became a social media star with a 70,000 Facebook following and a leading light in the campaign against puppy farming.
Lisa’s love and devotion for Lucy speaks of the strength of the human – animal bond. She said: “Lucy was my best friend and soul mate, who depended on me for everything, to lose her was and still is indescribable. Even now 7 months on I struggle to think or talk about her without crying, on some level it still doesn’t seem real.
“Lucy endured so much at the beginning of her life, but had nearly 4 years of as much love and fun that I could give her. She had the qualities that so many people strive for, she had a zest for life, didn’t let her past dictate her future and during her short time here helped many, which is a comfort to me.
Lisa added: “I guess when we love someone so much the pain we go through when we lose them is just a reflection of that love. I hope Lucy knew what she meant to me and her friends from all around the world, if the sheer love for Lucy could have saved her when she was so poorly, she would be here today asking for her favourite thing, cake. Lucy will forever be in many hearts and so terribly missed every single day.”
On national Pet Remembrance Day (Wednesday 5th July), a Twitter chat will take place using the hashtag #PetRemembranceDay for people to show their support and share thoughts and photos of deceased companion animals.
On Pet Remembrance Day, there are many ways in which people can remember deceased pets, including:
- A memorial service in a place where the pet liked to walk or play.
- A living memorial by planting a tree or flowerbed
- A pet sculpture or portrait featuring the pet or their image printed on a coaster or other accessory
- A scrapbook with photos and other reminders of the pet.
- An online memorial with photos of the pet
- A poem about the pet
- Donating to charities like The Oldies Club or volunteering at an animal rescue centre