Remembering Your Pet

Pets are a part of our families. The death of a pet — expected or unexpected — can leave an empty feeling. Finding ways to memorialize your deceased pet can help in filling that void.

Below are some ideas of how to honor and memorialize pets. Some may be helpful for you. This list was adapted from the University of Minnesota’s Coping With the Loss of Your Companion Animal and from materials obtained from the Pet Loss Support Hotline at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

  1. Write a poem, story or song about and/or dedicated to your pet’s memory.
  2. Write down or make an audio tape describing special memories of your pet. Add to these stories with anecdotes from friends and family.
  3. Create a chronicle your pet’s life with photos and/or words.
  4. Write a letter to your pet expressing feelings you may be struggling with.
  5. Videotape your pet doing anything and everything – eating, sleeping, playing, and just sitting there.
  6. Create a drawing, a clay sculpture, a needlework project or something similar that reminds you of your pet.
  7. Have a professional portrait, sketch, or sculpture done of your pet. You can also have a photo of your pet transferred to a t-shirt, clock, button, or mug.
  8. Keep baby teeth, whiskers, fur from shaved areas and place in a locket.
  9. Save a horse’s shoes and/or hair from your horse’s tail or mane.
  10. Have fur spun into yarn and knit or crochet something in memory of your pet.
  11. Keep your pet’s tags on your key ring so that you will always be carrying the memory of your special friend with you.
  12. Have a plaque made to honor your pet for a special place: next to your pet’s ashes, on a tree near where your pet was buried, in the hospital where your pet was cared for, or a special place that evokes a good memory.
  13. Make a donation in memory of your pet to a good cause.
  14. Volunteer your time at a humane organization and/or help find homes for strays and unwanted pets.
  15. Start a pet loss support group in your area.
  16. Plant a bush, shrub, tree, or flowers over or near location where body or ashes are buried.
  17. Place a bench with an engraved nameplate and/or inscription beside where pet is buried.
  18. Place ashes in a potted houseplant.
  19. Scatter ashes in an area that was special to you and your pet.
  20. Collect your pet’s everyday belongings such as collars, tags, bowls and blankets, plus your pet’s ashes and sympathy cards, and place them in a special area or box in honor of your pet.
  21. Reach out to those close to you by sending an email or cards with a photograph of your pet informing them of your loss.
  22. If your pet is not buried near you, take pictures of the grave site and place these in a special spot, which you can “visit.”