DIY Day of the Dead Pet Altar

DIY Day of the Dead Pet Altar

As animal lovers we hold our pets so close to our hearts that many of us consider them to be part of our families. We promise to give them the love and care that they deserve throughout their lives, and we agree to inevitably feel the pain of losing them when their time comes. Check out how to honor your pet with this easy DIY Day of the Dead Pet Altar.

Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, is a holiday celebrating those that have left our lives and remembering the joy that they brought us.

DIY Day of the Dead Pet Altar

At The Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSA), we know that your pets are a part of your family. Similarly, we know that the grief that accompanies losing that family member can be devastating. Our hope is that this DIY Day of the Dead Pet Altar tutorial will give you a way to honor your pet this year and for years to come.


In this DIY Day of the Dead Pet Altar tutorial, we honored sweet Adelaide and beloved Fidel. These were pets of HSSA staff members that passed away recently, and are both greatly missed. Please share this video with your friends and family to spread this beautiful way to honor a lost pet.

Every year Tucson, Arizona celebrates Day of the Dead with an amazing event called The All Souls Procession. DIY Day of the Dead Pet Altar

“The All Souls Procession is perhaps one of the most important, inclusive, and authentic public ceremonies in North America today. The Procession had its beginnings in Tucson, Arizona in 1990 with a ceremonial performance piece created by local artist Susan Johnson. Johnson was grieving the passing of her father, and as an artist, she found solace in a creative, celebratory approach to memorializing him. Says Johnson, “From the beginning, it was different people’s ethnic groups, different cultures, but also it was all these different art forms put together.”

DIY Day of the Dead Pet Altar

After that first year, many artists were inspired to continue, growing the Procession into its modern incarnation. Today we find ourselves organizing well over 150,000 participants on the streets of downtown Tucson for a two-mile long, human-powered procession that ends in the ceremonial burning of a large Urn filled with the hopes, offerings, and wishes of the public for those who have passed.

DIY Day of the Dead Pet Altar

Myriad altars, performers, installation art, and creatives of all kinds collaborate for almost half the year to prepare their offerings for this amazing event. The All Souls Procession, and now the entire All Souls Weekend, is a celebration and mourning of the lives of our loved ones and ancestors.” 

Wear your DIY Day of the Dead Pet Altar at The All Souls Procession on November 6th, 2016. Also, make sure to display them throughout the year to remember the great memories and love that your pet brought to your lives.

DIY Day of the Dead Pet Altar

Looking for a beginner’s level craft to wear out to the Procession?

Check out this printable Day of the Dead cat mask below. You and your family can honor your feline friends with this printable mask. Simply save, print, color, and cut! Share this mask with your friends as well.

DIY Day of the Dead Pet Altar

Remember that grief is natural. Whether the result of a natural death, accident, illness, your decision to euthanize, or its disappearance, the feelings you have over the loss of your beloved pet can seem overwhelming. Know that your feelings are natural, as painful as they may be. With this gift of strong love comes a corresponding response of strong grief. HSSA offers a support group for people who have suffered the loss of a pet.

HSSA volunteer Renee Terry facilitates the support group every second and fourth Thursday of the month, from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. Please call Renee at 520-603-8319 to register for the group.

Pet Loss Hotline
Chrysanne Fife is a counselor with extensive background experience in helping people cope with the loss of loved ones. Chrysanne’s hotline at 520-304-3909 is open 24 hours a day. Upon leaving a message, she will return calls as soon as possible.

What is your favorite way of remembering your pets? Let us know in the comments below!

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