The time for celebrating the life of a beloved pet is throughout life. But as John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." So when it comes time to celebrate and memorialize the relationship you had with your special being, you may find it tough to find the right music for a ceremony. Songs written for lost loves and human goodbyes, when put into the context of the love between a companion animal and his family, work very well.
Take, for instance, Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven." This song was written for his 4-year-old son who fell to his death from a 53rd floor Manhattan balcony. Anyone who has ever lost a loved one understands how you can be so distracted by the tragic loss, you feel as if you are in another place, searching for them. Eventually, you know you don't belong "here in heaven" and acknowledge it's time to go back to reality. The slow, haunting melody makes it a perfect song choice for a pet memorial.
Just For Dogs
Songs written by lyricists who understand and celebrate the lives and relationships of dogs and people are mostly up-tempo. Several, however, feature the slow melodies and healing lyrics to render them suitable for a pet memorial. "I Love My Dog" by Cat Stevens is a reminder of the unconditional love between a person and his dog. "Old Blue," as sung by Joan Baez, is a little less forlorn and the lyrics will easily resonant with you. An old '70s tearjerker, "Shannon" by Henry Gross, describes the loss of a dog who has "drifted out to sea," which could be a metaphor for the great beyond. A little more upbeat song, suitable for the closing of a ceremony, is John Hiatt's "My Dog and Me."
Irish Goodbye Songs
The Irish are known for their prowess with writing and experience with loss. If you're not set on a song about a specific type of pet, there are a range of songs with which everyone in attendance will identify. Ireland brings us "Danny Boy," by Frederic Weatherly; "Lost," by Salmon's Leap; and "Only Time," by Enya. They are hauntingly beautiful and poignant in their expressions of sadness and loss being a part of life.
Songs To Cry By
Linda Ronstadt's "Goodbye My Friend" is a beautifully written song about truly letting go. And while Karen Carpenter's rendition of "Bless the Beasts and the Children" is not specifically about saying goodbye, it celebrates the animal/human bond by reminding us that "in this world they have no choice, they have no voice" and has a melody that could easily pass for a dirge. Kristen Chenoweth's "Borrowed Angels" helps us to remember that everyone is here in this life for only a blink of an eye. "Bright Eyes," by Art Garfunkel, sorrowfully describes the light of life fading from a loved one's bright eyes. Finally, Barbra Streisand's "Memory" from the musical "Cats" is beautifully written prose about rebirth.
- YouTube: Cat Stevens "I Love My Dog"
- YouTube: Lost by Salmon's Leap
- YouTube: Enya - Only Time
- YouTube: Goodbye My Friend By Linda Ronstadt
- YouTube: Bright Eyes - Art Garfunkel
- YouTube: Memory - Barbra Streisand
- YouTube: Henry Gross - Shannon
- YouTube: Carpenter - Bless the Beasts and the Children
- Last.fm: Old Blue, Joan Baez
- YouTube: Danny Boy, The Irish Tenors