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.

  • Why not come up with something new? AniChap? (it's a start) – Citizen Jun 29 '11 at 23:04
  • 3
    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

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.


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.


I'd be tempted to use a word like facilitator.

  • 1
    Then please resist it...... – mgb Jun 30 '11 at 3:00
  • 2
    @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

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.

  • 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

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

Animal Undertaker

  • 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

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.


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.


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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.