The death of our pets is not something we think about while they’re here—after all, it’s too much of a painful, even morbid, subject to broach. But it’s one of the things we have to contend with in our lives. Much like the death of our loved ones, we always have to be ready in case our pets have to leave us, and we have to find ways to honor their memory, what they stood for in our lives, and how they made us happy. Here are some meaningful and significant ways to pay tribute to our pets that have passed on—because they deserve to be remembered.
Create a beautiful garden stone.
You can preserve your furry friend’s paws for a long time by creating a garden stone, which you can purchase online or paint yourself. To make it even more significant, you can place the stone in the areas in your yard where your pet used to love to hang out. Visit the stone whenever you feel lonely or miss your pet—it’s a good way of allowing yourself to grieve the fur baby you lost.
Consider having them preserved.
Even better than taxidermy is pet preservation, a freeze-drying process that will assure your preserved pet’s longevity and quality. Pet preservation experts make sure that their processes will keep your beloved pet’s body intact while giving you a lifelike remembrance of them. It’s a beautiful way to keep their memory alive even if they’re not with us anymore.
Stamp their pictures on jewelry.
Another way to commemorate your pet’s memory that has passed on is by stamping their pictures on jewelry. You can purchase a locket where you can literally insert their photos into the pendants, or you can have their photos permanently laser-engraved onto gold or sterling silver lockets. There are plenty of options to choose from; ask your local jeweler or look for one online who can help you create exactly the kind of jewelry you’re hoping for.
Get a memorial tattoo.
When her beloved dog Norman passed away, Friends actress Jennifer Aniston had his name tattooed on her right foot. She added another tattoo in honor of him a few years later. He was one of her greatest companions when she went through her first divorce, and she felt it was important to honor him in a significant way.
If your pet has seen you through some of the most difficult times and you want to remember them, consider getting a small tattoo of their name or of a symbol that reminds you of them. But think carefully about it; a tattoo is something that needs serious consideration since it’s permanent and it’s not easy to get rid of.
Pepper your home with their photos.
Of course, there is also the good old-fashioned way of remembering someone you love: photos. If you have plenty of pictures of your beloved pet, don’t hesitate to frame them and place them in key areas in your house where you have photos of your family and friends. While there’s been some debate about displaying photos of our dead loved ones in our home and whether they’re beneficial for us, anthropologist Faustine Dufka said that photos could validate our experience of grief and loss. The pictures prove that our loved ones existed and were with us, and it’s a way for us to validate the life of the lost person, no matter how long they lived. So if you find that displaying your pet’s photos makes you feel good, do it. If it doesn’t, that’s OK too. There are plenty of other ways to honor them.
Volunteer your time at a shelter.
There are many pets in the world—and even in your neighborhood—that need so much love, care, and attention. If you find that you’re missing the sensation of rubbing a cute furball, or if you need to pet an adorable little animal, contact your local shelter and ask how you can help. More than satisfying your need to be with a cute cat or dog, those furry friends need help—and you can be one of the people who can provide them with what they need.
And last but not least, consider donating in your late pet’s name. Look into animal welfare organizations in your area and find the most reputable and trustworthy ones who are doing their best for the overlooked and neglected animals in the world. You may not be able to help all of them, but you can help one or some of them, and that’s more than enough.
Losing a pet is not easy, but allowing ourselves to mourn can help ease that burden. So find ways to remember the good times you had with your pet by grieving well.