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Memorializing a Pet

Some thoughts on how we can mark the passing of a beloved dog.


The loss of a dog, especially for "dog people" like us, can be emotionally devastating. One of the ways to help cope with the loss is finding a meaningful expression to memorialize your departed friend. The second Sunday of every September is designated as "National Pet Memorial Day" and the sponsor, the ICCFA, has some tips on their website to consider. If you've recently lost a dog, or know a friend or family member who has, these are some heartfelt ideas to find comfort in this difficult time.

There are many ways to deal with grief and loss. One idea is to take action, and volunteering some time at a local animal shelter can be one option that keeps you moving and also interacting and helping dogs in need. Others may find being around dogs distressing, so consider other types of volunteering you can do "in honor" of a pet. Some ways you could do this and still have a dog focus are organizing a food drive for a local animal shelter, or even a pet food drive for a local food pantry serving people in need who are also caring for a family pet. Some women's shelters around the country even shelter the pets of the women and children in their care, and they always need supplies such as pet food, leashes, bowls and other types of pet items.

Another way to remember your dog is to find a way to physically create a memorial for them, such as garden area in your yard which could include a plaque, statue or fountain, favorite plants and flowers, or even plant a tree. The Arbor Day Foundation has a program to memorialize pets where you can donate $10 and they will plant 10 trees to honor your pet. You can find more information on their website. Creating wind chimes with a plaque of your pet is also a beautiful way to remember your pet every time you hear the sounds in the wind. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary makes windchimes as well as other markers, or you can simply purchase a set of chimes and have a small plaque added to them.

Use the internet to create a memorial with pictures and videos of your dog. You can set up a page on Instagram or Pinterest, or an album on your Facebook page, or even write a blog. Sharing your cherished memories with others who knew your dog or who just want to express their sympathy is another way to reach out to others and remember your pet in a positive and uplifting way.

These are just a few ideas - there are multiple creative options to memorialize your dog. You can find more ideas on the ICCFA website. Dealing with the loss of a dog is a difficult subject, but expressing and remembering your best moments with your dog and your relationship can help you, or someone you know who has recently lost a dog, to deal with this emotional time. If you or a friend or family member needs additional help in dealing with a pet loss, the Association for Pet Loss provides information and local resources for pet owners.

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