7 meaningful ways to memorialize your pet

Losing a pet is an acutely painful process, and to cope with it you may find yourself looking for ways to honor and remember them. Memorializing your pet can help with the grieving process, and it can be comforting to know that you’re taking steps to honor how special your pet was within your life. If you’d like to do something extra-special for your pet but aren’t sure just what sort of a tribute to make, these seven ideas may inspire you. Whether you do them right after your pet passes or wait a few months or years, they can help your pet’s memory live on.

Create a shadowbox

A shadowbox gives you a way to display some of the items that were unique to your pet, like his collar or a print of his paw. You can incorporate a photo of your pet, keeping your mementos safe while making an attractive arrangement that you can hang on your wall.

A girl and her dog sitting together in front of a lake
Seaq68 / Pixabay

Write an obituary

Writing your pet an obituary can be a meaningful way to reflect on your pet’s life and share with others how special he was. Even if you have no intention of publicly sharing the obituary, writing it can be cathartic.

If you do choose to share it, you have many options. You can post it on social media with some of your favorite photos of your pet or share it online with groups of other animal lovers. You might also publish it in a local animal-themed publication or share it through your pet’s breed registry newsletter.

Commission a piece of art

Commissioning a custom art piece featuring your pet can be a touching way to honor him or her. You’ll be able to continuously enjoy an original creation, and a talented artist can capture your pet in a beautiful piece.

Etsy can be a helpful source of potential artists and can give you some ideas for the many products you can choose from, including painted urns and headstones. From personalized pet ornaments to custom framed portraits, there are nearly endless artistic ways to honor your pet.

If you decide to commission an artist to create a piece, look at plenty of examples of the artist’s work to get a sense of their style. Try to find the best-quality photos of your pet in your collection, especially those that highlight the details of your pet’s appearance.

Plant a living urn

If you have your pet cremated, you might want to use his ashes to plant a living urn. A living urn is biodegradable, and it uses your pet’s ashes to grow a tree. You’ll be able to care for and enjoy that tree, remembering your pet in a unique way. Consider planting the urn in a place that meant a lot to your pet, like his favorite spot in your yard to take naps.

Incorporate ashes into jewelry or pottery

Many artists now make jewelry pendants or pottery pieces that can incorporate your pet’s ashes. These pieces require only small amounts of ashes, so you can keep a little of them to yourself after spreading your pet’s ashes in a special spot.

If you don’t want to have a piece custom-made, there are many urn necklaces designed to let you keep a bit of your pet close to you.

Cat walking through a grassy yard at sunset
rihaji / Pixabay

Donate to an animal shelter

Consider making a donation to an animal shelter or an animal nonprofit. Donating to the shelter your pet originally came from can be a touching gesture. Make the donation in your pet’s name to honor him by helping other animals in need.

Get another pet

After losing a pet, you may feel that you never want to get another pet. That’s common, and it’s to be expected, especially as you’re initially grieving.

With time, getting another pet can be a great way to honor your previous pet. Opening your heart to another animal won’t ever replace the pet you lost, but it will honor the love you felt for that pet and the care and dedication you gave him. Sharing that with another pet can be a great gift to both your new pet and the one who’s no longer with you.

Remembering your pet

There are many ways you might choose to memorialize and remember your pet. Pursuing one or more of these tips may help you through the initial grief, or you might choose to wait and use some of these tips months or years later. Grieving a pet is a deep and ongoing process, so give yourself time and explore these memorializing ideas only when you feel ready. You might want to get other family members involved with these activities so you can support each other through the grief process and share some of your favorite memories of your special pet.

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