There’s no question that in many homes, pets are considered valued members of the family. So, when a loved one passes on, it can be devastating for everyone including children, neighbors, and friends. Of course, it can be tough for veterinarians and the staff at animal hospitals who have been a part of a pet’s life too. Experiencing the death of a pet is never easy for an animal lover.
The following are just a few common and comforting ways to reflect on the life of a cherished pet while making the grieving process just a bit easier.
1. Memorial Service
One of the best ways to handle grief while celebrating the life of a pet is by holding a memorial service. Your veterinarian or animal hospital can give you the remains of your pet so you can give them a proper and respectful burial in your backyard, garden, or other place of choice. Family, friends, neighbors, veterinary staff, and anyone who knew and loved the pet can be invited. Giving out a candle for each person to hold as you honor and bury the pet is a loving touch.
In many cases, families will work with their veterinarian or animal hospital to have their pet cremated. For that reason, urns are a popular way to protect the ashes. There are many sizes and materials available for urns, and some are even eco-friendly planters that eventually grow into memorial trees. In most cases, urns can be customized for decorative purposes in the home.
3. Photographs or a Photo Album
Many pet owners keep dozens, if not hundreds, of photos of their treasured pet. Since the advent of smartphones, it’s easier than ever to take photos and share them on social media and through emails and texts. One way to commemorate the life of a pet is to gather your best and favorite photos taken over the years and create a photo album or picture collage. These photos can remind you of the life and good times you had with your pet while also being a decorative piece in your home. Additionally, going through photos and spending time reflecting on the good times can help with the grieving process.
The animal hospital or veterinarian hospital may have an In Memoriam wall that welcomes photos of pets who have passed on. This is a great way to honor those pets who spent many healthy and happy years being treated and cared for at the veterinarian office.
From necklaces to bracelets, a beautiful way to customize a pet’s photograph or information can be through wearable jewelry. Some customized jewelry is designed using a pet’s tags, collar, or even ashes. From monogrammed charms to pendants engraved with a paw print of your lost pet, wearing a memory is a gorgeous way to hold on to those pets we have lost.
Often, families like to honor their deceased pets in ways that allow them to remember them every day. A headstone, pet garden with memorial stones, or grave marker is just one of the unique ways to do this. Whether you choose marble, granite or stone, these options can add beauty to the backyard while helping keep your pet’s memory alive.
6. Engraved Plaques
Similarly, an engraved plaque is a nice way to honor a pet. These can be placed on headstones, urns, photographs, or a mantle as a way to remember the years the pet was alive and to cherish their life. An engraved paw print or memorial ornament are other nice ways to honor a pet and both look decorative in the home.
7. Involvement from Veterinarians and Animal Hospitals
In most cases, a pet has spent many years going to the same veterinarian. The pet is a beloved client of the veterinarian office and/or staff at the animal hospital. At Positive Impressions, we understand the importance of honoring a pet owner’s loss. Our team of pet lovers is proud to offer an assortment of veterinary sympathy cards and thoughtful memorial products that provide some comfort and solace during these tough times.
8. There’s No Wrong Way
There are numerous other ways to remember and honor a deceased pet. Best of all, it should be comforting to know that there really is no wrong way to grief and reflect on the life of a pet no longer with us. From spreading ashes in a field to getting a tattoo, cherishing a pet who meant so much to you can be done in countless ways.
As you cope with the loss, it’s important to understand that just like the death of a human friend or family member, there are various stages of grief. Denial, anger, guilt, depression and acceptance are all part of the grieving process. While some may get through the loss quickly, it may take days, weeks, or months for another person to deal with the loss. In many cases, some people never truly get over the death of a pet. And, that’s okay too! As you cope with the loss, be sure you don’t forget about your remaining pets. Chances are, they are aware of the loss too and may be feeling a bit off, as well. Changes in environment and inhabitants can be tough on a pet and cause depression. Watch for signs of sadness and be sure to give lots of attention and love to your other pets as they deal with this grieving period, too.