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A Liturgy for the Interment of a Beloved Pet

© 2008 Thomas Marble



Mourners are assembled with their pet at the graveside.


“Beloved, we have come in sorrow and in grief to bid farewell to our much loved friend and companion, N. and to return his/her remains to the earth from which the Creator calls all living things. We are also here to unite through the love and wisdom with which N. enriched us through participation in our lives. Even at this moment when sorrow seems to dominate our hearts, let us give thanks to God for the blessings He so generously gave us.”

Let us pray:



“In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”

“Almighty and eternal Father, we stand before you in sadness, torn with grief. We take comfort in knowing as our Creator, you know what is in our hearts. We know that as God and as man, your Beloved Son knows, feels and understands the depth of our feeling this day. We know that You, Almighty God, who knows when a sparrow falls, are ever so close to us when one whom we have loved so dearly is taken from our midst. We know that our grief is but a mere shadow of Your grief whenever one of your children chooses sin, and we are renewed in our determination to turn our sorrow into joy, just as a repentant sinner brings rejoicing to your heavenly angels.  Even as we struggle to come to terms with and to understand this, in obedience and love we raise our faces to You in simple thankfulness and gratitude for the life that You gave us for safekeeping and companionship. We ask that You send the Holy Spirit as Comforter in our grief and Counselor as we grow to understand how, through sharing the life of N. You have revealed something of Yourself to us.  We thank you and we ask for this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.



And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. Gen 1: 31


A reading from the Book of Numbers (22: 21 - 34)
Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat her to get her back on the road. Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam's foot against it. So he beat her again.
Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat her with his staff. Then the LORD opened the donkey's mouth, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?" Balaam answered the donkey, "You have made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now." The donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?"  "No," he said. Then the LORD opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. The angel of the LORD asked him, "Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared her."  

Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, "I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back."


Reader: The word of the Lord

R. Thanks be to God

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 50: 5-6, 10-11, 14-15


Cantor: The heavens proclaim his saving justice

            God himself is judge


R.         The heavens proclaim his saving justice

            God himself is judge


C:         Gather to me my faithful

            Who sealed my covenant by sacrifice

            The heavens proclaim his saving justice

            God himself is judge.


R.         The heavens proclaim his saving justice

            God himself is judge


C.        For all forest creatures are mine already,

            The animals on the mountains in their thousands

            I know every bird in the air

            Whatever moves in the fields is mine.


R.         The heavens proclaim his saving justice

            God himself is judge


C.        Let thanksgiving be your sacrifice to God,

            Fulfill the vows you make to the Most High;

            Then if you call to me in time of trouble

            I will rescue you and you will honor me.


R.         The heavens proclaim his saving justice

            God himself is judge


P: The Lord be with you

R.         And also with you

P: A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

R. Glory to you, O Lord. +

Luke 16: 19 - 22

"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side.


P. The word of the Lord.

R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ

(An appropriate meditation on animals helping us to perceive the intervention of God in our lives and animals that may bring His Mercy and Love into our lives when we are abandoned by all others. Note also that the affectionate and healing attention of the dogs preceded Lazarus’ entry to the Bosom of Abraham.)


(Those assembled may be invited to share a special memory or offer something they learned through their relationship with the departed pet. For an interment, a few small items associated with the pet may be presented for placement in the grave. This may be done in silence or quietly announced to the assembled group. If desired, the presenter may speak to the pet at this time. Some may wish to fashion a nest of straw or grass or place some soft material in the grave, particularly if no container is to be used.)


(In an interment, the body should be gently and respectfully placed in the grave at this time. The memorial items may be arranged around the body.)

Suggested Prayer at interment:

Blessed are you, O Lord, our God. Through your goodness and mercy, on the sixth day of creation, the day you created humankind, you commanded the earth to bring forth the animals of the land.* Upon your command they helped prepare the earth for us so that we could join them in sharing the bounty of your creation. You empowered humankind to name your creatures and to call from their number some who might share our lives and, through them, learn more about You and your Love than we could learn by ourselves.
We return to the earth the body of our beloved N. with grief and also with gratitude for the blessing that his/her sharing our existence brought to our lives. We commend to our hearts the memories of love and service faithfully given and gratefully received. And, Lord, though we can only dimly perceive Your Will and Your Plan, we understand that You waste nothing of your creation. We commit ourselves to the Hope that some aspect of the life you shared with us through N. in some way might be a part of the life we wait for with joyful expectation in Your Kingdom.

We offer our grief as well as our thankfulness in the Name of Your only begotten Son, Jesus, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.
** For a bird or a fish it may be appropriate to cite the 5th Day of Creation and to modify the sentence.


Closing and Dismissal


“Lord, You gave us all things needed for our comfort here on earth and to prepare us for eternal life in your Kingdom. We ask that the memories and lessons of the life we have shared with N. become part of this preparation. We ask that the Angels and Saints join in our prayers of thanks and gratitude.”


A Litany of Saints with Particular Interest in or Connection with Animals.


After each name the community responds with “Pray for us.”


Saint Hubert of Liege

Saint Hoiernin

Saint Margaret of Antioch

Saint Petroc

Saint Tydecho

Saint Vitus

Saint Brigid of Kildare

Saint Ciaran of Clonmacnois

Saint David of Wales

Saint Kevin of Glendalough

Saint Non

Saint Walstan of Rawburgh

Saint Blaise

Saint Brendan

Saint Drogo

Saint Petroc

Saint Roch, Patron Saint of dogs

Saint Beuno, Patron Saint of cattle

Saint Sylvester, Patron Saint of domestic animals


“N. has been returned to the earth’s embrace and to the sanctuary of our hearts and minds. Let us now go forth in love and peace.”


May Almighty God bless you in the Name of the Father+, and of the Son+, and of the Holy Spirit+. Amen

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