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“A Day For Remembering”, Pet Memorial Sunday Event and Speaking

Pet Memorial Sunday 2016 with Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation
Pet Memorial Sunday 2016 with Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation

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.


Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation will host the annual Pet Memorial Sunday event on Sunday, September 11, 2016 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Melrose Cemetery in Bridgeville. Anyone who dealing with grief over the loss of a pet is welcome to attend.

The event begins with three speakers who explore our relationships with our pets before and after their death.

Dr. Mike Pensenstadler, VMD of Pleasant Valley Veterinary Hospital in McMurray PA, will speak on the euthanasia decision in “Our Last Moments Together”,

Elizabeth Babcock, LCSW, will provide a wealth of information on the grieving process during her talk “Our Grief Response”.

Bernadette E. Kazmarski, animal artist and writer, offers insights on why many of us choose to again open our hearts to pets in “The Joy of Pets: Pet Parenting After a Loss”.

Pet owners in attendance will be invited to provide a written tribute for their own pet which will be read by the speakers as part of the ceremony. These tributes share with all attending the very essence that made each departed pet special and beloved.

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

Hands touching the dove
Hands touching the dove

Over the twelve years that Deb has been hosting this ceremony, the  portion  that evokes the most emotion from the families in attendance is the dove release. To symbolize letting go, a single white dove is offered for each person to touch. As each person strokes the soft feathers, they remember the last touch of their pet.  Each touch acts as a bridge so that as the doves are released, those in attendance feel the ability to let go of their dear pet.

The gathering will be held under a tent on the cemetery grounds, rain or shine. Light refreshments are served afterward to encourage families to stay, share their experiences and offer each other support in their grief journey.

“When I initially thought of the phrase, “Caring for families who love their pets”, this event was a prominent activity in my ability to offer something more than just a cremation service for companion animals,” said Deb.  The letters and thank you notes that Deb has received echo that sentiment, citing the need for a ceremony that acknowledges the special bond between the pet and the family.

Caring for families who love their pets

Evidence that this caring is seen by families who chose to work with Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation, Deb offered story about a recent cremation.

“Several months ago,  a military couple deployed out of the country,  got the sad news that their dog had passed away.  The couple would not be back in the states for several months and the man’s brother was able to find a vet who was willing to keep the dog frozen until the couple could come home to make arrangements for his cremation.  While still out of the country, the couple began an exhaustive internet search for a cremation service that they felt would provide the respectful and gentle care they had always given their dog.”

“When they returned from their deployment, they began to call pet crematories in the eastern half of the United States, from New York to Florida and New Jersey to Missouri.  After speaking with a number of places, they recalled the thoughtful answers and advice that they had received from Deb.  And so, they called to make the complicated arrangements that including them flying from their home on the East Coast to their brother’s home in the Midwest, receiving and transporting their frozen dog’s body in a rented car for nine hours, and timing their arrival for a 9am appointment to start the cremation.”

“I was at my shop to greet the couple and our first challenge was removing the dog from the extensive and effective packaging that kept him cold for the entire drive.  After months, they were finally able to touch his fur, rub his ears and begin the sensitive process of saying goodbye.  They took time to visit with  and care for the dog, making clay paw prints and trimming fur for remembrances.”

Once the cremation started, we sat and talked about the many adventures this dog had experienced with them, from his puppyhood in Germany to his deployment in Hawaii.   They reminisced about the way he was such an integral part of their life as well as the lives of all who knew this dog.    When the cremation was completed, they took his cremains which were gently placed in a handmade fabric bag, kissed them and then got in their car and drove the seven hours to their home.  Having no ties or familiarity with Pittsburgh, they chose and were comforted by the care they experienced at Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation.

Pet memorial Sunday 2015
Pet memorial Sunday 2015


If you or someone you know would like to experience the care that is offered by Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation, you are invited to attend Pet Memorial Sunday on the second Sunday of September. This day was set aside as a time to remember our deceased 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.

Please RSVP

The courtesy of an RSVP is best handled by calling Deb at 412-220-7800 before  Friday, September 9.  The Pet Memorial Sunday page on the site includes  more information,  please visit

This event is planned to give solace and comfort to the human family members who have been left behind.  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 celebrations, visit the CCPC’s blog “Animus” and read “Pet Memorial Sunday 2011”.


. . . . . . .

Me speaking at Pet Memorial Sunday 2015
Me speaking at Pet Memorial Sunday 2015

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; apparently I didn’t share this afterward.

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 at the top is one of mine, wildflowers from along the trail. Daisies are for remembrance.

. . . . . . .

Last year I had no new losses to remember, but decided I would take this year to remember the rescues we’ve lost.


For those we rescued with only enough time for you to pass in loving hands, and those we could not reach, we are honored your souls called to us in your moment of need and we were able to do what we humanly could to ease your suffering.

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.

Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

cats for adoption

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile 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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© 2016 | | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!





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.

4 thoughts on ““A Day For Remembering”, Pet Memorial Sunday Event and Speaking

  • and as sure as I type this; the rescues will be honored; that they are being remembered ~~ ♥♥♥

    • Amy, even when I don’t lose one of my cats, and with rescue and a large household that is sadly frequent, it’s a wonderful annual event to remember all the animal souls we’ve loved.


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