Losing a pet is never an easy experience, especially if they have been with you for a very long time. It’s one of the hardest parts about being a pet owner, but unfortunately, an inevitable one that almost everybody experiences at least once in their lifetime.
However, losing your best friend doesn’t have to mean losing their memory. Although they will stay in your heart forever, you can honor and memorialize their life through these beautiful ways:
1. Hold a memorial service
Like humans, it’s often easier to cope with a death of a pet when you can say goodbye to them. Holding a memorial service is a great way to do this. Invite friends and family to celebrate your pet’s life with you. Share stories with each other and let yourself smile at the memories, perhaps even laugh. Not only is this a meaningful way to celebrate your pet’s life, but it can also help you cope with your grief.
2. Create a photo book
Whether digital or physical, a photo book with all of your pet’s best memories is a great way to remember them for years to come. You can even add captions to describe what your pet is doing or what was happening when that photo was taken. Besides being a collection of your pet’s best moments, a photo book will provide you with a means to remember them even after you have moved on.
3. Preserve your pet
Pet taxidermy may be an unconventional way to memorialize your pet, but for some people, it’s the best way they can cope with the grief. By preserving your pet through taxidermy, it’s like they never left, and they can stay in their rightful place by your side.
When done right, preserved pets can last virtually forever. However, you would need to ensure that they are kept in good condition, away from direct sunlight, high humidity, pests, and open flames.
4. Bury them in a pet cemetery
Burying your pet’s remains in a pet cemetery will give you a place where you can return to when you are missing them. And unlike burying them in the yard, a pet cemetery will stay put even if you move somewhere else.
Some people may think that having a final resting place for your pet may hinder the process of moving on, but it’s actually the opposite. While visiting your pet may bring back the grief from time to time, fond memories will soon take over as the next visit becomes lighter than the last.
5. Commission a painting of your pet
If you are an artist, you can memorialize your pet in the most creative of ways by painting a portrait of them. This way, you have something to remind you of them for years; something that is beautiful and born from your hard work. Moreover, the process of painting your pet may be therapeutic in and of itself.
Alternatively, you can commission an artist to create a painting of your pet or a piece of digital art. Provide them with a good reference picture, one that represents your pet when they were at their best.
6. Rescue a pet
When you feel like you’re ready for a new pet, consider rescuing or adopting one from an animal shelter nearby. It’s a great way to honor your best friend and help out another animal in need at the same time. More importantly, a lot of pets in animal shelters get euthanized when they don’t get adopted, so you are essentially saving an animal from an unfair death.
But if you don’t feel like you’re ready for another pet yet, you can also commemorate them and help out at the same time by donating your pet’s expenses to the animal shelter. If you have the time, you can also volunteer and ease your grief by spending time with other animals.
7. Plant something
Bring new life to the world in memory of your beloved pet. Plant a tree, a flower bush, or any other plant that can serve as a living memorial for your deceased pet. You can also put up a sign near the plant so that others will know that it was planted to honor your pet’s memory, ideally, something that can withstand the elements so it doesn’t fade easily (e.g. metal or stone).
The hardest part about being a pet owner is outliving your beloved friend. While time is the best healer for grief, memorializing your pet through one or more of these ways can help you heal, as well as honor their life at the same time.