One Excellent Reason for Providing Pet Loss Support

This, my friends, is Courage. Actually, “Courage the Brave Dog” is what my youngest son named the puppy who joined our family in December of 1999. A name chosen in contradiction to the cartoon series Courage the Cowardly Dog, which was also new to Cartoon Network that year; Courage really did his best to grow into that brave canine the boy was hoping for.

Today the boy is a young man of twenty-three, and dear Courage is nearing the end of his time with us. He has congestive heart failure, you see; and (thanks to our brilliant veterinarian and a whole lot of medication) the remaining time he has is as good as it can be. But there is no turning around on this path; each day I see subtle signs of his continuing decline.

Yet, he still enjoys his walk in the cool of the morning, and eating hasn’t lost its appeal. So, on we go.

In the Back of My Mind

Every morning at four, and again twelve hours later, I give Courage a spoonful of unsweetened applesauce with five pills — literally “pouring” the pills down his throat. I walk him when I can, and feed him especially delicious ‘snacks’. Yes, he’s spoiled. But why not? Each day is a celebration of the simple fact we are still together.

Yet, I see clearly what’s ahead. And knowing there were caring funeral service professionals who offered our community pet loss services would be comforting. But, there aren’t any. Granted, we only have three funeral homes in our county, two of which belong to the same business entity — but neither firms offer pet loss services.

And that’s bothersome. On two levels really; yes, I’d like professional pet loss support, and would reach out when I needed it. If there was a local firm to reach out to.

But, here’s what’s really troubling — what’s really in the back of my mind. I’m stunned that no local funeral firm owner or manager has been forward-thinking enough to examine this business-building opportunity close enough to see it for what it is: a natural extension of a funeral professional’s commitment to service; one that could add revenue and position you as a compassionate, full-service funeral firm.

It’s Not Just Natural…it’s Smart

Kit Yarrow, author of an October 2012 Time Magazine online article, Millions on Pet Halloween Costumes? Why We Spend More and More on Pets, shares some staggering numbers about Americans and their pets. “Last year, consumers spent $51 billion on pets,” Yarrow writes, “a record that’s expected to be broken again this year. As recently as 2002, total pet expenditures in the U.S. came to less than $30 billion.”

And it seems we’ve got more pets today than ever before. “Part of the surge in pet spending,” says Yarrow “is simply because there are more pets out there. In 1988, 56% of American households had a pet. Today, pets are part of 62% of homes.” That’s a whole lot of families, and you can bet many of them are in need of trusted pet loss service providers. And the smart ones will turn to their local funeral firm for assistance. Why? Because it’s a natural assumption to make.

Will It Be Your Phone Which Rings?

It could be. And it should be. If the thought of adding pet loss services to your funeral firm offerings is daunting — maybe you don’t even know the first thing about pet loss — put your anxieties in your back pocket for a minute, and click on this link.

The page offers details on the  Pet Loss Business Development Conference, held in three different locations during the months of July:

July 22 – Albany, New York

July 24 – Baltimore, Maryland

July 26 – Orlando, Florida

Talk about an intensive learning experience! Focusing on the dynamic ways in which to develop appropriate Pet Loss Memorial Services within a community, each day-long conference includes the following business-building presentations:

Courage Wants to Know…

Will you be there for a family like his — brokenhearted and facing the imminent loss of their cherished animal companion? He and I both would like to think you will be.

If you’re “on the fence” about adding pet loss services to your funeral firm offerings, attending one of the three July Pet Loss Business Development Conferences scheduled for July, 2013 will give you the insights you need to take the opportunity, and make it uniquely yours. The Pet Loss Business Development Conference really is — as the headline describes — “opportunity unleashed”. Download the registration form, or visit the webpage for additional conference details. Here’s something else: Courage and I believe this is perhaps one of the biggest opportunities — one of the most exciting game-changing developments — in funeral service today. And just like his favorite squeaky toy, Courage wants you to grab it and run. Believe me, we won’t be far behind you. Even now, he does so love to play.

Have you added pet loss services to your firm’s offerings? Courage and I would love to know how it’s going!


  • Ashley, it was a delight to write this post…every word of it is heart-felt and honest. If I were the owner of a funeral firm, I’d really take a close look at the viability of adding pet loss services to their offerings. Especially firms in urban areas, where the final care options available to families are limited. Courage and I agree: families will appreciate their willingness to help during a really emotionally-rocky time. Yet, the best advice is this: seize the opportunity, if it makes sense for your demographic. (Chances are, it does.) That’s the crux of it.

  • Thanks for sharing your personal experience on this topic Kim! I truly enjoyed reading it and how it relates to the pet loss business. And little Courage – what a cutie!

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