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I am a celebrant ceremony designer and trainer, and I am looking for a word to use for our research and performance of pet funerals. Currently internationally people use the word Animal Chaplain, but for the non-religious the Chaplaincy word isn't quite right. Any suggestions would be great.

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Why not come up with something new? AniChap? (it's a start) –  Citizen Jun 29 '11 at 23:04
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Interestingly, the idea of a secular chaplain is an oxymoron given the dictionary meaning is: "a member of the clergy attached to a private chapel, institution, ship, branch of the armed forces, etc." But the modern usage of chaplain appears to be closer to counselor than pastor. –  MrHen Jun 30 '11 at 0:29
    
I'll just leave this here. militaryatheists.org/chaplain.html –  shinyspoongod Jun 20 '12 at 0:56
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8 Answers

If the context is clear, you could use master of ceremonies:

  1. a person who presides over a public ceremony, formal dinner, or entertainment, introducing the events, performers, etc.

On a less serious note, you could also try speaker for the dead.

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Personally, were I to be a member of Christendom I would find it quite offensive and pretentious to use such words. From the definition of chaplain I fail to see how it could possibly apply to your scenario.

I thank you for looking a proper way to avoid this offensive word and suggest the approach suggested by Citizen.

Maybe anitaker? (animal + undertaker). It could be quite catchy, even. Barring that, I like pet eulogist.

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If it is limited to conducting the funerals, you could use Pet Eulogist. To eulogy/eulogize has no religious denotation, since the roots simply mean "good words" or "speak well of."

A more general administrator/conductor of a ceremony would be an officiant.

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+1 for officiant. –  jackgill Jun 29 '11 at 22:19
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How about celebrant? It seems you already use this term...Humanist 'ministers' (i.e. the people that carry out Humanist weddings, funerals etc) also call themselves celebrants.

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I don't think there is a single word answer unless you make a new word, then you risk not being understood. I'd suggest either pet funeral director if you only oversee the funeral or pet mortician if you also offer embalming.

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If you want something to do with a funeral without being religious:

Animal Undertaker

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An undertaker isn't a celebrant, though; they bring the body to the ceremony, but have no further official part. –  user1579 Jun 30 '11 at 15:35
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I'd be tempted to use a word like facilitator.

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Then please resist it...... –  mgb Jun 30 '11 at 3:00
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@Martin: +1 I'd say that facilitating a pet funeral might imply that one was also the euthanizer ;-) –  ESultanik Jun 30 '11 at 15:01
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Chaplain does sound like the right word (after all, it refers to a position of ministry, not of religious function). "Animal Chaplain" sounds like you minister to animals, which isn't quite right. "Animal Bereavement Chaplain" would seem accurate, if not pithy.

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Actually, chaplain specifically refers to a member of the clergy serving a particular area or group of people. (At least, this is what my dictionary says.) –  MrHen Jun 30 '11 at 0:25
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