Have you ever seen a procession of funeral cars in which a beloved pet was riding along with the family? It probably doesn’t happen too often. For some families, however, animal companions are just as much a part of the family as sons or daughters. As such, they ride along with the bereaved in the family funeral cars on the way to the gravesite.
Animal companions are becoming more and more common at funeral services and ceremonies. Currently, there are more than 350 million animal companions in the United States. About 61 percent of American households have a pet. Thirty-nine percent of homes have a dog and 32 percent have a cat. There are also many other pets, including rabbits, hamsters and reptiles that people enjoy having as a companion. These pets become members of the household and form bonds with the family.
When a member of the family dies, pets grieve just as much as the other family members. If the person that died was the primary person in the pet’s life, that grief is even greater. When my dad died, his two dogs looked all over for him. Every time a car pulled into the driveway, they ran to the back door in hopes that it was him. Unfortunately, they were a little too wild to allow in the funeral cars with the family. But during his last years, these two dogs were just as much a part of his family as anybody else. It would’ve been nice if they could’ve said goodbye to him one last time the way we did.