Pet Memorial Gifts: Ways To Commemorate a Lost Furry Friend
Losing a pet is often one of the most devastating things to happen to a person. Our pets are so full of happiness, light, and unconditional love that losing their presence can leave an incredibly large, painful hole in our lives. One way to help create some healing while commemorating your special, furry friend is by purchasing a pet memorial gift.
Each one we’ve featured in this article offers its own, unique angle at creating a lifelong, precious memory of your pet. There are no right or wrong ways to grieve your pet, follow your heart to find the gift that best symbolizes the special relationship you had with your pet.
Commission a Pet Painting
Pet paintings continue to increase in popularity, not only for deceased pets, but also for those that are still running around with us. They give pet owners a way to memorialize their pets the way they see fit, whether that is by focusing on the serious attributes of their personality or remembering the more fun parts (like having your well-behaved pet painted as a gentleman in a top hat and tails).
These custom paintings are created just for your pet, and can be hung anywhere in the home you see fit. They also make great gifts for others if they’ve experienced the loss of a pet, giving them a physical reminder they can hang on their wall and remember fondly. With so many different options, there is a choice for every pet’s special personality. The simple act of being able to walk by a custom pet painting every day means that your pet will continue to always be there for you, even after they’re physically gone.
Make A Donation In Your Pet’s Name
One of the most common ways people choose to memorialize their pet is by donating to a charity in their pet’s name. The Humane Society and the ASPCA are some of the most common, but local donations are great too. Knowing that other cats and dogs will be well cared for in the name of your recently deceased pet can be cathartic, a way of knowing his or her spirit lives on in a positive way.
Donations don’t have to be financial, though. Local shelters also appreciate donations of physical items like pet food (this is helpful if you have leftover food from your pet that you don’t want to just throw away), leashes, collars, and toys. Many have lists of their most needed items on their website, if you’re more inclined to purchase physical donations instead of donating financially.
Time is also an incredibly important thing to donate, if you are emotionally ready. Going to the shelter to walk dogs can be healing, and it helps the dogs too! It’s a great way to be around pets without having to adopt another before you’re ready. It also gets you out of the house, and exercise has been proven to help with depression.
Have a Headstone Made
A classic way to memorialize a pet that has passed away is by having a headstone created. This doesn’t have to be large or elaborate, it can be a small headstone to place in your garden or even just their name, likeness, and date of birth and death carved into a rock.
Headstones allow us to have a physical place that we can go and grieve when we miss our pets, which is why they are such a common part of the process when anyone (human or pet) passes away. Having one created specifically for your pet (or creating one yourself), even if you weren’t able to physically bury your pet on your property, creates a special memorial area that can come with you if you ever move house.
Get a Tattoo
While this option isn’t for everyone, getting a tattoo to commemorate your pet can be a great way to have them with you for the rest of your life. Just like when humans pass away, the act of getting a tattoo is not only symbolic, but some people find it physically cathartic as well. The pain involved with getting a tattoo can also help get you out of the dark place in your head and focus on something else for a while.
Many people choose to get a portrait of their pet or their pet’s paw print tattooed on them, but you should honor your pet anyway you choose. It doesn’t have to be literal, even a symbolic tattoo can be a way to remember your special pet in a way that will never go away.
Memorialize Them With Jewelry
One way to really keep your pet close to your heart is by purchasing a piece of jewelry in their honor. The way that people go about this is different depending on the person and their pet. Lockets are one of the most common pieces of jewelry used this way because they allow you to put a picture of your pet in them.
Some people even choose to have their pet’s tag turned into a bracelet or a necklace. This is a creative way to keep your pet with you.
Plant a Tree or Start a Garden
If you spent a lot of time outdoors with your pet, consider either planting a tree or starting a garden in their honor. This space can be a positive place that you can go when you’re missing your pet, or just need a little quiet time by yourself in nature. Choose a tree or plant that has a special connection with your pet if possible (dogwoods are a great choice, for obvious reasons). Other trees and shrubs that make great memorials are crabapples, lilacs, and redbuds if you don’t have a specific type in mind.
In addition, make sure you check the ASPCA’s list of toxic plants before planting your tree or garden. Many plants that we don’t consider toxic to humans can be incredibly poisonous to cats and dogs. For instance, lilies are very toxic for cats, and peach trees can be toxic to dogs. Avoid this situation by doing your research before deciding on what to plant.
Have a Phone Case Created
For those who don’t have a lot of space or rent their homes, planting a tree or displaying a pet portrait may be out of the realms of possibility. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways of commemorating your pet that don’t involve putting holes in walls or having to own property. One of those ways is by having a custom phone case created, so that you can continue to bring your pet with you wherever you go. This is especially poignant for people who had pets who went with them everywhere. Losing a constant companion can be hard, but having a reminder of them on something that you carry everywhere can make that loss just a little bit easier.
Create a Place of Honor In The Home
One last way to commemorate a lost furry friend is by creating a place of honor for them in your home. Some people will hang a custom pet painting above their mantle, while others designate a special nook in their home to light a candle, display their favorite toys and color, or even place their ashes. Your pet was extremely important to you in life, and that connection should be cherished and honored by allowing them to remain in a special place in your home, even after they’ve passed away.
A Closing Thought
No matter how you choose to honor or memorialize your pet, remember that their absence from your physical life doesn’t have to mean they’re gone. Our memories keep our special pets alive in a different way, and they’ll always live in our hearts. Losing a pet is hard, there’s no question, but they’re still watching out for you, wherever they may be.