It's something no pet owner wants to think about--the day when our beloved companion leaves us behind. Even though it's inevitable, we'd prefer to pretend it just wont happen. Of course, deep inside, we know that someday it will. And when it does, it's best to be prepared. Having a sense of how you will memorialize your pet can make the grieving process just a little bit easier when the time comes to say goodbye. Besides thinking ahead on how you want to handle your pet's remains--burial on your property or at a pet cemetery, or cremation--it's a good idea to think about what you will do to honor your pet's memory. Here are some ideas to help you celebrate your pet after he's gone.
Find the Right Urn
Many pet owners opt for cremation after their animal passes. You can choose to have your pet cremated individually and the ashes turned over to you. Most cremation services return your pet's remains in a small cedar box. You can keep your pet's ashes in your home in the original box, or you can invest in an urn made especially for pet remains. A decorative urn can be placed on your mantle or somewhere else in your home where you, your family and visitors can easily be reminded of your pet.
Donate to Your Favorite Cause
Many animal welfare charities provide the option of donating money in memory of someone who has passed. If your pet was adopted from an animal shelter or rescue group, consider donating to an organization that helps homeless animals. If you lost your pet to an illness such as cancer, you may want to make a donation in his name to a foundation that provides funds for research into that particular illness. You can also donate in your pet's memory to a general health research foundation for pets.
Commission a Painting
A wonderful way to memorialize your pet is to have a portrait painted by an artist. Using a favorite photo of your pet, an artist can render a frame-able portrait you can hang up in your home. Professional pet portrait artists can be found by searching for "pet portraits" on the web.
Create a Slide Show
If you are good on the computer and enjoy putting together slide shows, consider assembling all your favorite photos of your pet and creating a slide show honoring your pet's life. A photo management program will let you add music to the slide show. You can post this to your social media accounts, and email it to your friends and family to help them honor and grieve for your pet. Set it as your computer screensaver to remember your pet every day.
Losing a pet is one of the saddest experiences many of us will ever have. But creating a long-lasting memorial of our animal companion can help us heal and eventually accept this tremendous loss. And when you eventually open your heart to another pet again, you will always have the memories of that special one who came before him.
How do you plan to memorialize your pets?