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CCPC Pet Memorial Sunday Ceremony “A Day For Remembering”

I am a speaker at this annual event, and Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation is one of my customers. This is the official press release for this event.


A Remembrance You Can Cuddle

“Your pet is special to you and your family. With this one-of-a-kind bond often comes a family’s desire to memorialize their pet in a special way and CCPC strives to fulfill that request,” said Deb Chebatoris, owner of Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation.

“Listening to you and your family tell me what made your pet special gives me the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind memorial,” she continued. “Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation is here to see that you have choices so that what you keep in your home brings you comfort and peace.”

As an example of the many unique presentations that Deb has created, the picture shows a white monkey, the pet’s favorite toy, hugging the turquoise bag that contains the pet’s cremains. Another family provided their pet’s favorite brown plaid blanket. His favorite toy, a tan monkey, was made to snuggle the bag (made from his blanket) forever. Still another family requested to have their beloved pet’s cremains interred inside his favorite toy teddy bear. Perched in a peaceful spot, he will forever be near to hug and snuggle with a small snippet of his fur to see.

The level of care given to your pet as well as your family sets CCPC apart. From personally receiving your pet from your home or your vet to the handmade fabric bag made as the vessel for return of your pet’s cremains, every cremation done by Deb at her facility in Bridgeville reflects the personal attention to detail that is the hallmark of her service.

Deb’s been providing individualized comfort and support to her families all over Western Pennsylvania for over 12 years.  She also knows the importance of a remembrance ceremony for pets we’ve lost. That’s one of the reasons she hosts the Pet Memorial Sunday ceremony each September.

Pet Memorial Sunday Remembrance Ceremony

Pet Memorial Sunday 2016
Pet Memorial Sunday 2016

The second Sunday of September was set aside as a time to remember our pets by the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories. Deb has hosted a ceremony on Pet Memorial Sunday since 2005 for families who have lost a pet.

“Our society does not normally have a ritual to help families transition through the loss of a pet. This event is an effort to meet that need,” said Deb.

Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation will host its annual Pet Memorial Day remembrance ceremony on Sunday, September 9, 2018 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Melrose Cemetery in Bridgeville. Anyone who is dealing with grief over the loss of a pet is welcome to attend.

As part of the ceremony three speakers will discuss our relationships with our pets both before and after their death.  Topics addressed by the speakers include “Our Last Moments Together”, “Our Grief Response” and “The Joy of Pets: Pet Parenting After Loss”.

Families can add their part to the ceremony

Pet owners in attendance are also invited to offer their own “Words of Tribute” which are read by the speakers as part of the ceremony. The tributes offer a glimpse of what was so very special about their departed pet.

Here are two examples of tributes that were written in prior years:

“In remembrance of Hobbes, a little black cat who lived life at full speed, loved with his whole heart and had something to say about absolutely everything.  You taught me the importance of not taking things too seriously. I miss you every day.”

“Lacey was a seven pound Maltese ball of fluff (hence her affectionate name ‘Peach’). She had the heart of a lion, the smarts of a sheepdog and the demeanor of a wise old owl. She loved being a part of everything we did and was simply ‘one of the girls’.”

Families are also encouraged to bring a photo or memento of their pet to be displayed during the ceremony.

After the tributes are read, each participant is given a lit candle and is encouraged to join in a Release Recitation focusing on the transition from being in this life to being a treasured memory.

The dove release

We touch the lead dove just before she is released to fly home.
We touch the lead dove just before she is released to fly home.

One of the most touching parts of the ceremony is the dove release. To symbolize letting go, a single white dove is offered to each person to touch. Each touch is a final goodbye, a transfer of the family member’s grief and a release of the soul of their beloved pet as the dove rises to the sky.

A permanent remembrance

After the ceremony, pet owners who wish to participate may submit their pet’s photo and tribute which, along with photos and remarks from that year’s event, are made into a video/slideshow, called the “Tribute Scroll”. The Tribute Scroll is added to the CCPC website for families who wish to remember the day and share it with family and friends. Tribute Scrolls from 2010 to 2017 can be viewed at

Please RSVP

Since the gathering will be held under a tent in the cemetery (rain or shine) it is important that family members who want to attend call to RSVP so that adequate seating can be prepared. Light refreshments are served afterward as participants are invited to share the companionship and experiences of other families who are deeply grieving the loss of their pet.   Kindly call Deb to RSVP by Friday, September 7 at 412-220-7800

For more information, please visit

Also, in order to provide a peaceful environment for all, it is not appropriate to bring live pets to this event.

To read about past Pet Memorial Sunday events, visit the CCPC’s blog “Animus” and read “Pet Memorial Sunday 2011”.

. . . . . . .

pet memorial sunday
Me during my presentation.

Loving Again After Loss

I’m always happy to speak on this topic. It’s focused on why we choose to live with animals, especially after a loss. Deb watched me over a period of years lose a number of cats, then gain a number of cats, then lose again, and decided I would probably have something valuable to say about loving and losing and loving again, and I always draw from my own experiences:

In 2011 I spoke about losing all my senior cats in one year, and then losing Lucy, but that she brought me Mimi and her children.

In 2012 I spoke about losing my two oldest kitties, Cookie and Kelly, in one year and though I’d just lost Kelly a month before I knew it had changed my relationship with cats forever.

In 2013 I spoke about taking in Lakota and Emeraude knowing my relationship with them would be brief, and losing Lakota after six weeks but loving him nonetheless ( I didn’t realize I hadn’t shared this here, but had had it published in Pittsburgh PetConnections in September 2013. I will probably share this article again this coming Sunday as its own feature).

In 2014 I mentioned that our relationship with pets is not all about us, but about both of us, we and our pet and what each of us feels and gives and takes to and from each other, and pointing out that fosters, Emeraude, Kennedy and Basil, then named Smokie, had each been abandoned and even grievously injured by humans, and yet let go of that pain and turned around to love and trust another human who was a complete stranger.

In 2015 I spoke about animals being healers, and how they can soothe our grief without us even knowing it. I will share my talk from 2015 soon; I will have to recreate it because I can’t find my notes.

In 2016 I related the stories of people I’ve known and the decisions they made.

Why do we take animals into our lives? 

Because we need them, and also because they need us, and we can’t fear to love for fear of loss.

Perhaps I’ll see you there. If not, my thoughts will be with my own losses, and all those I’ve read about in the past year.

And the photo we used for this year’s invitation is one of mine, from October this year. Butterflies, because they change from one form to the next but continue to exist, are often seen as the spirits of our loved ones visiting us, and purple symbolizes many things including mourning, remembrance and the fight against animal cruelty.


Each Friday I post articles about Health and Safety and Veterinary Medicine as well as press releases about animal events in the Pittsburgh area.

Also read my essays and articles on Pet Loss and other articles on Pet Memorial Sunday.

Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals




Animal Sympathy Cards

I Will Always Walk With You
I Will Always Walk With You

I took this photo one June morning in 2009, less than two weeks before I lost Namir, who along with Cookie spent time out in the yard with me every morning in those years. I remember turning around and seeing these prints on that flagstone as the three of us walked along the path, and hurrying to get the photo before the prints began to dry in the sun. The memory was so strong and I immediately began to form the final title of the image even before I knew what I’d do with it. I remembered it daily, knowing that Namir’s heart couldn’t hold out much longer. It was one of the first designs I visualized when I decided I really would go ahead and design the Animal Sympathy Cards.

 Click here to read more and purchase.


All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.

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Weekly schedule of features:

Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life

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From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

2 thoughts on “CCPC Pet Memorial Sunday Ceremony “A Day For Remembering”

  • Lynda S Guckert

    You have the ability to bring me to tears in just minutes of reading your articles, Bernadette. Thank you for your interesting and informative stories, and for always saying just the words that I can’t find myself.


    • Thank you for reading, Lynda. I’m glad I can share my perspective on things, and I’m glad it’s helpful to you in healing your grief.


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