It’s hard to lose a pet — moreso one you loved, especially at a time when many of us are depending on our pets for companionship or comfort.
While the decisions at the end of your pet’s life and the following moments are never easy, there are resources to help you start to process your grief. The Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine has the Best Friend Gone Project, a telephone hotline that can connect grieving pet parents with counselors and resources for dealing with loss. Your veterinarian may also be able to connect with you resources locally or have someone on staff who can talk to you.
It can also be challenging to find a way to remember a cat or dog that has been with you for years. Here are some suggestions for how to remember a beloved pet, ease your sense of loss, and memorialize your furry companion this holiday season.
Memorial Pet Gifts
The right memorial pet gift captures a moment in a pet’s life or finds a way to communicate what a pet meant as a companion.
A soft bit of music in the wind is a way to take a moment to remember the life of a pet with this 18-inch windchime from Pawprints Left By You. The hanging chimes include a paw print pendant and poem that honors the life led by a canine companion.
It's hard to know exactly what to do in the moment after their pet has died. Paw Pods’ biodegradable casket offers you an option if you want to bury a pet’s remains or ashes. The pod can be decorated on the outside and has enough room for you to include favorite toys or a note. You can also plant the included card with seeds to grow flowers in a pet’s favorite spot in the yard.
If you decide to cremate your pet, the Best Friend Services urn can be a way to securely store your pet’s ashes. The urn is made of brass, decorated with a series of hand-carved paw prints and is available in three finishes: Slate, Ebony or Brass.
A picture that captures a happy moment in the life of a pet and pet owner is a way to keep a pet’s memory alive. The Pearhead pet picture frame has the words “forever loved” on its bottom, along with a black ribbon and paw print charm hanging along the right side of the frame. The black frame fits a 4x6-inch photo.
An oversized fleece blanket featuring a picture of a beloved pet from Picture It! can feel like company when someone is missing a furry friend. This blanket stretches 50 inches by 60 inches and is machine washable.
Maybe your dog had a great grin or your cat always looked like it was up to something. A customized pet portrait from Etsy seller ShakChew creates a black and white portrait from a photo you submit. The prints range in size from 8x10-inches to 24x36-inches or you can get a digital file to print the portrait yourself.
A dedicated place to keep photos, notes or items that remind you of a favorite pet can be an important part of keeping the memory of a dog alive. Esty seller BelvedereCollections creates engraved wooden boxes with the name, breed, the dates of a dog’s life, and a short eulogy.
After a pet dies, you not only need a hug; but you miss having a friend that you can wrap your arms around when you’re sad. My Petsies pet-shaped pillows are something you can literally hug. The pillows, featuring a photo of a pet, come in three different sizes and designs.
Some describe a pets’ passing as heading over the rainbow bridge and Etsy seller Elysium Memorials honors that sentiment with this memorial pebble keepsake urn. The urn is made of hand blown glass, fits in your hand, and has an opening at the base with a stopper that can hold a small amount of a pet’s ashes.
Where to find memorial pet gifts
The personal nature of memorial pet gifts means you might have a particular idea of how you want to remember a pet in your life. Online pet stores, major retailers, and artists’ marketplaces have a number of different ways you can personalize gifts for someone who has just lost an animal companion or can spark an idea for how to remember your family’s pet.