Owners often share with us their stories of pets who have passed away, and how they have been remembered by the family. From setting your love in stone with a customized headstone, to a photo book or even a website, there are many ways to preserve the memory of a beloved pet. Here is our selection of the most unique and personal options of pet commemoration.
The most traditional way to commemorate your furry friend is to find a burial spot or place to scatter ashes in the family garden, allowing you to visit and pay tribute. You might choose to mark the spot with a permanent headstone, a more subtle wooden sign, or perhaps an item of significance, such as the pet’s collar or bowl. While a grave may seem extravagant, it gives an all-important place to visit in your own time.
2. Plant a tree
Whether it’s the central feature of your garden, or a subtle tribute, a plant or tree or other plant is a fitting way to remember a pet. Like the animal it represents, a tree needs care and attention, love and patience, to grow. What better way to pay homage to your furry friend, than to see them live on through the seasons? A tree might stand only as a symbol of your pet, or could be grown on the spot where they are buried.
3. Create a photobook
Pet owners have kept photographs of their passed animals for generations, but the ready availability of printing services nowadays allows for a cost-effective way to make your pet pictures a little more permanent.
Countless companies – from your local printing shop to online mail order services – can publish your pet’s happiest times in a hardcover book, to be cherished forever. You can even design the layout of the book yourself, including captions and dates that detail those memorable moments.
Keeping a photo book to hand on a bookshelf or coffee table makes a great talking point for guests, and guarantees that your pet will not be forgotten. They’ll also come up in conversation time and time again, prompting you to fondly remember your pet’s life.
4. Ashes to ashes
If you decide to cremate your pet, their ashes can be eternalized in a variety of ways. From the spectacular send-off of a firework, to a traditional urn sitting above the fireplace, there are lots of options available to you.
While this can be a little more costly, another beautiful way to memorialize your pet is to have their ashes set into a glass gemstone. This can later be worn as jewelry or simply put on display in the home. This is becoming a more popular option for pet owners, and can be accompanied by metalwork engraved with the pet’s name. Gemstone jewelry can be a fitting way to commemorate a pet and carry them with you always.
5. Take a paw print
Taking a cast of your pet’s paw is not only a great thing to do to remember your pet, but it’s also something fun to do from a young age. While specialist companies across the US and Canada will do this for you, it can easily be achieved at home using a paw-printing kit. This consists of a non-toxic air-drying clay which isn’t harmful to your pet. Simply press a loved animal’s foot into the clay, and wait for it to dry. With most kits, you also don’t need to heat or fire the mould afterwards. Once dried you’re left with a unique record of your four-legged friend, which can be kept and displayed. Plus, if you buy or adopt your pet from a young age, it’s easy and relatively uncostly to take a new mould every year, producing a tactile record of their life to be cherished forever.
Alternatively, for those looking to spend a little more, paw print and ‘nose print’ jewelry can be bought online in precious metals such as gold or silver, creating a truly beautiful memorial of your pet.
6. Breathe new life into their things
Upcycling is an increasingly growing phenomenon – taking things you no longer need and converting them for a new use. The hobby is not only great for the environment but fun too. It’s also another great option for remembering your pet by breathing new life into their belongings. Did your dog have a metal chain leash that could become a key-chain. Or may they had a leather collar? With a quick snip and some re-sewing, this could become a bracelet. Every pet has a food and water dish. These can easily be cleaned up and filled with a beautiful plant.
With some creative outside-the-box thinking, almost any item or toy can be turned into something eternally useful, so that you will be reminded of them in everyday life. This is a great hands-on craft activity that all ages can get involved in, and will cement your beloved pet in the family memory for years to come.
7. Take to the web
For centuries, people and animals who have passed away have been honored with a book of remembrance. In the internet age, a technological equivalent is also growing in popularity. More and more pet owners are now remembering their deceased pets through a dedicated blog or website, where they can post memories and photos of the pet, and invite others to do the same. Like a cloud-stored shrine, this can be a place for people to come and remember their pet, their character, and all the fun things they got up to together.
Creating and hosting a website can be very cheap these days, making this option accessible to any family that wants to pay tribute to a lost friend in a fun and shareable way. Once created, the webpage can be shared on social media so that friends and relatives can see your creation! It also allows you to keep coming back to it, refreshing your thoughts and memories over time and building a tribute that’s truly evergreen.
8. Give something back
Giving a donation in your pet’s name is a wonderful way to make a difference to other animals like them. This might be a cash donation to a charity or animal shelter, or you might prefer to help more directly by giving up your time for an animal welfare charity that could use a helping hand. From local rescue centers to big national charity organizations, there are countless groups aiming to improve the lives of our domestic animals. Giving up your time or leaving a donation could make a real difference to other animals.
9. To infinity…?
Beyond the wildest imagination of most pet owners is Texas-based company, Celestis Pets. Together you can arrange to launch the ashes of your pet into space. Yes, into space. With prices starting at $1,295 for a zero-gravity trip to the edge of the stratosphere, and rocketing up to $12,500 for a launch into deep space, this is a memorial like no other. This option is a little out of the ordinary, but you can’t deny that it’s unique.
10. Do it all again
Often the best way of all to memorialize a pet is to take the next step when you’re ready and bring a new pet into the family. Buying or adopting again after a pet has passed can be difficult and can feel like you are trying to replace a cherished friend. In truth, a new pet can help fill a void your first pet left behind, and the desire welcome another pet into your home shows how much your first pet, and the happiness they brought over the years, meant to you.
When you do take the step, it is important to take out pet insurance to give your new pet the best start in their new home. Make sure that their health and welfare needs are covered, and to avoid unexpected costs if your four-legged friend gets himself into trouble.