By Leader Contributor Coleen Ellis, Pet Loss Pioneer
As devoted deathcare professionals, we pride ourselves on being a resource to families during some of their darkest days. You are a beacon of light to those looking for care and guidance while mourning a difficult loss.
You may already be assisting clients with the loss of their beloved family pet or may still be contemplating what it would look like to add these services to your existing offerings.
Whatever your situation may be, there are some very simple yet meaningful ways you and your organization can show families that you care about the loss they are experiencing. These are elements of care that are sure to establish your firm as the deathcare organization of choice for families.
Here are some ideas that you can implement at your firm.
Host a Support Group
Bring together a community of pet lovers to share their experiences in a safe and non-judgmental environment.
From brochures assisting children with the death of their pet to information on how other pets in their home may grieve, these comforting guidance pieces are timeless and will certainly be shared with others. Click here for brochure examples and additional resources.
Provide a Holiday Remembrance Ceremony
If you’re already hosting a memorial program at the holidays, allow families to also honor their four-legged family members during this time. If you’re not doing holiday programs, this is yet one more way to stay in touch with families and show you still care.
Host a Charity Walk
If you own a cemetery, considering partnering with a local shelter or rescue organization in facilitating a charity dog walk through your park. Handing out doggie waste bags and water bottles with your logo and branding on them will have “sticking power” for years to come, not to mention having your park associated with such a wonderful philanthropic event.
Honor Pet Memorial Day
The second Sunday of September is National Pet Memorial Day. Partner with local ministers to host a memorial ceremony in your parking lot or chapel. Invite the local shelters, rescue groups, and pet lovers. Don’t forget to extend your invitation list to include local doggie bakeries, boarding facilities, veterinary clinics, groomers, and the K-9 and working dog groups in your market.
Consider hosting a bubble release or adding an area where children can create memory boxes or clay paw prints they can take home with them. You can also provide materials so they can make a memory wall of paper or fabric and add their pet’s name. Before the ceremony, have families send photos of their pets and create a memorial tribute video. It’s a great way to add names and their contact information to your database for future follow-ups.
Honor Working Dogs
Extend your services to the local K-9 teams, SAR (search and rescue) organizations, and therapy dog groups to honor the work they do. Aug. 10 is International Assistance Dog Week. In honor of their past or present service, create a ceremony to say thank you.
Blessing of the Pets
Oct. 4 is the feast day of St. Francis, the patron saint of the lowly and animals. Throughout the month of October, many organizations will host pet blessings. Host your own at your facility with your team.
Help Families Plan Ahead
Partner with a local attorney to share the nuances of pet trusts and allow families to complete their own guide to planning ahead for themselves and for their beloved pet. Invite your preneed team to these sessions and then schedule those appointments to help the humans with their wishes, as well as sharing their wishes for their pet. Click here for more resources.
Promote Your Efforts
After you decide to host some of the above events or make those resources available, let your clients know. What a beautiful, powerful marketing message to share – letting people know that you now have support for any type of loss they’re experiencing. Send this message to your current client base and consider strategically placing an ad in a local pet publication. Also make sure to share this information on all your social media profiles, as well as your website. You can also consider placing fliers where pet lovers hang out.
Pet lovers in your market will thank you for the efforts you take in helping them pay tribute and honor the life they shared with their special pet. After all, pets are the family members we get to pick!
More about the author: Coleen Ellis is an author, international speaker, consultant, and blogger. She is the founder of Two Hearts Pet Loss Center.