The pain of losing a beloved dog can often feel too great to bear. For so many of us, our dogs are more than just our pets. They are members of our family, and research has shown that losing a dog can trigger the same level of grief and sorrow as when we lose a human friend or relative. Many dog-owners struggle to move on after losing their four-legged best friend and even feel anxiety anticipating her death.
However, there are many meaningful ways to help you commemorate your dog’s life and to help you cope with the loss. Here are six to consider:
1. Write An Obituary
When a family member dies, we find solace in remembering her life and recounting her acts of love and service. Putting pen to paper can be a cathartic exercise, and this is no different when it is a dog who passed away. Buy some fancy stationary and a nice pen, and spend an afternoon writing down some of the things you loved best about your dog, as well as your favorite memories of your time together. When you are finished, you can frame your obituary and put it in a place of honor next to your dog’s picture. Or you could write the obituary on your computer and email it to friends and family who loved your dog and are sharing your grief.
2. Hold A Remembrance Ceremony
Invite your friends, family and neighbors over for a special ceremony to remember your beloved pet. Serve your dog’s favorite foods (such as hamburgers or cheese or chicken), and raise a glass to her memory. Ask everyone to share a favorite moment or read the obituary you wrote aloud. If anyone has any pictures or mementos of your dog, ask them to bring them to the ceremony to share.
3. Plant A Tree
Whether you are burying your dog on your property or having a cremation, consider planting a tree, bush or flower bed in your yard as a special reminder of your pet. Whenever you look out the window and see that plant flourishing, it will remind you of your dog and the circle of life.
4. Make A Necklace
You can personalize a necklace, bracelet or medallion to help you remember your dog and keep her close to your heart forever. There are many different shops which offer this service, but I love this gorgeous option from Etsy shop GIGIMEY.
5. An End-Of-Life Photo Shoot
If your dog has not yet passed away, but you know that she is gravely ill, you might consider an end-of-life photo shoot. The idea is that you spend one last day with your pet doing all of her favorite things, while simultaneously having pictures taken to help commemorate your last moments together.
If your dog has already passed away, you could consider making a photo book in which you put together all the best snaps of your pup. You can even include captions, dates, quotes and more. Check out MixBook for possible options.
6. Donate To Dogs In Need
You can honor your dog’s memory by donating time or money to an animal charity. For example, if your beloved dog was a pit bull, you could donate to BadRap, an organization which is devoted to improving dog welfare and enhancing the bond between owners and their dogs.
Or if your dog was elderly, you may connect with an organization like The Grey Muzzle Organization, which works to improve the lives of senior dogs in shelters.
Or if your dog was big and fluffy, consider donating to the Big Fluffy Dog Rescue, which specifically helps large dogs like chow chows, Newfoundlands, Great Pyrenees, and Saint Bernards.
There are so many ways to honor your beloved pet after she is gone — snd make sure to remember, you’ll always have your special memories of your time together.