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CCPC Pet Memorial Sunday Ceremony Goes Virtual for 2020

white doves
The dove release.

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.


“For 15 years on the second Sunday in September, I have been hosting a Pet Memorial event that had us gathering under a tent to listen to speakers provide information on end-of-life issues,” said Deb Chebatoris, owner of Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation. “However, 2020 is the year that everything is different—the challenge is to have this experience in a COVID-safe way.” As always, anyone who is grieving the loss of an animal companion is invited to RSVP for this annual ceremony held on Sunday, September 13, 2020 as it’s celebrated partly virtually, partly live with social distancing.

Gathering together under the tent has always been a part of the experience as attendees share their space with others as deeply affected as themselves by the loss of a precious pet. The gathering offered a unique support, and the act of writing and sharing special memories as each pet’s tribute was read was an act of healing. “Saying out loud the release recitation and then watching the doves fly, symbolically signaled our ability to begin to let go,” Deb said. Such gatherings are on the list of discouraged activities right now, so Deb devised ways to still be able to follow the ceremony without endangering anyone.

Rather than gathering under a tent, attendees will gather in a parking lot, with their cars parked safely distant from each other as they watch a portion of the ceremony on their mobile devices, then watch a live dove release. “We will gather there as we watch, on our mobile phones or iPads, a Tribute Scroll,” Deb said, referring to the video presentation created each year including the pets honored and tributes from their families. “We will say a Release Recitation and then from the safe distance of our cars, watch as the doves are released and fly skyward,” she continued. “We will be together, somewhat distanced, but visibly present as a community united in our grief.”

“You Don’t Have To Be There To Be There”

Those who can’t make it to the ceremony itself can still participate from home at that time by following along with the virtual presentations on their mobile device or computer.

“The attachment we form with our pets is remarkably strong, making their loss a uniquely hurtful experience,” Deb said. Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation has been providing comfort and compassionate care to families in the tri-state area for over 15 years. Deb knows the importance of a remembrance ceremony to assist human family members to deal with this huge loss. That’s one of the reasons she hosts the Pet Memorial Sunday ceremony each September.

If you would like to participate, go to www.ccpc.ws to RSVP for this free event. Your RSVP will register you and provide you with information about euthanasia, grief and renewal, and how to submit your 50-word tribute and picture.

Pet Memorial Sunday will be held September 13, 2020 at 2:00 p.m., Melrose Cemetery, 3064 Washington Pike, Bridgeville, PA 15017. RSVP with photo and tribute by August 27, 2020. If you have questions, please call Deb at 412-220-7800.



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.

In 2016 I related the stories of people I’ve known and the decisions they made. That presentation seemed to fit the best and it’s the presentation I’ve given each year after that.

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.


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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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 Goes Virtual for 2020

  • Such a touching time, remembering is so very important, the love remains.

    • Yes, and being together with others who understand really helps to ease the burden too.


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