Pets are more than companions, they’re members of the family. When members of the family die, we find a way to memorialize the life they lived and the love they shared with us. We use the process of remembering their life as a way of easing into the transition of not having them around.
When we lose our best four-legged friend, life gets very difficult. We mourn the loss in the same way we’d mourn the loss of a human friend or family member, yet we don’t give much thought to what we would do to memorialize our pets once they’re gone.
Here are five easy ideas to help you memorialize your pet, while helping yourself to cope with the grief and the heartache.
Write a speech, a song, a poem, or just put your favorite stories or memories of your time spent with your pet to paper. Save this and refer back to it on days where you’re feeling down, or even get the family involved and have everyone write a few words. You can keep these creations in a scrapbook along with pictures of your lost friend.
Release Balloons or Luminarias
Go to a special place, and release balloons or luminarias (flying lanterns) in memory of your pet. Bring the entire family, and take turns saying a few words. After everyone has had a chance to speak, light the luminarias, or release the balloons. Watch them float away while you think of it as symbolically releasing the grief over your lost pet, and instead choosing to remember and honor his life from here on.
Hold Your Own Service
If you’d like to get the family together without the symbolic gestures, you’re more than welcome to hold a service in your home, or at your – or your pet’s – favorite place. Say a few words, give everyone time to speak, and share the moment with loved ones while remembering and celebrating the life of your deceased pet.
Create Custom Jewelry
Some people opt for a wearable approach to remembering their pet. Like the jewelry sold here on Zelda’s Song, creating custom jewelry, like bracelets, charms and key chains featuring your pet’s name and photo is a simple and stylish way to keep your pet close by, even after he’s gone.
Donate to Your Favorite Shelter
Shelters are always in need of money, food, toys, cleaning supplies, beds, and the like. A great way to memorialize your pet is by making a donation to a shelter in his or her name. Paws into Grace accepts donations that go toward offering hospice care and quality end of life services for pets in the final stages of their lives. Having a hospice provider walk a family through the final days of your pet’s life while keeping them at home, and comfortable, is a priceless gift that can help a grieving family cope with the loss of their friend.
These are just a few of dozens of ways that you can help to remember and memorialize your pet after they’re gone. Being able to properly celebrate the life of your pet, while at the same time remembering what they did for you and your family, is key for a good pet memorial. Talk to your family and spend time listening to their ideas on ways they’d like to remember your pet, and what they should do to honor his memory. Having input from everyone involved is the best way to decide just how to memorialize your four-legged friend.
About Dr. Elizabeth Benson
Zelda’s Song is proud to welcome Dr. Benson as a guest blogger…her company, “Paws into Grace” is a truly compassionate place to find pet and pet-parent care, especially near and at the end of life….
“Dr. Elizabeth Benson knew from the time that she was a small child that she dreamed of helping to comfort and heal all animals. After graduating from University of New Hampshire and then completing a degree in Veterinary Medicine at Atlantic Veterinary College she was offered an opportunity to practice with board certified surgeons and internal medicine specialists. She then moved to beautiful San Diego where she accepted a position as an emergency veterinarian. She believes all veterinarians need to offer a peaceful transition for pets in those last moments. So she started “Paws into Grace” to help provide pets the opportunity to leave us with grace, surrounded by those they love.”
Please share with us – how did you choose to remember your beloved dog?