Americans love their pets, and in fact, most people would consider their pets an integral part of their family unit. In addition to the loyalty and unconditional love pets provide, their companionship has proven to provide numerous health benefits, such as lowered blood pressure, lessened depression, and more recently, a link between pet ownership and lowered risk of heart disease has been found. As such, according to the American Veterinary Association, the average American puts their money where their heart is: Americans spend more than $50 billion annually on the approximately 78.2 million dogs and 86.4 million cats that live in American homes. An astounding 65 percent of that $50 billion was spent on pet food and pet health care alone. This spending can continue on in the sad event of losing a beloved pet; many Americans opt to bury or memorialize their pet with pet memorial markers or pet memorial stones.
For many animal lovers, the death of a pet elicits the same stages of grief experienced with the death of any family or close friend: denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and, eventually, acceptance. All of these steps are crucial to healing, and must be embraced as we carry on with our lives. The final stage, acceptance, is perhaps one of the most difficult to achieve as we learn to cope and carry on with our irreplaceable loss. Experts agree that you must give yourself permission to mourn and feel all of the painful emotions without guilt.
As we grieve, many pet owners consider ways to honor the life of their pet. As such, pet memorial markers (for a garden or cemetery) can be purchased to mark the burial spot of your pet. Pet memorial markers are often made from metal, slate, granite, or marble, and come in a variety of sizes to fit any budget. Pet memorial markers can also house the remains of your pet, should you choose to have your pet cremated. Pet memorial markers also make wonderful and thoughtful gifts for those grieving the sudden loss in their life. In lieu of, or in addition to pet memorial markers, many pet owners choose to memorialize their pet in other ways, too. Contributions to an animal shelter, volunteerism at animal shelters, or the creation of a memorial garden, are all ways to memorialize the life of your beloved pet.