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Memorializing Your Pet

When we lose someone we love the loss and grief can be overwhelming. Last week I wrote about the 5 Stages of Grief you could expect to experience during your grief journey and for everyone who goes through them, they will be as individual as they are. During the grief process there are tools and practices that one can use to not only endure the pain but to begin working through the loss and moving towards a place of healing. One such tool is memorializing our beloved pet’s lives. As we do for our human loved ones who pass on so can you for your pet(s). It is a way to honour their lives, the impact they made on your life and the love you shared, together.

Listed below are a number of ways to memorialize your pet. They are only guidelines; they can be modified to personalize the special relationship that you shared with your pet.

  • In your pet’s name, donate to an animal organization that has special meaning to you. Paying it forward is a gratifying way to keep your pet’s memory alive. It will also give you a feeling of purpose, which may now be missing in your day-to-day life.

  • Create a memory box, which can consist of all or of just a few of these items: pictures, your pet’s collar, nametag, a special toy, and/or a favourite blanket. You can display the memory box in your home for others to see or for your eyes only.

  • Commission a professional pet artist to paint a picture of your pet. There are also artists and specialty shops online that will take a photo of your pet and customize a stuffed animal or sculpture in their image.

  • Create a framed photo collage or gallery wall of your pet featuring special moments and memories.

  • Write a poem or short story which describes your pet’s special personality.

  • Volunteer at a shelter to walk dogs, care for kittens or provide social enrichment. As well, shelters are always needing cat/dog food, toys, blankets, treats and cat litter. The shelter will be extremely grateful for your time and/or donations. It will give you back a sense of purpose and is a lovely way to extend your pets love and memory to others in need.

  • If you have your pet’s ashes, scatter them at your pet’s favourite place or create a special memorial area in your home or yard.

  • Should you have a backyard (or if not, a large planter) plant a small bush or perennial flowers as memoriam of your pet.

  • Write a letter to your pet.

  • Journaling is a recommended therapeutic tool for grief recovery. Journaling and/or blogging are a way to eternalize your pet’s life and your special memories. If writing is not of interest, an online memorial is a wonderful way to not only eternalize your pet’s life but to share your memories with others. Sharing our loss with others who relate can help in everyone’s grief journey. No matter how you choose to celebrate your pet's life and memory, take the time to honour your love for them. It is not only deserved but also an important step forward in your grieving process. For more grief recovery tools contact me any time. I'm here to help.

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