Some years ago when my daughter was around 8 or 9 (she's 26 now), her precious pet guinea pig, "Cookie" died. Cookie had lived in a cage decorated with pink ribbons, glitter bows, my little pony stickers and groovy chick furniture, in Becky's bedroom for around 3 years and Becky was distraught by her death (we didn't know if it was a boy or a girl but she decided it was a girl because "boys are smelly").
I hadn't quite realised how upset she would be, and so I was at a bit of a loss as how to deal with this sudden death in the family. So, we had a little goodbye ceremony... nothing special, but we decorated a cardboard box with tissue paper and put in little notes and treats, and then we laid her to rest in a sunny part of the garden, during which I gave a little speech. Who knew 20 years later I would be doing this for a living!
And I also wrote a letter... to Becky from Cookie...
In it, Cookie told Becky how happy she was to have her as a best friend. She told Becky that when she (Becky) had come into the pet shop, Cookie spotted her straight away and just knew that she and Becky were meant to be together, and so when Becky had bent down to look in the cage, Cookie did a funny dance so that Becky would notice her. She spoke of some of the fun times they'd had together and described how she would lie in her cage giggling when Becky and Laura-Jane (BFF), did funny dances around the room. And she said that when they made up songs and sang them out loud, pretending their hairbrushes were microphones, Cookie would giggle until her tummy hurt. Seemingly, there were a few secrets in the letter that Becky couldn't share with me, but Cookie did share the biggest secret of all.... late at night, while everyone was sleeping, Cookie and Gizmo (Becky's brother's guinea pig who lived in his room next door), would whisper to each other, and had become boyfriend and girlfriend! Cookie then asked Becky not to cry too much, because the truth was she had become old and had been in pain for a long time, but now she could be at peace. Cookie closed the letter by saying that she was so happy that she got to spend her life with Becky, and asked Becky if that night after everyone was sleeping, if she would tiptoe into Ryan's room and tell Gizmo that she loved him.
Becky still has Cookie's letter to this day and says it is one of her most treasured possessions.
We should never underestimate the depth of feeling someone has towards a pet, however small, however young or however long it lives on this earth. Having a tribute ceremony for a beloved pet can not only bring some measure of peace, it can also be a really beautiful way to say goodbye. I can provide lots of ideas on how to celebrate the life of your pet, so please give me a call on the numbers below.
My plan had been that Becky would go to her room after school, where she would find the letter on her pillow and it might bring her some level of comfort. Instead, she brought home 6 friends, opened the note and read it aloud to everyone in the room. Can you imagine seven 8-year-old girls in full grief mode? I hadn't heard that much screaming since my teenage friends and I went to the cinema to see 'Friday 13th'. But as I stood there listening to their caterwauling, I'm sure I could hear a teensy weensy giggle in the distance.
I can offer you lots of ideas on celebrating the life of a pet, so please feel free to contact me on any of the options below:
01786 841609 (office)
07800 950647(alternative mobile)
You can also click here to contact me
Pet Tribute £150
Your Ceremony, Your Way