When we adopt a dog or any pet, we know it is going to end with us having to say goodbye, but we still do it. And we do it for a very good reason: They bring so much joy and optimism and happiness. They attack every moment of every day with that attitude." This quote from author George Cameron is an excellent summary of pet ownership. We thrive under the love and presence of the animals in our lives, even though we know that, eventually, they will leave us. But when our pet does die, what can we do to remember the "joy, optimism, and happiness" they brought to our lives? How can we capture those memories and keep them alive even after our pet is gone? The truth is that there are dozens of ways to honor your pet after their death. To help you get started, here are 10 of the top ways to memorialize your pet.
Keep them in an urn.
If you choose to have your pet cremated, you may want to keep their cremains in an urn. An urn is a decorative container specifically designed to preserve the ashes of a loved one. You can select from a huge array of styles. For example, you can choose simple plastic urns, handmade wooden ones, or blown glass. You can also choose exactly the kind of decorative look you want. Once safely interred in the urn, your pet's ashes may be placed anywhere in your home, where the urn will remind you of your beloved animal every time you look at it.
Bury their body or ashes in a meaningful place.
Whether you choose to cremate your pet or not, you can always choose to bury their remains in a meaningful place. For example, many pet owners decide to bury their pets in the backyard, or at a favorite spot. To help you remember where they lie, and to give yourself a place to visit later, you can purchase a headstone to put at the grave site and engrave a memorial saying, or even just your pet's name, on it.
Create a website or blog.
In today's digital world, commemorating a beloved pet can involve creating a website or a blog post dedicated to their life and death. Many of these websites and blogs have become famous. However, even if you just do the writing for yourself, it can be a way to express your feelings, capture the things you loved most about your pet, and deal with the grief you are experiencing. If you don't feel up to a digital commemoration, writing in a diary or writing a letter to your pet can also offer closure.
Turn them into a memorial diamond.
Some owners choose to memorialize their pet by having the ashes turned into a memorial diamond. In this process, the carbon from the ashes is put under high temperatures and pressure until it becomes a diamond. You can then set the diamond in a piece of jewelry and remember your pet whenever you wear the gem.
Make a contribution in their name.
One way to preserve the memory of your pet is to make a contribution in their name to an organization that has meaning for you. For example, you may choose to support the rescue or shelter where you got your pet. By doing so, you allow your pet's memory to live on while making a tangible difference in the lives of other animals and in the lives of their owners.
Create a photo album of their life.
A picture is worth a thousand words or, in the case of a pet, a thousand memories. Often, pet owners find that the best way to remember their deceased animal is to compile a photo album of their life. Whether a hard copy or digital, these collections of images can preserve your favorite memories and times with your pet, allowing you to revisit them whenever you need to.
Create a piece of memorial jewelry.
Some pieces of jewelry allow you to preserve your pet's ashes within the ring or necklace. Often, this means that the ring or necklace comes with a small compartment into which you place a small amount of ashes. You can then keep your pet's ashes near you at all times.
Create a video.
You can take your photo collection to another level with a video memorial to your beloved pet. For example, you can compile images, video clips, and music into a short video, or record yourself talking about your favorite memories with your pet. Regardless of the approach you take, the video can serve as a way to preserve your memories of your pet and allow you to share those memories with others.
Plant a tree.
The idea of new life coming from old can be very appealing to pet owners looking for a way to preserve the memory of their animal and ease their grief. One way to do so is to plant your pet's remains along with a tree. Then, the tree's growth is nourished by your pet and, in a way, allows your pet's life to continue even after they are gone.
Create paw prints.
Finally, you can choose to preserve your animal's paw prints. Often, the vet who euthanizes your pet can create a clay impression of their paws. You can then use this impression as a keepsake, or you can turn it into a piece of jewelry or other decorative item to keep near you.
The death of a pet brings real grief. Just consider, for example, the worldwide distress created by the loss of celebrity pets through the years. Your pet may not be a celebrity, but their death and lives deserve to be memorialized. By choosing one of these 10 options, or by coming up with one of your own, you can remember your beloved pet long after their death.