The Reverend Robert E. Stiefel,
Dover, New Hampshire 03820-3950
At the Loss of a Pet or other Animal:
A Service of Grieving and Thanksgiving
Concerning the Service
All living creatures share the
same source of life and are equally
subject to death. The very love we have for each other
in the risen
Christ is extended as a ministry of stewardship and
a gift of love to
the pets and animals who abide with us as fellow creatures
companions. Therefore, it is appropriate for Christians
to come together
in worship at the loss, whether by death or disappearance,
of a pet or
other animal entrusted to their charge and care.
The family, household, or person(s)
who have suffered the loss may make
use of this service without the participation of ordained
clergy, but it
is appropriate that a priest be invited to preside
or take part in order
to give the absolution after the confession, if such
is said, and to
bless the people at the close.
The service is intended for celebration
in a home or other suitable gathering place, including
the chancel of a church or a small chapel or
in the out of doors at a burial site. It is not intended
in a celebration of the Holy Eucharist.
If the animal is to be buried at
the close of the service, the remains
are to be suitably covered before the service begins.
At The Loss Of A Pet Or Other Animal
The Officiant begins by saying
Blessed be the one, holy, and
People: Glory to God for ever and ever.
Officiant: The Lord be with you.
People: And also with you.
Officiant: Let us pray.
Silence may be kept, after which
the Officiant says one of the following
At the Burial of a Household Pet
0 God, you created all that is,
and you love all that you have made: we
come to you this day in grief and with thanksgiving.
We grieve the
death of our beloved N., who has been our companion
on the way, and we
thank you for the gift of (his) her presence
among us as an effective sign of
the richness of your creation and of the generosity
of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns
with you and the
Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
At the Disappearance of a Household
All knowing God, the birds of the
air, the fish of the sea, and all the
animals of the earth are yours: be with our beloved
N., who has
disappeared from our view and from our care. Protect
and defend this
your creature from all harm in this world, and in
the world to come
preserve (her) him in the heart of your love;
for the sake of your Son our
Lord, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
At the Burial of a Farm Animal
Most gracious, good Lord, we are
the people of your pasture and the
sheep of your hand: We thank you for placing us among
the beasts of the
field and allowing us to care for them and to receive
from them food and
clothing to meet our necessities. We grieve this day
the death of N.,
and we return to you a creature of your own making,
one who served as an
effective sign of the generosity of your love for
us; through Jesus
Christ our Good Shepherd, who lives and reigns with
you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
At the Burial of a Wild Animal
Almighty God, who made the beasts
of the wild to move in beauty and show
forth the glory of your Name: we grieve the death
of this creature, in
whose living and dying the power of your Spirit was
made manifest. We
stand in grief and awe, and we reverence the loss
of that which was ours
never to claim but only to behold with joy; through
Jesus Christ our
Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for
ever and ever. Amen.
When appropriate, the following
may be added
Most merciful God, comfort NN.
in their grief. Surround them with your
love, that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss,
confidence in your goodness; through Jesus Christ
our Savior. Amen.
One or more of the following or
other appropriate passages from Holy
Scripture may be read. A reading from non-biblical
may follow the biblical Reading(s).
Genesis 1:1-3; 19-25(26-31) (God
creates all living creatures)
Genesis 2:18-20a(20b-25) (Adam names the animals)
Genesis 7:1-5; 8:1-19 (Noah's ark and the great flood)
Genesis 9:1-17 (The Covenant with Noah)
Numbers 22:21-35 (Balaam's ass speaks)
Between the Readings, a Psalm or
hymn may be sung or said.
Appropriate selections from the Psalter are 23, 42:1-7,
104, 121, 131,
145:16-20, and 148:7-14.
The Prayer of Azariah 52-65 (Let
the earth bless the Lord)
also found in the Book of Common Prayer, pages 47
or 88, as Canticle 1
or 12 A Song of Creation (Invocation, II, III, and
Revelation 4:(1-6a) 6b- 11 (The
four living creatures)
Matthew 11:28-30 ("Come to
Matthew 18:10-14 (The lost sheep)
Mark 12:28-34 (The First Commandment)
After the Reading(s), the Officiant
or other person appointed may give
a brief homily. After or in place of the homily, those
who are in
attendance may be invited to speak words of remembrance
The following form of the Prayers
of the People may be used, or other
appropriate prayers may be said.
In peace, let us pray to God.
0 God our Maker, from the beginning
you have permitted us, the sons and
daughters of Adam and Eve, to name our brother and
sister creatures of
earth, sea, and sky: We commend N. (or this n.) to
the arms of your
everlasting love. Amen.
0 Christ our Savior, in your love
you gave yourself to death that the
whole world might have life: Console us who grieve,
and by the sign of
the rainbow help us to trust in your everlasting love.
0 Spirit and Giver of Life, you
abandon no creature that the flame of
your presence has enlivened: Abide with us in this
world and sustain in
us the hope that we may yet again rejoice in the companionship
of N. (or
this n.) in the world to come. Amen.
As our Savior Christ has taught
us, we now pray,
Our Father in heaven, hallowed
be your name, your kingdom come, your
will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today
our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against
us. Save us
from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the
power, and the glory are yours, now and for ever.
The traditional form of the Lord's
Prayer may be used instead of the
If appropriate, the following form
for Confession and Absolution may be
Officiant Let us confess our sins
against God, our fellow creatures,
and one another.
Silence may be kept.
Minister and People
0 God of compassion, have mercy
upon us; forgive us for our mistreatment
and neglect of the creatures with whom we share this
garden earth, for
what we have done to harm them, and for what we have
left undone to help
them; we are truly sorry and fully repent, and we
ask you to fill us
with your Spirit, that we may care for one another,
and for all your
creatures, according to your will and in the fullness
of your love;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
If a priest is present, the absolution is given as
Almighty God have mercy on you,
forgive you all your sins through the
grace of Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness,
and by the power
of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen.
If no priest is present, the Officiant
uses the preceding form and
substitutes "us" for "you" and
"our" for "your".
Other prayers may be added in place
of or in addition to the Confession
and Absolution. Except in the event of a lost animal,
conclude with the committal. In the event that the
animal being buried
is of the wild, the words "we thank you"
through "our care." are usually
Most merciful God, we return to
you N. (this n.), a creature of your own
making and your gift into our lives. We praise you
for his beauty and
strength, for his grace and power; we thank you for
companionship in our joys and sorrows; and we bless
you for the time
during which you entrusted him into our care. Receive
now N. (this n.)
back into the arms of your everlasting love, 0 Giver
of life, through
whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ all that is lost
to death is restored
to life, and in whose Name we pray. Amen.
Then may be said
Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.
The Officiant concludes with one
of the following
The grace of our Savior Jesus Christ,
and the love of God, and the
communion of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore.
May the God of hope fill us with
all joy and peace in believing through
the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen. [Romans 15:13]
In place of the above, a priest
may bless the people.
Note: the prayer of committal may
be reserved for or repeated at the
burial site, if the service is held elsewhere.