“No one can prove that animals have souls. Asking for proof would be like demanding proof that I love my wife and children, or wanting me to prove that Handel’s Messiah is a glorious masterpiece. Some truths simply cannot be demonstrated. But if we open our hearts and allow ourselves to sympathize with their joys and struggles, we will find they have the power to touch and transform us. There is an inwardness in other creatures that awakens what is innermost in ourselves.


For ages people have known that animals have a balance and harmony we can learn from. Their instincts and adaptations to life are sometimes healthier than our own…. Other creatures have inhabited the earth much longer than we have, and as native people realized, they have much more to teach us about the world” (from: The Souls of Animals by Gary Kowalski).


There are those among us who believe animals have souls and when they die they go to Heaven. There are also those who do not believe in Heaven, or who may believe that since animals do not have souls there is no place for them in Heaven. Beliefs such as these are very personal in nature. What the staff at Thistledown believes personally in this regard does not matter. We will not attempt to influence those contacting us regarding the spirituality of animals one way or the other. What we will do is attempt to help people understand and accept what feels right for them. We should all remember that our animal friends, as short as their lives may be, impact on each and every one of us in a very individual and a very personal manner.



The journey we as pet owners take following the loss of our pets is different for each of us and for each pet we care for during our lifetime. For some pet owners, a brief “good-bye” is adequate and they are able to move on. For many other pet owners, however, we find it necessary to pay tribute to our pet. Such a tribute might be very simple yet very intimate in nature, or may be very elaborate and involve the participation of a number of people. There is no right or wrong with respect to the manner in which we pay tribute to our pet following its passing. Whatever the tribute might be, what is important is that it feels appropriate to the individuals involved.


Many pet owners wish to conduct a funeral service shortly after their pet has passed. However, there are those pet owners among us who did not have that opportunity when they lost their pet but would like to conduct a service months or even years after the loss. It is for this reason we allow our clients to design a funeral/memorial service package that best meets their needs. Set in the Thistledown Memorial Chapel, funeral/memorial services taking place at Thistledown allow the discerning pet owner the opportunity to memorialize his or her pet by providing the ambiance befitting that very special member of the family. The content of the service will be determined by the pet’s owner in consultation with Thistledown staff. Included among the funeral/memorial service features from which pet owners can choose are the following:


  • ~ Thistledown staff participation in the service;

  • ~ Minister participation in the service;

  • ~ Service bulletin preparation;

  • ~ Light refreshment options;

  • ~ Floral arrangement options;

  • ~ Music options;

  • ~ Video taping of service options;

  • ~ Support and keepsake options;

  • ~ Pet cremation options; and

  • ~ Transportation of pet remains options.


The cost of the funeral/memorial service will be dependent upon the features selected and the number of attendees.


At Thistledown we make every effort to accommodate cultural, religious and spiritual practices that may help pet owners as they grieve the loss of their beloved pet. On many occasions we have been invited to participate in such ceremonies and we feel honoured to have been included in the celebration of the pets’ lives. Over the years we have had the opportunity and pleasure to meet people who have travelled to Canada from many different countries and who represent a host of religious, spiritual and cultural beliefs. We have found, however, that no matter what their background, our clients have one thing in common: a deep love and affection for their pets, and an appreciation for how their pets have enriched their own lives.