The grief of losing a dog or cat can feel overwhelming. For many of us, these four-legged creatures are much more than just animals that share our homes. They are an integral part of the family, and when they leave this world, they leave an indelible mark on our hearts. One of the best ways to navigate through the grieving experience is to commemorate the special bond you shared with your furry friend. Here are a few ways to pay tribute to your beloved pet.
Hold a memorial service.
When a human loved one passes away, we typically hold some type of service in their honor, whether it be a funeral or something less formal. The same can be done for a furry family member. Consider holding a ceremony in your home or at your pet’s favorite park and inviting others who loved your pet to join you in remembrance. Invite those who feel comfortable to talk about what your pet meant to them or share a loving memory.
Create a photo album or scrapbook.
There’s a good chance you’ve taken a bunch of pictures of your pet. Putting them together into a photo album or scrapbook can really help to ease the grief losing a dog or cat can bring and provide a lovely memorial to revisit whenever you need to. There are lots of options for this, like creating a photo book from digital images or printing them out and creating your own. You can really make it special by including quotes that bring you peace or memorable stories of the time you shared together.
Gardens are representative of life and continued growth. Planting a tree or some flowers in honor of your animal companion can help to keep his or her memory alive. As you watch what you planted grow and thrive, you’ll be reminded of the life of your loyal friend. Don’t have a garden or sufficient space to plant something? Consider a memorial planter that’s infused with your fur baby’s cremains. Seeing new life sprout and thrive out of another life that came to an end can be a very healing experience.
Commission a piece of art or jewelry.
Memorial jewelry and other pieces of art aren’t just reserved for honoring human life. There are also plenty of options for those grieving the loss of a pet. There are even ways you can have your loved one’s cremated remains infused in, so you can carry them with you always. Likewise, you can have your pet’s nose or paw print turned into a pendant or glass paperweight. These types of custom-made pet memorial items are a great because they’re as special and unique as your pet was to you.
Adopt, volunteer or donate.
While you can never replace the pet you lost, opening your home and heart to a new furry family member can help bring joy and companionship back into your life. If the grief of losing a dog or cat is still too raw, consider volunteering your time at a local shelter or making a donation in your pet’s honor to an animal-related cause. By taking the time or money you normally would have spent on your pet and putting it toward other animals in need, you can turn your grief and loss into a labor of love.
The grief of losing a dog, cat or other pet can be just as painful as losing a person. Allow yourself to mourn. Over time, you’ll discover new and beautiful ways to not only remember your departed pet, but celebrate their life and the precious time got to share together.