Memorializing Your Pet

When a pet leaves us, it can be incredibly painful. Pet owners know that while our love for our pets is forever, our time with our pets is fleeting. The joyful years we spent with our dog or our cat are things that we'll always have, but it's hard feeling in our hearts — and in our homes — when our pet has said his or her final goodbyes.

That's why it's so important for us to have the healing and moving experience of properly memorializing our pet. Our pet may be gone, but our love is still here, and we can express that love and feel our loss in a healthy way when we honor our pet's remains and memory.

Honoring your pet's remains

When a pet passes away, we lose their wonderful personality and vibrancy, but we are left with their memory and their remains. Though your pet is no longer here, it's no doubt important to you to care for their remains in a tasteful and beautiful way. That's natural, and it's healthy, too—the ceremonial and symbolic process of laying your pet to rest can bring you closure and help with the grieving process and your mental health in general.

You may to choose to bury or cremate your pet. Cremation is a tasteful choice that opens up further options for laying your pet to rest — including burial, which is not mutually exclusive with cremation. You don't have to use fire to cremate your pet, either—you can opt for hydrolysis which uses water in place of fire, explain the professionals at VIP Aquamation, a service that helps pet owners honor their pets' remains.

Scattering your pet's ashes is a beautiful way to say goodbye. You may want to pick a particularly meaningful spot for this activity. A spot that you can return to when you want to remember your pet is a great choice. That spot can even be a space on your own property, a place that you can see every day and think of your pet.

You can also consider a memorial plaque or stone of some sort. The size, shape, and style can be entirely up to you — as is the decision to get a physical memorial at all. There are some very unique pet memorials

out there, and that’s as it should be. The priority should be caring for your own grief and memories of your pet. If you feel a marker of some sort will have meaning to you, then you should consider it a sensible expense.

Ashes can also be kept in urns, of course. In an urn, your pet can always be with you. Pair an urn with a framed photograph of your pet or a book of memories for a tasteful mini-memorial in your own home. As always, what matters is that you'll have a place — whether it be physical or mental — to return to when you want to remember your pet. Maybe that's a shelf in your living room, or maybe it's a memory of scattering your pet's ashes on a bright day in your pet's favorite park.

Ceremonies and saying goodbye

You may or may not choose to have some sort of ceremony for your pet. Having a moment to say goodbye can be healthy, but it doesn't have to be a big undertaking. Something as simple as closing your eyes and remembering your pet for a moment before scattering his or her ashes can suffice. If you feel it would help to have friends or family with you, then you should invite them along. Perhaps you'll want to say a few words, or have someone else do so. Whatever feels right to you for you and the memory of your pet is what you should do.

The connection we have with our pets is meaningful and lasting — so lasting that it outlives our worldly connection to our pet. You should respect your own feelings and allow yourself to grieve, using a tasteful process of laying your pet to rest as a way to gain closure and feel that grief in a way that is healthy and meaningful. This is a difficult time, but it can be a beautiful time, too, and set you up for a lifetime of remembering your pet fondly, knowing that you said goodbye in a way that felt right.