Furry, feathery, or covered in scales, our beloved pets are members of the family.
Even in death, they deserve the dignity of being remembered…and celebrated.
Our busy lives may not permit us to grieve the death of our animal companions properly. We have to carry on in ways that would be unthinkable if we lost a human family member. Yet, the pain is still harsh and pervasive.
Instead, by taking the time to properly memorialize our pets—honoring their lives and the profound effect their existence forever imprinted—we allow ourselves to heal.
Here are five ways to celebrate the lives of our pets, and forever rejoice in the memories.
1. At-Home Memorial Services
A celebration of life is more than befitting for a loyal dog or royally adored cat, and there’s no better place to hold this service than at the family home where your pet lived and loved.
You can make this celebration as quaint as a canary or as grand as a great dane—whatever best suits you and your cherished pet’s memory.
What’s especially helpful is you don’t need to worry about formalities. This is an event that allows you to commemorate and cherish your pet through community—in any way you choose.
2. Personalized Memorial Stones for Pets
Whether cremated or buried (at home or elsewhere), consider a pet memorial stone marker for your dog or cat (or tarantula, or hamster…).
Ordering memory stones for pets is an extremely popular way to honor our animal friends. They look elegant in backyards, gardens, or any place your pet may have loved to roam.
These stones are weather and fade-resistant and can be custom-ordered as stand-alone markers or even as stepping stones. Some pet owners use them to mark grave sites; others place them in a spot their pet loved.
Most importantly, they serve as a fond reminder of life. Anytime you’re outside or glancing out the window, you know your pet’s memory has a place in the sun.
3. Plant a Tree or Flower In a Pet’s Name
Death gives way to new life, and planting seeds, flowers, and trees is a way to symbolize that process.
Alongside a pet memorial stone in the garden, growing a single plant or even a small garden can be therapeutic. Consider tending to it as you tended so lovingly to your pet.
Kids, too, can turn their grief into action by planting seeds, watering plants, and building a small sanctuary—all in honor of their deceased companion.
4. Pet Portraits
Like a pet memorial stone for the family dog or cat, stylist artwork can be a creative, material way to showcase the life of an animal.
Pet portraits and other products can be custom ordered either before or after a pet has died. All you need to submit is a good photo, and voilà, your companion will be framed and hanging above the mantle in no time. You’ll always have their presence in your home and life.
5. Donations to Animal Shelters or Other Charities
Giving to others in need is arguably the most impactful way to celebrate life.
Families often ask funeral homes to accept charitable donations in lieu of flowers, and families grieving the loss of a pet can do the same.
To help relieve suffering after a pet’s death—and honor their life—consider donating to a local rescue shelter or the Animal Humane Society. You can also ask friends and family to send condolences via donations of their own.
By protecting life—in memory of life—you are commemorating your pet in a powerful way. But however you chose to mark their existence, your pet’s life will never be forgotten.
Just don’t hold back “toasting” to that life every way you know how.