Who can forget the first day they brought home a new pet? The sudden wave of feelings of excitement and love along with a heightened sense of responsibility and purpose. From the start, pets become members of our families, often being there for us in times of need and providing unconditional love and support. And often, when they leave this world, there is a hole in our hearts our pet once filled.
Saying goodbye to a beloved pet is never easy, and the grief that follows is often a challenging period for pet owners. Although everyone grieves differently, fortunately, there are several ways to focus on the positive and honor our best furry friends. Join us as we discuss a few thoughtful pet memorial ideas to help remember the pets that will live forever in our hearts.
1) Create a Pet Memory Box
Memory boxes or keepsake boxes are great options to keep all of your pet’s belongings that were special to you both in one place. Filling a memorial box with items like your pet’s ID tag, collar, favorite toy, and any other belongings that remind you of your beloved best friend allows you to create a place in your house that honors the things your pet loved. So, when you remember your pet, you can open the box and reminisce on the positive and focus on the good times you two had together.
2) Consider a Photo Frame or Collage
A simple yet powerful way of remembering your pet is to frame a photograph or create a collage containing your favorite photos. You can choose your favorite picture and have it framed or buy a frame with a quote that may speak to you and how you are feeling in the moment. If choosing one picture seems next to impossible, maybe creating a collage of your favorite photos of your pet or their life’s journey is a better option.
3) Commission a Portrait or Painting
While hanging a picture or even a collage in your house is a fantastic way to honor your pet, commissioning a portrait or painting takes that concept up a level. After all, wouldn’t it be great to memorialize your one-of-a-kind pet with a unique piece of art? There are several different options when it comes to purchasing pet portraits too. From hand-painted portraits to high-resolution cartoon renderings, you can pick the art form that fits you best.
4) Write a Tribute For Your Pet
Taking a step back and remembering your pet’s life and accomplishments may be what you need to help you through this difficult time. Writing a tribute or obituary for your pet allows you to focus on their whole lives at once, highlighting important events and milestones, similar to a human obituary. This process can help you hone in on the positive aspects of your pet’s life, such as their favorite food, places to visit, and the lives they have touched.
5) Donate To a Charity or Shelter
Perhaps one of the best ways to celebrate your pet’s life is to give back to a charity or shelter in their name. Did your pet love other animals? Did they pass away from a disease scientists are currently researching? Whichever situation you are facing, donating or volunteering at a charity or animal shelter in their honor is a fantastic way to memorialize the life they lived and the impact they made in yours.
6) Hold a Memorial Service or Funeral
Was your pet loved by many of your friends and family? Does the loss of your pet affect others who may not live with you? It may be a good idea to hold a pet memorial service or funeral in your pet’s honor. During this time, your friends and family can share memories and sentiments about your pet and provide comfort while dealing with the loss of a loved one. Holding a pet memorial service online or via video call is also a great option to gather friends or family members who’d like to remember your pet but may not be in the area.
7) Plant a Tree or Flower
Perhaps nothing brings us closer to understanding the circle of life than when we lose someone close to us. Help bring your pet’s life full circle by planting a tree or flower in their name. Maybe your pet had a favorite tree to run around outside, or perhaps they had a favorite spot in the yard or by a window where you can place the plant. Either way, planting a tree or plant gives back to nature and represents growth and life after loss.
8) Purchase a Pet Urn or Box
If you plan on cremating your pet, pet urns or boxes are unique ways to honor your pet’s passing. With so many different options to choose from, you can find a one-of-a-kind way to memorialize your pet. If the urn falling and breaking is a concern, pet urn boxes may be the best option. From urns that grow into trees to commissioned custom urns, there are several options to choose from depending on your needs.
9) Place a Statue or Garden Stone
Even if you choose not to bury your pet, placing a statue or garden stone in your yard or garden is a great way to memorialize your pet. Much like your pet had a space in your life and home, the stone or statue can help represent that pets never truly leave our lives. The memorial can be anything that reminds you of your pet and brings you joy. Then, as the seasons pass and as the years go on, you will always have a place to visit your beloved companion, even if it’s just talking to a garden gnome by a tree.
10) Talk it Out or Write It Down
Everyone grieves differently, and it’s important to understand what works best for helping you grieve when you are memorializing your pet. For instance, if you enjoy writing, you may find keeping a journal of your grieving process helpful. You can also write out your pet’s life story in the journal and then turn to your journal when you need it. If you prefer to talk it out, do not be afraid to ask for support. There are several options for support, including speaking with family and friends, counseling, online forums, and support groups.
Memorializing your pet can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. Although some of the pet memorial ideas mentioned above may appeal to you, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Honoring your pet is personal, and there are countless ways to remember your pet. Grief is unique – it is individual, and so are memories. Because although they might not be with us in person anymore, our faithful companions will never leave our side because they will always live in our hearts.
For information on dealing with losing a pet, check out Jeffers’ blog, The Loss of a Pet.