Prayers for the Burial of a Pet

Have the place of interment prepared already. Prepare the body of the deceased pet by wrapping it in cloth and placing it in an appropriately sized box. Prepare a place where the body can lie “in state” for a time, perhaps in the lounge room. Place a candle, and perhaps a photograph of the pet with the children near the box.

Begin the prayers in the room where the body is resting.

Psalm 104

The eyes of all look to you, O Lord,
and you give them their food in due season;
you open your hand,
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in his works.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord!

Reading: Revelation 21

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.”

This is the word of the Lord:
Thanks be to God.

 

Prayer (By Rabbi Barry H. Block), especially suitable for burials where children are involved. Each family member may take it in turns to say one of these prayers.

O Lord our God, we come before you this day in sadness.  {Pet’s Name}, who brought us so much joy in life, has now died.   His/her happy times in our family’s embrace have come to an end.  We miss him/her already.

Help us, O God, to remember the good times with {Pet’s Name}.  Remind us to rejoice in the happy times he/she brought to our home.  Let us be thankful for the good life we were blessed to give to him/her.

We are grateful to you, God, for creating {Pet’s Name}, for entrusting him/her to our care, and for sustaining him/her in our love for a measure of time.   We understand that all that lives must die.   We knew that this day would come.  And yet, O God, we would have wanted one more day of play, one more evening of love with {Pet’s Name}.

O God, as we have taken care of {Pet’s Name} in life, we ask that you watch over him/her in death. You entrusted {Pet’s Name} to our care; now, we give him/her back to you.  May {Pet’s Name} find a happy new home in your loving embrace.

As we remember {Pet’s Name}, may we love each other more dearly.   May we care for all your creatures, for every living thing, as we protected the blessed life of {Pet’s Name}.  May his/her memory bless our lives with love and caring forever.  Amen.

Or this shorter version, especially if children are not involved. Modify the “I” to “we” as necessary:

O Lord our God, {Pet’s Name}, who brought such joy in life, has died. Thank you for creating {Pet’s name}, for entrusting him/her to my care for a measure of time, and for all the good times and the happiness that he/she brought. 

All that lives must die, and I knew that this day would come, but the reality of death is hard, and I am grieving.

O God, as I have taken care of {Pet’s Name} in life, watch over him/her in death. You gave him/her breath; now I entrust him/her to you.

As I remember {Pet’s Name}, may his/her memory lead me to love and care for the people around me, and praise you by respecting the life of every creature. Amen

Our Father…

[Hail Mary]

Glory be…

Hymn to be sung as the deceased pet is carried to the place of interment.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

The purple headed mountains,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

 Place the body in the grave and encourage the children to assist with placing the soil on the body and filling in the grave. Place a pot plant or plant a flowering bush to mark the grave.

23 Responses to Prayers for the Burial of a Pet

  1. matthias says:

    . The last hymn by St Francis very apt for burial of a beloved pet. i can remember singing it to myself as I cradled my 15 year old dog who had died in my arms froma stroke.
    Except to quote your friend pastor AB he cpuld never think of it without also picturing Mr Bean in church!!

  2. Christine says:

    The readings and prayers are so appropriate and comforting.

    Thanks, David.

    Christine

  3. rod garner says:

    Thank you. About to conduct a service this evening for much loved dog of a friend.

  4. ROBERT says:

    thank you, I feel that our pets help us to see the wonders of God. All they ask is love food and water. How we complicate our lives asking for everything. Tucker showed true companionship and a good defender. The prayers helped by showing that religion recognizes all of God’s creatures. Tuk lost his short battle with liver disease. Thank God for him.

  5. Gene says:

    Found comfort in the prayers of our deceased and loved Cocoa. Thank you.

  6. Rosita Nieves says:

    Thank you so much. I just lost my beloved cat today to cancer very fast.These words are very comforting. Even though I took care of her from the beginning, She had 9 lives & suffered from the beginnng with other people but she chosed me & lived an extra 13 wonderful years , bringing me joy. I will miss her soooo o much. Thank you my little angel…

  7. Susan says:

    Thank you most sincerely for these beautiful prayers. We have had our beautiful black cat Mia for ten years; in fact not long after we moved into our current house. She was timid and shy, and I get the feeling that she had been mistreated. Anyway, she chose a new home with us, in arriving on our doorstep one day. I found her dead in our driveway this evening, and my family and I have used the prayers and had a ceremony for her this evening. Feeling oh so sad! So glad I found your website and thanks again. We are all God’s precious creations. Rest in God’s care, Mia.

  8. Prateek Edwin says:

    RIP King my beloved Great Dane. Life will never be the same without you my friend. I Love You. Good Boy.. Stay blessed wherever you are.

    • Schütz says:

      Sorry to hear of your Great Dane’s passing. I hope the prayers were helpful. I am curious, though, if you will forgive my insensitivity… This morning one of my pet rats died, and I had to dig the burial hole, which in the rain and cold was hard enough. But I am trying to imagine burying a Great Dane…

  9. Patric says:

    Thank you for this beautiful prayer service for pets. We know that our beautiful Lily is hurting no more. She has a place in heaven yet she will always be in our hearts.

    • Schütz says:

      Thank you. I am glad you found it helpful. I have recently written the shorter prayer version because rats don’t live so long, and I seem to be having little burials every couple of weeks! Another one died last night in lap, poor little thing.

  10. Judy says:

    God bless all my pets that have passed on, but on July 4, 2016 I lost Jenna who was fifteen years young, my little sweet dog, and the above prayers are so beautiful. I pray that God has a special place for my little girl. I will really miss her. Rest in sight, “she was blind”, health and happiness and God’s loving arms, Jenna. I love you so much.

    • Schütz says:

      I’m glad that these prayers are proving useful for people to express their grief. All life is precious and we should thank God for the gift.

  11. Dennis Gorlin says:

    Thanks God l found this prayers today just what l was looking for, right after my dog had pass away in my arm’s. He died from cancer very distressing to watch him die this way a very beautiful dog of almost fifteen years, will be missed dearly, just finished digging his grave in the rain.
    God bless

  12. Mary Marshall says:

    I lost my cat of 16 years yesterday and found this site. Thank you it does help. His name was Francis, Nasty Nate and Cat over the years. I will miss that ole man for he trained me well and was such a smart cat who happen to pick me for his owner. I will so miss him.

  13. James John Bianco says:

    Just wanted to thank, Rabbi Barry H. Block, for his beautiful prayer. In the next few day’s, my wife, and I, will be putting our Dalmation, Angle to sleep, and we will be reading your prayer, because we can no longer, allow her to suffer, simply to continue, the joy, and love, and friendship, and happiness, she has brought us, so that we will be happy. Angel, I believe Angel was a very special gift to us from God, but now I believe it’s time for her to return home, to cross Rainbow Bride to be with the creator of all. May we meet her again one day, when our own time comes, and may she watch, as we touch the hand of God together. Again, ” thank you ” Sir.

    Writer / Poet / Author

    James John Bianco

  14. Karen says:

    Thank you for these prayers. I found them now as I needed them most. My cat Dante, whom we’ve been blessed to have had in our lives for 12 years, just passed away about 30 minutes ago after fighting stage 4 renal failure. Years ago, when we first got him, I didn’t think he liked me nor me him, but I loved him with all my heart. We will surely miss him and will see him again one day at the Rainbow Bridge and cross into Heaven together. I love you Dante and will miss you forever. Same goes for my beloved Barnaby and Katrina (doxies) and Black Jack (bunny) whom we also lost over the last couple of years. I love and miss all of you!

    • Schütz says:

      Dear Karen,

      I am glad these prayers were a comfort for you. I am not myself certain of the idea of a shared “heaven” where we are reunited with our pets. Historically, this idea is an extension of the 17th Century idea that we are reunited with our family members in the afterlife (yes, literary investigations show this idea is that recent!). I am, however, convinced that nothing which God creates is lost forever, and that the whole of his creation – our pet dogs, cats and rats included – will be included in that redemption which our Lord Jesus was accomplished for the whole of suffering creation. Peace be with you.

  15. William Kingsley says:

    Thank you for publishing this.
    It is a great comfort in our time of bereavement.
    Thank you to Rabbi Block for the wonderful prayer.

  16. Premie Joseph says:

    Thank so much for this beautiful prayer. On Sunday our German Shepherd , Russell of 12 yrs was put to rest. He was a vibrant, loving and energetic but the last 3 days were painful. I had to make a decision to let him go home. No more pain and suffering. God so graciously allowed me to find this beautiful prayer to prepare for his burial. Thank you so much and may you be blessed.

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