GriefSPEAK: Not your Stephen King’s Pet Sematary – Mari Nardolillo Dias

by Dr. Mari Nardolillo Dias, contributing writer on grief and grieving

It is of no surprise that the loss of a pet oftentimes trumps the loss of a human. Our pets provide us with unconditional love and do not judge. We can always count on them to greet us, despite the amount of time, with great zeal and passion. There is no question of the amount of love they have for us. They communicate with body language and eye contact and know our rhythms. It is no wonder that our hearts break for a pet who has passed. We have shared our inner most thoughts with them, shared our meals and our beds. And now they are gone. We are lost without our constant companion. 

Final Gift Memorial Pet Center ( now located in Cranston, Rhode Island offers us a ceremonial departure similar to those we provide for humans. Final Gift offers caskets, a family viewing and burial. As noted recently, pet obituaries have become more and more common. We need to honor these constant companions, and Final Gift provides us that opportunity. They offer aftercare that includes cremation services, viewing and visitation, a pet compassion careline, grief support resources and two pet cemeteries.  Their facilities, located in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and now Rhode Island invite us to read their story behind these services:

“You may find yourself asking, “What does Final Gift mean in the company name Final Gift Pet Aftercare Services and Pet Memorial Centers?”

As pet parents who have lost a very special family companion ourselves, we discovered an honorable gift, if you will, of respectfully saying goodbye to our dearly missed dog, Felicia. Through pet cremation or animal burial, you can offer your lost dog, cat, exotic pet, goat, horse, or other small or large animal one last parting farewell that truly speaks to the soul; “Although you are gone, my friend, you will never be absent from my heart.”

You may even find a glimmer of hope and healing in that beautiful urn displayed on your mantle or in your cherished pet’s private burial plot that you decorate with flowers and visit from time to time. Such mementos and other memorial keepsakes honor your pet’s life forever and serve as comforting reminders that your companion’s bright spirit will always shine in your heart.

Their online memorials are testaments to the many pets whose families have taken advantage of the services of Final Gift.”

As a grief therapist and Death Doula, I am well aware of the grief that accompanies the loss of a pet. Final Gift is here to help us in assisting them across the rainbow bridge.


NOTE: Ashaway event moved to May 17th

Dr. Mari Nardolillo Dias is a nationally board-certified counselor, holds a Fellow in Thanatology and is certified in both grief counseling and complicated grief. Dias is a Certified death doula, and has a Certificate in Psychological Autopsy.

She is Professor of Clinical Mental Health, Master of Science program, Johnson & Wales University. Dias is the director of GracePointe Grief Center, in North Kingstown, RI.  For more information, go to: