Saying goodbye to our dog or cat is absolutely the most difficult part of pet ownership. Anyone who has lost their beloved pet will tell you how bad it hurts, and how they never want to go through that pain again. But most people do go through that pain again, because the reward of having a faithful companion is far greater than the pain of losing them. Plus, we never really lose our pets. They are always with us, in our memories and in our heart. Remembering your pet is a way to help work through the grief of losing them. From headstones, to jewelry, to photo books, there are many ways to remember your pet. Here are a few ideas to keep your pet “close” even when they may no longer be with you physically.
Ways to remember your pet
1. Write an obituary
When we lose a loved one, an obituary or tribute is often written about them. Unfortunately, that same closure is not offered when we lose our pets. Writing an obituary for your pet or sharing memories of them on social media is a wonderful way to remember them, and to help you begin to heal.
2. Give them a headstone
If you choose to bury your pet, consider getting them a headstone. It doesn’t need to be a fancy marble headstone like you see in cemeteries, just a small stepping stone, a wooden plaque or a decorative statue will do. You could even use their old bowl as a headstone. When you’re feeling sad, you can visit your pet’s grave and spend time remembering them.
3. Plant flowers or a tree
Another way to remember your pet is to plant flowers or a tree near their gravesite or in your yard, where they liked to play. A flower or tree gives you something to water, nourish and care for. You’ll be able to watch new life grow as you remember your furry friend each year.
4. Memorial jewelry
Some pet parents remember their lost pet by creating memorial jewelry. If your pet is cremated, the ashes can be turned into gems, or kept in a small trinket. If your pet had a tag, use it as a keychain. That way you can always carry a little part of them with you.
5. Have a replica made
Many companies offer toy stuffed animal replicas of your best friend based on a photo you send in. You can display the replica in your home or use it to snuggle with at night when you’re missing your best pal. You could also have a painting made of your pet that you can hang on your wall. That way your dog or cat will always be watching over you.
6. Get a memorial tattoo
Another unique way to remember your pet is to get a memorial tattoo. This could be a tattoo of their portrait, or even just a tattoo of their paw print. For some pet parents, getting a memorial tattoo is a way to carry your pet with you even after they’re gone.
7. Donate their belongings to an animal shelter
For some pet parents, finding a way to give back after the loss of their pet is healing for them. One way to give back while also remembering your lost pet is to donate their toys, clothes, bed, etc. to an animal shelter. What better way to remember your pet than to help other pets in need. Here are some other ways to give back.
8. Make a photo book
Your phone is likely filled with photos of your pet but many times those photos stay in a digital format. A good way to remember your pet is to print off your favorite photos of them and arrange them in a photo book or a scrapbook. Every time you’re missing your pet and feeling down you can page through the book and remember all the good times you shared with your best fur-iend.
9. Take a paw print impression
Many pet owners find comfort in taking a clay impression or ink impression of their dog or cat’s paw print as a memorial. There are many different kits available made especially for preserving your pet’s paw print that are easy to use and non toxic. There are even websites that can use your dog or cat’s paw print to make jewelry with. Being creative in how you memorialize your pet will help you begin to work through your grief.
10. Make a memory box
A memory box is a box that contains a few of your pet’s favorite things like toys, their favorite blanket, their collar or their dishes. You can also add some photographs into your memory box. A memory box gives you a permanent memory of your pet that you can revisit whenever you miss them.
11. Drop off toys at their favorite places
Some pet parents find it healing to visit the place their pet loved the most and leave a gift for other pets. Gifting a box full of tennis balls to the local dog park along with a photo of your dog is a great way to remember your pet while also spreading a little bit of happiness. Perhaps you could leave some kitty treats at your cat’s groomer or veterinarian. You could also bring toys to your pet’s daycare for other pets to play with. Giving back to other pets will not only make you feel good, but it will make those pets feel good and experience a little bit of extra joy, thanks to your beloved pet that has passed.
12. Adopt another pet
Perhaps one of the most meaningful ways you can honor the memory of your best friend is to do it all over again. You certainly should not rush out to adopt a pet before you’re ready. However, having a new friend in the house can definitely help take your mind off of your loss. We can’t think of a better way to remember your pet than to give a home to a pet in need.
A note on grieving
No matter what way you choose to remember your pet, the most important thing to keep in mind is that grieving takes time. Go easy on yourself. Remember how your dog would do silly things to cheer you up when you were sad, or how your cat would comfort you by rubbing up to you and purring. Use those memories as a reminder that your pet would want you to be happy, not sad.