Pets are family and when they pass it can be a time of significant emotional stress and grief. When this happens, many families want to honor their pet in their own special way.
Below we highlight some of the more popular ways people do this.
Hold a Burial or Memorial Ceremony
One way to honor the memory of your beloved pet and to find closure for yourself is to hold a burial or memorial ceremony. This also allows others who loved your pet to say their goodbyes in a ritualized fashion. You could bury your pet in their favorite spot in your back or front yard, or you could use a pet cemetery for the burial.
Plant a Tree in Honor of Your Pet
Another way to honor your pet after they pass is to plant a tree or a garden. Depending on space, you could plant the tree in your yard, perhaps using all or some of your pet's ashes during planting with The Living Urn, if you had your pet cremated.
Pet Photo Album
You could create a photo album and keep it out on a coffee table or close at hand on a bookshelf in your living room or bedroom. Photo Albums are classic ways to keep a record of treasured memories. They are also entirely customizable to your needs. You could have anything from a large leather-bound album filled with hundreds of photos, to a medium sized album with a few dozen, to a small photo sized album with a handful of special photos of your beloved pet. If you have young children, you could turn the photo album into a shared activity with anything from involving them in choosing the album and photos to perhaps even allowing them to help scrapbook the photo album with you.
Create a Pet Portrait
You could also have a portrait painted. There are many artists, including on websites such as Etsy, that specialize in pet art. They could literally paint anything from a small Christmas ornament to an actual large portrait. You could have a series of small portraits painted to hang around your home, or to hang in a special arrangement all together, even around or above your urn, if you choose to keep your urn on display.
Donate to a Local Shelter
You could make a donation. Your local area likely has a number of pet shelters that will happily accept a financial donation to honor your beloved pet. If your pet was a rescue, consider donating to the shelter where you found him or her. If you had a specific breed, you could look up a rescue organization specific to that breed. Many areas have local chapters of breed specific rescue. Nationally, the Humane Society of the United States is a well-known, well respected animal welfare organization. Other organizations include Alley Cat Allies, The Best Friends Animal Society and The Animal Foundation. Internationally, there is the Animal Aid Unlimited, Best Friends Save Them All, and the Humane Society International.
Letting Your Pet Go
Once you’ve healed and recovered enough, and are emotionally ready, one final way to honor your beloved pet’s life is to adopt another animal. Part of your grief comes from what an important member of your family your pet became. Continue the cycle of love by opening your heart and your home to a new furry family member. Remember, your pet loved you and would want you to be happy with another pet.
National Pet Memorial Day
You could Observe National Pet Memorial Day. The National Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematoriums designated the second Sunday of each September as National Pet Memorial Day. There are many ways to observe this day. You can volunteer at a local animal shelter. Serving other animals in need is a wonderful way to honor the memory of your beloved pet. Assisting other people as they choose their new furry family member may help soothe the potential heartache you are experiencing or experiencing this day. Another way to observe this day could be as simple as going to you and your deceased pet’s favorite park and taking a walk. Perhaps you could help out a friend or neighbor by walking or playing with their pet. Alternatively, you could do something nourishing for yourself, like taking a solo, quiet hike or indulging in another favorite form of self-care. Your pet loved you and would want you to take care of yourself.