Religious Practices

While religious texts have numerous passages supporting kindness to animals, have religions kept pace – or rather, have theologians and people of faith kept pace – with more recent understandings of what it means to be an animal? Animals are not merely property or metaphors for something ‘bestial,’ we find many to be intelligent and emotional beings. The fields within the animal sciences have changed dramatically in recognizing this. It certainly explains why, despite cultural convention and theological misinterpretation, human beings can form such strong relationships with other animals. 

How do today’s religions respond at the passing of a beloved animal, regarded as a family member? Can traditions allow beloved dogs and cats to be buried in our family plots? We are beginning to explore this with our new page focusing on religious practice.

Please share your religious practice for services and burials.

Buddhist Tradition

Sean Robsville’s Transcultural Buddhism website does not present a completely accurate perspective on the Abrahamic religions, yet does provide useful information for a Buddhist burial ceremonly for a beloved pet.

Christian Tradition

Here are two models for a burial service, one by the The Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation’s “All-Creatures” program, and another by The Reverend Robert E. Stiefel, Ph.D.

Jewish Tradition

A beautiful service with scriptural and other passages from Ritualwell. We would add the Mourner’s Kaddish, and would suggest referring to the female lamb in Nathan’s story to David as “she/her” rather than “it/its.”


updated May 9, 2014

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