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The passing of a pet is always a difficult situation. Often, they are a member of our families and, increasingly, are reaching the same status as children in a traditional family.
The process of watching a beloved pet age and go through any number of issues before passing, or if there is a sudden loss; is never easy. While the grieving process can be long and difficult, there are ways to memorialize your pet so that while they aren’t with you as they once were, you can still have a visual and tangible reminder of them. Those items will help those who see relive the good memories of their lives while they were with you.
Some of the ideas below are items that are purchased, while others are DIY. Both have their benefits, but having a hand-crafted memorial is very fitting given the nature of the relationship between you and your pet.
A shadow box is a small collection of sentimental items arranged in a case to hang on a wall, or place on a table. Often, pictures are included, a small notecard with a poem, you could include a favorite small toy, or other items that your pet had a special connection to. Their collar, or their ID tags can be placed in a prominent place in the shadow box.
You can purchase many shapes and sizes from your favorite local hobby store, Amazon, or build your own.
Check out these plans for DIY shadow boxes from the Rogue Engineer.
While we think of urns as mostly for human ashes, they are also available in smaller sizes, and different ornemenation for pets. Cremation services are widely available across the United States, and can be coordinated with a veterinarian or often you can bring your pet their directly after they have deceased.
After cremation, the ashes will need to be picked up and will be in a plastic bag inside a cloth sachet, typically inside a decorative box.
Engraving is often available and a special quote can be etched into the urn. “You’ve Got A Friend In Me”, and “Gone But Not Forgotten” are two perfect phrases. You can also have their date of passing included.
Urns can be set up on a mantle, or ledge at home with a collar or ID tags draped over the top.
A growing trend for human ashes is exerting a very high amount of pressure on them over an extended period of time, which turns the ashes into a diamond. This can be tinted to finish in many colors and set into any jewelry piece. The same can be done with pet ashes.
The process is typically to request a kit, return the ashes to the diamond company, and wait up to 10 months while the diamonds are grown. After that, the diamond is returned to the sender and can be brought to any jeweler where they can be set into an existing piece (ring, necklance, bracelet, earrings, etc…) or set into a new piece.
This is a highly tangible way to bring the memories of your pet with you whever you go.
Paw Print Imprint
Keeping an imprint of a pets paw print on display can be a great reminder of the individuality of your pet. The shape, size, depth, and contours of the impression can bring back memories of times spent together curled up a home, or how those feet endlessly chased their favorite flying toy.
Several inexpensive kits are available online, or oven-baked clay can be used and is available at most craft stores. Below is a recipe you can craft at home without having to make a purchase. Check out this basic oven baked clay recipe from Allrecipes.
This doesn’t only need to be done after a pets passing. It can be a great reminder today of how special your pet is and how important their companionship and loyalty is while they are with us!
[One more thing]
Given how special the animal-human bond is, it seems appropriate to memorialize a pet in a special way. There are lots of great resources online, this is only a glimpse of some of the most popular ways.
What is important is to savor every moment with your pet while they are here. They bring comfort, warmth, companionship, and a patient ear when we need to get something off our chest. Often, they follow us through many stages of our own lives and are the ‘constant’ that we need to help get us through some of life’s rough patches.
One thing that always comforts me is the Rainbow Bridge poem. It makes a great addition to any memorial to your pet.
Amazon has a beautiful photo frame with the Rainbow Bridege poem printed next to the picture area.
The Rainbow Bridge
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….