“It takes a special pet to make us care so deeply and miss them so greatly.”

Small dog and cat cuddling at home

We Love Pets

It seems to be undeniable that Americans have a love affair with pets. Over 100 million households in this country have at least one pet. Dogs are the most common household pets, with over 60 million, with cats coming in second place. But let’s not forget about fish, birds, small animals (gerbils and rabbits for example), reptiles, and horses. Just take a walk around the neighborhood on a nice summer night and this fact will be confirmed, at least in respect to dogs. America’s deep affection for pets is a testament to the unique bond humans share with animals. This bond was developed thousands of years prior as confirmed on ancient hieroglyphic rock etchings in ancient times. Dogs were valued for their loyalty and skills in hunting and protection, while cats were cherished for their ability to control disease carrying vermin.

One of the most significant shifts in the perception of pets, at least in recent times, is their transition from being mere animals to becoming family members. From the wagging tails of dogs to the soothing purrs of cats, pets have become integral members of many households across the country. A survey conducted by Harris Poll found that 95% of pet owners consider their pets part of the family. This sentiment is reflected in the way people celebrate their pets’ birthdays, include them in holiday festivities, and even create social media profiles for them. Visit a restaurant patio and most likely you have shared it with a dog or two. Drive down any road and it is common to see a dog’s head sticking out of the passing car’s window. Take a plane trip and there is a good chance that you have boarded along side an accompanied pet, whether you wanted to or not. And a big amenity for any community, whether to maintain residents, or to attract new residents, is the local dog parks. The proliferation of these parks around the country in the last decade is staggering. The city of Boise, Idaho leads the way with over seven dog parks per one hundred thousand residents.

Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

Several factors have contributed to the rise in pet ownership. Numerous studies have highlighted the health benefits of owning a pet. Pets are known to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. The simple act of petting a dog or cat can release endorphins and lower blood pressure. Additionally, pets encourage physical activity; dog owners, for instance, are more likely to engage in regular exercise through daily walks. During the COVID-19 pandemic, pets played a crucial role in providing emotional support. As people faced isolation and uncertainty, pets offered unwavering companionship and comfort. Animal shelters across the country reported a surge in adoptions, as individuals and families sought the solace that pets provide.

Pet Loss Tree - Dog Over The Rainbow Bridge

Losing a Pet

The downside with the infatuation of owning pets is that they don’t typically live as long as humans. The average life span for a dog is 10-13 years depending on the size and breed. Ask any dog lover and they will tell you that they will go through mourning several times in their lifetime due to this short canine lifespan. Losing a pet is a profound and heart-wrenching experience. For many, pets are not just animals but cherished members of the family, providing unconditional love, companionship, and joy. The death of a beloved pet can evoke intense emotions, and navigating the grief that follows can be challenging. I have addressed this challenge in a prior blog, 3 Tips for Grieving the Loss of a Pet.

Man and dog sitting in a forest of Cherry trees

Pet Memorial Tree

I have noticed in the last year since that blog was published how many more people are planting a pet memorial tree in order to create an everlasting tribute for their pet or for their friends or colleagues who have lost a pet. Planting a pet memorial tree to honor a faithful dog companion is the most common given the close connection between dogs and trees. What dog would not want to be memorialized with their own tree?!

The Gifted Tree makes it easy to plant a pet memorial tree. We have a number of beautiful hand-crafted tribute options which will resonate with the recipient and show you care. Some of the tributes are pet specific such as the Paw Prints premium sympathy card and a selection of pet loss animated digital eCards. As an added bonus, The Gifted Tree has a list of pet condolence messages to include on your tribute if you are struggling to find the right words to write on the tree planting certificate. Whether you’re looking for a more meaningful way to remember your own beloved pet after they’ve crossed the rainbow bridge or you’d like to send a tribute to a friend or family member who has lost a faithful companion, a memorial tree planting for the loss of a pet will create a perfect remembrance gift and a lasting legacy. Planting a tree in honor of a dog, cat, bird, or other animal is an enduring pet memorial gift.

Dog noses emerging from a heart-shaped blanket