The pain of losing a pet can feel unbearable. The grief over losing a beloved pet can be as serious as losing a human family member or friend. No matter how badly you want your dog to live forever, the reality is that their last day on earth will one day come.
However, if there is one important lesson your dog can teach you is to live in the moment. This means enjoying the short time you have with your best friend, from the first day you bring them home until you say your final goodbye.
Your dog wants you to be happy during the time you have them and to continue to find happiness once they’re gone. By keeping your dog’s memory alive as you learn to live without them, it will help you process your grief and honor your dog’s life.
Some ideas to help you keep the memory of your dog alive include:
1. Hold a memorial. If a ceremony will help you honor your pet and bring you closure, consider holding a memorial service or funeral. The ceremony can be as simple or complex as you like. It can just be you or include family and friends. Some ideas for your memorial include sharing memories, pictures, reading poems, light candles, or serve your dog’s favorite treats.
2. Choose a final resting place. If you feel that you want to keep your beloved pet close by after they pass, you could consider a burial or cremation for your dog. In this, you have options such as laying your dog to rest in a pet cemetery or keeping them at your home. You can also scatter their ashes, if that feels more natural to you.
3. Plant a memory tree. Another way to honor your pet is to plant a memory tree. As the tree grows, it will give you a place to go and remember your dog. You can even buy a tree urn so that your dog’s ashes can help grow and nurture a beautiful tree.
4. Grow a memory garden. Planting a memorial garden is another beautiful way to remember your dog. It can be as elaborate or simple as you like and you can even use a container garden. By using a memorial plaque, decorative stones, statues, plants, and flowers, you can create a beautiful space to honor your dog’s memory.
5. Make a memento. If you are creative, consider making a memento out of your dog’s leash, collar, dishes, etc. An idea of this might be transforming their dish into a planter and using their leash and collar to decorate the outside of it.
6. Make a collage, memory board, or album. Take your favorite pictures and caption them and turn them into a walk down memory lane. This way, when you miss your pet, you can immediately capture your favorite moments spent with them.
7. Make a memory pillow. A meaningful way to repurpose your pet’s favorite bedding is to have in cleaned and transformed into a decorative pillow. This way you can keep your pet’s belongings close to you while not having their empty bed as a constant sad reminder of their departure.
8. Start a journal. Journaling is very healing and can help you capture your favorite memories. A journal is a perfect, safe place to pour out your feelings, draw pictures of your pet, or write down your pet’s favorite things, funny things they did, or the characteristics that made them so special to you.
9. Save some fur. Before your dog departs from you forever, take a clip of their fur and put it somewhere safe. This could be in anything that is meaningful to you but will help you keep part of your pet close to your heart.
10. Make a paw print. Using paint or clay, make of paw print. This unique print can be turned into art on your wall, an ornament, or tucked away until you want to look at it.
11. Buy jewelry. Immortalize your dog by buying yourself a piece of special jewelry that reminds you of the special relationship you have with your dog. Each time you look at your special piece, you will fondly remember your special dog.
12. Write a letter to your dog. When grief seems overwhelming, consider writing a letter to your dog. Tell your dog how much you miss them and pour out all the things you love about them. Share all your feelings about the loss until there is nothing left to say.
13. Donate time or money. What better way to keep your dog’s memory alive than by helping other dogs in need? Consider volunteering, donating dog food or goods, or donating money to your favorite dog charity, rescue or shelter in honor of your dog.
14. Consider fostering. If you’re not yet ready to get another dog but are feeling the urge to dip your foot back into pet ownership, consider fostering a dog. Dogs of all ages and sizes and breeds need foster homes as they make their way to their forever homes. Your dog would surely agree that there are plenty of dogs that need help along the way.
15. Reach out. Reach out to other people who have lost a pet and offer your understanding and support. Not only will you help someone heal, you will find comradery and healing in the midst of helping others. There are pet loss, pet grief, and one line support groups.
We hope you find these ideas helpful and look forward to hearing ways you’ve kept your dog’s memory alive. As always, feel free to share with your family and friends.
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