Top 14 Ways to Honor the Memory of a Dog

Honouring the memory of those we have lost
14 Ways to Honour the Memory of Your Pet
In memory of my puppy mill rescue Saffy, who knew only a brief moment of peace

I speak from experience when I say, finding ways to honor the memory of a dog will go a long way to helping you heal from their loss.

Honouring Calypso

The first time I ever had to say goodbye to an animal was my cat Calypso. I was beyond devastated and had no idea how to cope. I knew I had to find a way to feel close to her, but wasn’t sure how to make that happen. I had her ashes, I keep all my pets ashes, but that wasn’t enough. After seeing her name on a watch band while on vacation (imagine that!!) I decided I would engrave her name on a heart charm I had found a couple of years before. It may sound hard to believe, but once I started wearing that necklace I felt so much better. 

In memory of Saffy

This is a very painful story for me so I’m just going to let you read it here. What I do want to share is the way I chose to honour Saffy. I started The Saffy Pearson Resource Centre as a way to do something good, and keep her name alive. I go do various locations and set up a stand to answer questions people have about caring for dogs and cats. It can’t erase how devastated I am to this day because of the circumstances of her death, but I can do something to honour the life we shared.

If you, or someone you know, is having a hard time dealing with the loss of a pet, here are 14 ideas to choose from to honour that bond. Please be sure to seek professional help if you are depressed and can’t snap out of it. 

Memorial ideas

Put together a scrapbook, memory book or memory box with your favourite pictures, poems or letters you’ve written, even an id tag. The contents can include anything you like.

A plaque in a pet cemetery or park where your dog liked to play.

Volunteer at your local shelter, and offer a homeless animal some love and attention. If you can’t do that, make a donation in your pet’s name.

Keep a tag, collar, blanket or favourite toy.

Personalize a keepsake urn necklace with your pet’s name, and add some ashes.

Bury your pet in a pet cemetery (or backyard if you’re allowed), and mark it with a gravestone. This gives you a place to visit. Hold a memorial service and invite close family and friends if you like, or keep it small and private.

Garden stones can be ordered with paw prints, names and even inscriptions.

Keep a photo frame in a special place in your home. It’s nice to be able to glance at it, and feel like he’s still a part of the family.

Engrave your pet’s name on a charm, key ring or some other object. Wear it, keep it in your purse, pocket, on your desk…

There are many online memorial sites where you can share your stories, get support, help others work through their grief and light virtual candles.

When you’re ready for a new furry friend, rescuing a homeless animal from a shelter, rescue group or animal control facility, is the greatest tribute you can make.

Way to honor the memory of your dog – conclusion

I know all too well how heartbreaking it is to lose a loved one, and how helpless it can make us feel. The image at the top of this post is of a candle I lit in memory of Saffy. I will never get over losing her, it was too shocking and too sudden, but somehow that act did bring me some comfort.

I hope in this selection of pet memorial ideas, you will find the best way to honour your loved one, and that it will bring you peace. 

 

I would like to invite you to join Senior Dog Care Club, my Facebook group for senior dog parents. There you will find lots of helpful tips and advice, a place to ask questions and share experiences. I look forward to welcoming you.

 

 

*There are affiliate links in this post, which means if you purchase anything I make a few pennies…literally. That money helps me help homeless animals through donations and fostering, as well as keeping this blog running.

Top 14 Ways to Honor the Memory of a Dog

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20 thoughts on “Top 14 Ways to Honor the Memory of a Dog

  1. hi Hindy
    Oh how your post comes at the right time! My friend, after much turmoil, decide to put her dog down. She did so 6 days ago and it was not an easy decision. I know that she made paw prints with her daughter a few days before. It will not replace Dakota but it is a beautiful memorial to have for a companion of 12 years. Lots of sadness involved but in the end it was the best thing to do to end the pain.

    1. Hi Emily, I’m so sorry to hear that, but yes you’re right, it’s our responsibility to make sure our animals don’t suffer. How sweet that she created something together with her daughter. I’m sure it will help her cope with the sadness of losing her friend. Like a close friend of mine always says in these situations – it sucks!

      1. hi Hindy!
        Oh yes it sucks! I think my friend had accepted that Dakota was in too much pain. But her kids, all grown adults, were having a hard time letting go. Hence, why the process was pushed back so many times. But her daughter came back home for the days preceding Dakota’s passing and they created good memories.

        1. Hi Emily, When all those emotions are involved, and they know heartbreak is around the corner, sometimes people forget, or are simply unable to focus on the only thing that truly matters – the suffering of their pet. We’re only human and it is hard to let go, no doubt about it.

  2. Hi, this is very informative. Many of my friends and family find it difficult to overcome the death of their pet. This page has excellent suggestions. I definite will recommend it to them.

    Point 14 is such an excellent point, Animals/pets are the creation of God, We should make it our responsible to take care of them, look after them and make sure their do not suffer.

    1. Hi Uwais, thanks and so happy you found these tips helpful. I know what you mean, it is extremely difficult to get over the loss of a pet. They’re a member of the family, and you definitely feel their absence in your home. They are God’s creations, and we do have an responsibility to care for them, and ensure they are happy, healthy and, when the time comes, out of pain.

  3. Losing a pet is the worst. Sudden or expected, the loss of such an important companion really takes a toll on a persons emotions and well being.

    I like the idea of a memory garden. We have a concrete paving stone kit so could make our own memorial stones.

    I’ve always kept collars and tags from my cats, I have one from Zodiac (she was an awesome dark tortoise shell with a tan stripe down her nose) and one from Nero (he was the most amazing gray cat there ever was). It’s very comforting to hold them or wear them around my wrist for awhile when I’m missing my buddies. They were both my best friends.

    I’ve always made it a point to send a card to friends who have lost a pet. It’s a nice gesture you can make to someone who is grieving.

    1. Hi Dara, thanks for sharing your experiences, and yes it is most certainly the worst. I love your cats’ names, I am the worst namer of animals. If any of them have decent names it certainly isn’t thanks to me. I know what you mean about finding comfort in something that belonged to them. I never thought of wearing a collar around my wrist – what a great idea! When my first cat died I was so traumatised, I ended up inscribing her name on a heart shaped pendant and wore that for a very long time. How lovely that you send a card, it does help to know someone is thinking of them.

  4. Hi Hindy,

    Because I’ve been reading your posts at least once a week I have been more mindful of taking better care of my senior dog, Baby. I don’t know if I told you but I came home a couple of weeks ago and Baby and Duke were in the backyard. When I opened the door to call them in Duke came but Baby didn’t. I got a little nervous. So I went out the back door and she was laying down looking out the gate at the kids playing in the street. I called her name and she didn’t move. I watched her for a bit and it didn’t seem like she was breathing. So I called her name again but louder and she heard me and came inside.

    This incident caused me to call around to pet cremation services and I found a wonderful one. They are so kind and understanding and were very helpful. They cut a piece of hair from your dog’s hair and they create a paw print from your dog for you to keep in memorial. They also provide an urn with their services or you can purchase a different one. And they give you a plaque.

    It was something I didn’t want to think about but now I will be prepared when the time comes.

    1. Hi Rawl, it’s so nice to know you’ve been reading my posts, and you’re finding them helpful. No I didn’t hear that story. You must have been beside yourself! Do you know what happened? Do you think she’s becoming a bit hard of hearing? No one wants to think about that day, but being prepared means you have one less thing on your mind, and more energy to focus on your pets now.

  5. Thank you for this thoughtful and caring post. I found you through a link on Tossed Cookies blog. I kept both my keeshond’s collars and their ashes. We had a letting go ceremony, lit incense and candles then gave thanks. Finished with sprinkled a bit of their ashes near a lovely fruit tree in our garden.

    Happy to learn about you and your writing.I also advocate for shelter adoption of all animals on my blog.
    Hope to read more of your writing in 2016,
    Warmly, Deborah

    1. Hi Deborah, it’s lovely to meet you, so glad you found me. Erin is great, and her blog has so much helpful information to help us keep our pets safe. I was thrilled when she offered to write a post for me. Thank you for sharing your ceremony with us – what a beautiful way to honour the memory of the life you shared, and a wonderful way to say goodbye. I believe there are so many ways to honour that memory, and by doing “something” it helps you grieve, and then lets you carry on – never forgetting, but also not bottling up the pain, hoping it will go away. So happy to meet another advocate, and I look forward to reading your blog.

  6. My dog sadly passed away recently. I’ve had him since I was a kid and he meant a lot to me. It is important to me that I do something to honor his memory. After reading I feel like getting a plaque to put in the park where he used to love playing would be special. Doing this would remind me about him every time I went to the park! Is it okay with parks if you want to put a plaque representing your pet in a tree or something?

    1. Hi Patricia, I’m so sorry to hear that. You never get used to having to say goodbye, but life never would have been so good without them. In my experience is does help to commemorate them in some way, and a plaque is a lovely idea. I’m afraid I can’t answer that question for you, that’s something you would have to ask your local council, city gov’t office, or parks and recreation department about. You often see park benches with plaques in memory of people who enjoyed a particular spot. I made a plaque for one of my dogs “The Bailey Pearson Memorial Garden” and I leave it on my patio near my plants.

  7. I love the idea of putting a memorial plaque in a park. My sister recently lost her dog, and I think this would be a great way for her to pay tribute to one of her best friends. They often went to the dog park near our home, so that would be a perfect location. do you have to get special permission to put up a plaque at a park? Thanks for the ideas and information.

    1. Hi April, I’m so sorry to hear about your sister’s loss. There’s nothing you can really say, but I’m glad you got some ideas about how to honour her dog. I would definitely speak to the local parks department about that. One thing I see a lot of here is – I live near the beach and there are lots of benches lining the boardwalk with plaques people had put on the backs in memory of loved ones. I love that idea, because they’re always remembered and thought of by people who sit and enjoy the view.

  8. Putting together a book that contains pictures and memories is a good idea. Having something that you can refer back to is helpful in coping with a loss. Making something that you can display would also be a good idea.

    1. Hi Kendall, I hope that some of these ideas help anyone who has lost a pet find some comfort. Definitely a great idea to create something that would have pride of place in your home, to glance at whenever you need to.

  9. Taking action is the best sounding way I’ve found to cope with the grief. It is so very hard to lose a lifelong friend like a pet. It can also be just as hard to find a suitable way to remember them when they have passed. I try to find something that matches their personality. I had a dog that would actively hunt for water to play in, so I scattered her ashes in the pond.

    1. Hi Jasper, I agree about taking action. We’re so helpless when we lose them, doing something gives us back some of the control (spoken like a true control freak I guess!). I love the idea of doing something that matches their personality, and how meaningful to scatter ashes of a dog that loved water, in a pond. I’ve had a very difficult time getting over the death of one of my dogs (I don’t think I ever will to be honest), so I started a free resource centre in her name, to help people who have questions about dog and cat care. My way of taking action.

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