2018 Remember Me Thursday ceremony
On behalf of the Harmony Retreat and Rescue organization, I created a ceremony to honor Remember Me Thursday. The purpose of this event is to remember and honor the pets we have, the pets who have passed away, the pets who were never adopted, and the hope that more and more people will adopt one of the millions of dogs and cats waiting for a home. Part of a nationwide movement, Remember Me Thursday’s goal is to eliminate the euthanizing of rescued animals.
Here is the text of the Remember Me Thursday ceremony for 2018.
2018_Remember Me Thursday Ceremony
Ceremony created by Celebrant Robin Eisenberg for Harmony Retreat and Animal Rescue and Hart2Heart Rescue
Ryerss Museum and Library, 7370 Central Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19111
- 3 sets of candles
- 1 set for to be distributed to each attendee who has a pet who has died – distribute these to each individual who wants one
- 1 set displayed in a row for the pets who did not have a chance to be adopted
- 1 set together in a tight circle for the pets awaiting adoption
ROBIN: Hello everyone. Thank you for coming and for participating in our Remember Me Thursday ceremony. Our ceremony has four parts: 1) a celebration of the pets we have adopted, 2) a remembrance of pets we have loved who have passed away; 3) honoring the lives of pets who didn’t have a chance to be adopted; and 4) hope for the pets who are awaiting their forever home.
We begin with a poem called To Learn from Animal Being by John O’Donohue. This poem is a celebration of the presence of animals and how their being helps us to be present in our lives.
To Learn from Animal Being By John O’Donohue from To Bless the Space Between Us
|Nearer to the earth’s heart,
Deeper within its silence:
Animals know this world
In a way we never will.
Distanced and distracted
By the parade of bright
Windows thought opens:
Their seamless presence
Is not fractured thus.
Gone and time emerging,
We manage seldom
To be where we are:
Whereas they are always
Looking out from
The here and now.
|May we learn to return
And rest in the beauty
Of animal being,
Learn to lean low,
Leave our locked minds,
And with freed senses
Feel the earth
Breathing with us.
Into lightness of spirit,
And slip frequently into
The feel of the wild.
Of our animal being
Cleanse our hearts
Of corrosive words.
|May we learn to walk
Upon the earth
With all their confidence
And clear-eyed stillness
So that our minds
Might be baptized
In the name of the wind
And the light and the rain.
ROBIN: We have all been touched by the presence of animals in our lives, even if we have never adopted or owned a pet. We are mesmerized by the squirrels in our gardens. Our hearts swell when a random neighborhood cat chooses to sit on our porch. Our minds soar with the goldfinches as they fly from sunflower to sunflower. To adopt a pet, though, is an even more precious connection with animals. We choose to bring them into our lives, our homes, our families. And they choose to adapt to our personalities and quirks, our need for attention and love. They tickle our senses of humor, provide us with exercise and focus, help us to meet our neighbors, and sometimes even teach our children responsibility. Anatole France said “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” We are here today to send a light into the universe to awaken those souls.
CELEBRATION OF PETS WHO WE HAVE ADOPTED
ROBIN: How many of you have adopted a pet, whether they were rescued or selected through a vast search of American Kennel Club breeds? (show of hands) Please share your photo and tell us the name of your pet or pets, and what type of animal they are.
Attendees each show the photo of their pet(s) state their name and type of animal as we go around the circle.
Name one thing you’ve learned from your pet. (Or, how did the pet come to be part of your life? Or, what about your pet brings you joy or laughter?) Attendees share their stories.
REMEMBRANCE OF PETS WHO HAVE DIED
ROBIN: The love of our pets continues into eternity. Sadly, the lives of our pets do not. Whether our pets died on their own time, or whether they required us to help them, the loss of our pets leaves an emptiness that we are often unprepared for. The loss of a pet also means the loss of a routine, sometimes the loss of connection with other humans as well.
For those pets who have died, let us first light a candle in their memory. Please light your candle. Each attendee lights her own candle. After several minutes, continue.
ROBIN: As we remember the life and light our pets brought to us, please say your pet’s name when I look at you. We are here today to remember our beloved pets _______ (each person says the name of her pets) who enriched our lives in ways we could never have imagined. Our pets were our protectors, our comfort, our entertainment, and in many ways our best friend. May their memories be a blessing to us. As Martin Scot Kosins wrote about the loss of his pet, Maya, “if you are true to the love of the pet you cherished through the many joyfilled years, you may find that a soul – a bit smaller in size than your own – seems to walk with you, at times, during the lonely days to come. And at moments when you least expect anything out of the ordinary to happen, you may feel something brush against your leg – very very lightly.”
Please take a few minutes to silently remember your pets, to bask in their light, to be at one with them.
HONORING THE LIVES OF PETS DIDN’T HAVE A CHANCE TO BE ADOPTED
ROBIN: We turn now to consider the lives of pets who did not have a chance to be adopted. We light these candles (candles in a row) to honor the memory of these animals. Each candle stands alone so we can honor them as individuals.
Attendees light the candles.
May these animals be remembered for their bravery, and may their souls rest peacefully.
HOPE FOR PETS WHO ARE WAITING FOR THEIR FOREVER HOME
ROBIN: More than six million cats and dogs enter shelters each year, waiting to be adopted. We light these candles to spark the prospective adoptive parents in the world and nudge them a bit closer to finding the heart and soul they didn’t know they needed. (We light the candles that are in a tight circle.)
Whether it is a forlorn looking terrier or an aloof calico cat, there is an animal out there somewhere waiting for a human to fall in love with them. Ty Burr wrote in the Boston Globe “To rescue a dog is to bring into your home a being who has already been imprinted by experience, wired to behave for better and for worse, on purpose or by accident. They reveal that wiring when you least expect it.”
These candles, clustered together to make the light brighter, represent the hope we have that more and more cats and dogs each year will find their human families. The candles also represent the hope we have that more and more humans will answer the call to adopt a new, four-legged family member.
ROBIN: Look at all of these lights, lit for the pets we knew, the pets we did not, and the pets we hope someone will love. As you leave here tonight, consider posting something on social media or talking to people you know to continue spreading the light for pet adoption on this Remember Me Thursday.
(c) 2018 Celebrant Robin Eisenberg