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Ms. Rubin sounds like a woman after my own heart. I wish she could have crashed my mother’s funeral in 1998. We had a 21-squirt-gun salute that devolved into a water fight, a Dixieland band tribute, followed by schottische dancing (kind of like a polka for four people if you’ve never heard of it) with Mom’s spirit as the fourth member. I’ve already specified in my will that I want my ashes placed in a 1960s ceramic cookie jar featuring Betty and Barney Rubble from “The Flintstones.” I wrote “Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss,” with many of the same goals in mind as Ms. Rubin—to teach people that being prepared doesn’t mean you’ll hasten anyone’s death and you just might value life more in the moment if you do. Thanks for this unique and intriguing effort. (By the way, I LOVED “Harold and Maude” and its messages about taking control over the course of your life and living it fully.)—Sid

Woman Plans To Attend 30 Funerals in 30 Days.

Albuquerque, NM – Starting October 30, the 11th annual Create a Great Funeral Day, event planner Gail Rubin will launch the “30 Funerals in 30 Days Challenge.”

Rubin, the author of A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, will attend 30 funerals or memorial services in 30 days and write about each on her blog, The Family Plot ( The 30 Funerals in 30 Days Challenge is designed to bring light to a dark subject and help families get end-of-life conversations started.

The “30 Funerals in 30 Days Challenge” will:

– Show that funerals are a life cycle event much like a wedding, best planned more than a few days ahead of time.
– Illustrate the many creative ways people celebrate the lives of those they love.
– Help reduce a fear of talking about death – something that will happen to us all.
– Feature both memorial services and funerals, religious and non-religious events, as well as expected and unexpected deaths.

“Just like the lead characters in the cult film, Harold and Maude, I’m attending funerals for people I don’t know. This ‘30 Day Challenge’ will show that we need not fear having end-of-life conversations,” said Rubin. “Just as talking about sex won’t make you pregnant, talking about funerals won’t make you dead – and your family will benefit from the conversation.”

The recently released survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life revealed that atheists, agnostics, Jews, and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge. They outperformed evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants, and Catholics on questions about core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions.

A Good Goodbye devotes an entire chapter to religious funeral traditions for major faiths, providing an excellent resource for interfaith families who might not know much about their own religious traditions, let alone their partner’s.

“I’ve noticed a lot of traffic to The Family Plot Blog comes through the postings on religious traditions for funerals, which tells me there’s quite a need for this information,” said Rubin.

Create a Great Funeral Day was started in 2000 by Stephanie West Allen, a lawyer who wrote Creating Your Own Funeral or Memorial Service: A Workbook and an advocate for people planning their own funerals.

Rubin’s forthcoming book, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die (Light Tree Press), provides the information, inspiration and tools to plan and implement creative, meaningful and memorable end-of-life rituals for people and pets. The book may be reserved at a pre-publication discount at


I am a member of Connecting Directors, a Facebook/LinkedIn-type social networking group that targets those in the funeral business. I wanted to share this article they recently posted. I applaud any funeral home that is wise enough to open themselves to serving the pet-loving populace. It’s good for their bottom line, of course, but it also sends a very validating message to pet owners who otherwise might suffer from the perceived stigma attached to grieving the death of a pet as a family member. You might like to check with some funeral homes in your own area and suggest to them that they offer pet funeral services—and of course that they carry my book, “Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss,” as a means of providing ongoing support to their clients in need. (Subtle, huh?)—Sid


Monday, 01 November 2010 20:45

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imageAlmost 7 years later, I still hear from funeral directors and cemeterians that they are concerned about offending people by offering pet loss services. Okay, I hear what you are saying. However, as you really take a look at this group of people, the pet parents, I challenge you to understand how you CANNOT look at serving this market.

First of all, as I look at funeral homes/cemeteries around the United States, owners and employees of these operations are encouraged to “become” a part of their community. They are members of the Lions Club, the Elks Club, the Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, various church affiliated associations and numerous other social clubs in their respective community.

However, as you analyze the “club” of pet parents – the numbers become astounding! Did you know that sixty-two percent of people have a pet?

That means that if you are in a market of 200,000 people, automatically you will now have a service that can be targeted at 124,000 people! 124,000 people! Do the math for your own community and what that means for you!

When on earth have you ever had a new type of service like this that automatically opens up your entire business immediately to a new demographic! Can you imagine belonging to a “club’ that now gives you something in common with over half of your market? Can you imagine servicing this group of people – and how it opens up the marketing opportunities for your entire business, all because you helped a family honor their pet in death – honor this new type of “family member?”

So, you’re still worried about offending non-pet lovers because you offer this service? Do the math,…. would you rather appeal to 62% of your market – or 38%? Because I can assure you – someone WILL go after the 62%. Why wouldn’t it be you?

Article By Coleen Ellis – Two Hearts Pet Loss Center

This article was posted on the Quirky Japan Blog. I like that it’s not only Westerners who cherish their pets and want to honor them posthumously. It’s another way in which we humans are more alike than different in ways that really count. —Sid

Buddhist Pet Funerals

May 17, 2010 — qjphotos

I hear the word “pettoro-su” (pet loss) surprisingly often these days, and it seems a lot of funeral parlors and graveyards are springing up to help bereaved owners put their loved ones to rest. One of the biggest companies is called Petto Ceremoni- Makoto (Sincere Pet Ceremonies), and it offers a wide range of pet funerals and cremations.

If you want to give your pet a sendoff, they have contracts with Buddhist temples to perform ceremonies.

After the funeral, you can have your pet’s ashes stores in a charnel house. According to their brochure, “The Shou Kannon watches over the charnel house. It’s said to be a Bodhisattva with great compassion, so you’ll be able to feel confident that your beloved pet’s soul is resting in peace through it’s enfolding kindness.” The urn storage service is free the first year, and costs 5,000 yen per year after that.

Here’s an article with more information about pet funerals:

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