Pet Loss Candle Lighting Ceremonies: Private & Public Options

Many pet owners find some solace in candle-lighting ceremonies when a beloved pet dies. Here's how to find one or hold a private ceremony just for you.

Updated January 9, 2024
A candlelight ceremony for pet loss can be comforting.

A candlelight ceremony for pet loss serves as a memorial service to remember a cherished pet that has passed away. These ceremonies can be comforting if you're struggling with the grief associated with the death of your beloved companion animal. Even years after pets have gone, there can still be lingering pain and sadness when remembering them. You're not alone, and pet owners like you have found that a candlelight ceremony can sometimes help. 

RELATED: Coping With the Loss of Your Beloved Cat

How a Candlelight Ceremony Can Help

A candlelight ceremony or candlelight vigil can bring some comfort to grieving pet owners, calling attention to your loss and giving you a time and place to deal with your sadness. These ceremonies can be done privately, with friends and family members, or with a group of others who are going through the same situation. Either way, they help mark the occasion and give you a chance to say what you maybe never had the chance to, when your pet was alive.

How to Hold a Pet Loss Candlelight Ceremony

The best part of a candlelight ceremony is that the only necessities are candles. Candles are thought to provide light for the departed, and their warm glow helps to relieve stress and anxiety for participants. They can also set the mood of the ceremony, allowing time for quiet reflection. Special pet memory candles can add a personalized touch.

Frame with picture of dog, burning candles and rose flower

Lay Out a Memory Table

For a ceremony where only one pet is the focus, create a memory table with favorite toys or other items, along with a candle and framed photograph.

Pick Your Pet Memorial Candle

Any type of candle can be used, from votives in glass holders to handheld tapers or a group of pillar candles.

If multiple pets are being remembered, you can create memory candles for each pet and have the owners light their pet's candle.

Make Time to Share Some Thoughts

Let each guest speak for a few minutes about his or her pet, sharing personal stories and feelings.

Prayers, poems, and other prose can be recited or hymns sung.

Decide What to Do With Candles

Once the candles have been lit, they can be left to burn for a while. Some pet owners prefer to have the candles snuffed out and then distributed to those who lit them. In this manner, participants can take their candles home and light them in private, allowing for personal reflection and private grief.

Consider a Giveaway

Some cultures mark important moments in life with a giveaway, or allowing friends and family to take items of significance related to the event. Only do this if it feels right for you, but it could feel good knowing that your beloved dog's leash is getting used by another pup, even though your dog is gone.

RELATED: Do Dogs Say Goodbye Before They Die?

Pet Loss Support Groups

Many communities have pet loss support groups, and candlelight ceremonies for pet loss can be a regular event within these groups. Check with your local animal shelter or veterinarian to see if these are available near you. If not, you could consider setting something like this up yourself or finding one online.

These community events usually include speeches about the grieving process, along with prayer or spiritual readings. This is followed by a candle lighting ceremony, in which each person in attendance lights a candle to remember their cherished pets.

RELATED: Comforting a Friend Whose Pet Has Died

Online Candlelight Ceremonies for Pet Loss

Online communities have gathered together to share their grief over the deaths of their pets. One such community, found at the Monday Candle Ceremony, has a tradition in which members light a candle each and every Monday night to remember lost pets. This is done around the world at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. The community gathers in a chat room to support one another, but this is entirely optional.

There is a schedule that is followed during the ceremony, which includes prayers and a moment of silence.

Three Candles Are Lit

  • One for your own personal pet
  • One for the pets of others
  • One for "acknowledgment and peace"

It is not required that you follow along with the ceremony, as the simple act of lighting the candles while knowing that others across the globe are participating in the same ritual can be very comforting.

Captions and Quotes For Sharing Your Candlelight Ceremony

If you would like your friends to be there for the candlelight ceremony, you can add a quote or caption to introduce the ceremony and share the link to appear.

Owner holding the pet collar

Here are some ideas:

  • Lighting a candle in loving memory of a loyal friend.
  • In every flicker, remembering moments of joy and companionship.
  • Honoring a beautiful soul with the gentle glow of candlelight.
  • A small flame for a big pawprint left on my heart.
  • Candlelight memories of a beloved pet that forever shines bright.
  • In this gentle light, we remember and celebrate a life well lived.
  • Each candle's glow is a tribute to a friendship that never fades.
  • Remembering my furry friend with love and light tonight.
  • A flame that reflects the warmth and love they brought into our lives.
  • Candlelit memories: A quiet moment to honor a treasured friend.
  • In every candle's glow, a precious memory flickers.
  • Tonight, we light a candle in loving memory of a true companion.
  • “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” -Winnie The Pooh
  • “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose; all that we have loved deeply becomes a part of us.” -Helen Keller
  • “I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you; but instead I am deeply honored knowing you spent the rest of your life with me.” -Camille Marcotte
  • “No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat.” -Leo Dworkin

  • “Everyone is taught that angels have wings. The lucky ones of us find that they have four paws.” -Jury Nel

  • "Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I'll miss you until we meet again!" -Author Unknown

  • "Those we love and lose are always connected by heartstrings into infinity." -Terri Guillemets

RELATED: More Pet Loss Captions to Share on Instagram or Facebook

You're Not Alone

The death of a family pet can be just as devastating to some as the passing of family members or friends. This is because, to many, a pet is a true family member, affording all the same love and care as any other. Pets are a large part of many people's lives, and their deaths are deeply mourned.

Companion animals, just like people, sometimes pass away quite suddenly, leaving us surprised and saddened. Even when a pet's death comes after a lengthy illness, it's still a sad occasion. There is also grief and feelings of guilt associated with the decision to have a pet euthanized, where owners second-guess themselves and wonder if there isn't a better alternative. Do what you need to do to remember you're not alone in your grief. Many others, far and wide, understand the devastating loss we feel when we're left behind. 

Trending on LoveToKnow
Pet Loss Candle Lighting Ceremonies: Private & Public Options