35 Things to Do on Your Dog's 1 Year Death Anniversary

Updated

Has one year passed since you had to say goodbye to your beloved pet? You may be wondering how to acknowledge a death anniversary. We want to give you some ideas.

Jump ahead to these sections:

First, we will give you activities you can do as a family to remember your dog's life. Then, we will share poets and quotes about dogs that may speak to you during your time of grief. Finally, we will share a few ideas on what to say to someone commemorating a pet's death anniversary. 

Activity or Memorial Ideas for Your Dog's 1 Year Death Anniversary

Whether you know the date is approaching or are surprised to discover it has been one year since your dog has passed, here are some ideas of things to do on a death anniversary. 

1. Visit the burial site

Just as some go to cemeteries on the death anniversaries of their human loved ones, visit the burial site (or scattering location) on the death anniversary of your dog. Take a few moments to reflect solemnly on your dog's life, and then share stories about what made your pet so special. You might want to bring a bouquet of wildflowers or place a favorite treat on your dog's grave during your visit.

Of course, if you still have your pet's ashes in your closet, you might want to use the death anniversary to scatter the remains in a special spot.

2. Look at photos and videos

Spend the afternoon looking through the photos and videos of your pet. Then, share them with others in your household. 

3. Spend time outdoors

Your four-legged friend probably loved being outside in the fresh air. Spend time as a family at your dog's favorite spot. Share memories as you spend time outdoors.

4. Volunteer

Sign up to volunteer at your local animal shelter on the death anniversary of your pet. You might even decide to adopt a dog from a shelter if you find you are ready to open your home to a new dog.

5. Donate

Ask your local animal shelter about items they currently need. Then, shop for those items together as a family and deliver them to the shelter. Some animal shelters have Chewy or Amazon wish lists on their websites, with notes on what things have high priority. 

6. Create something for a shelter

Use your craft supplies and recycled items to make something for your local animal shelter. Examples include fun bandanas, scratching posts for cats, or homemade dog treats. 

7. Plant something in your garden

Perhaps you could use the death anniversary of all your loved ones to plant something beautiful in your garden. Your garden can become an even more meaningful place to visit as each plant will remind you of a person or animal you lost.

8. Get a tattoo

Some people commemorate the life of a special pet by getting a memorial tattoo.

9. Hang a wind chime

Every time you hear the melodious wind chime, you'll be reminded of your special pet.

10. Commission a painting

Hire a local or online artist to create a painting of your dog. 

11. Create a pet memorial

A year has passed, and maybe it is now time to create a memorial for your pet. Memorial ideas include stepping stones, jewelry, memory boxes, or ornaments.

Poems to Read or Share on Your Dog's Death Anniversary

Many people turn to literature or music when they experience grief. So here are some poems to read about that special relationship with "man's best friend." Some poems are written by amateur poets who publish online, and others were written by poets who wrote professionally.

12. "Beau" by Jimmy Stewart

You may not know that Jimmy Stewart was an amateur poet. He shared a sample of his work when on the Johnny Carson show. The piece, "Beau," was about his golden retriever.

13. "To Flush, My Dog" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning is known for writing romantic poetry, but she also wrote a piece for her dog Flush.

It includes the lines, 

"Loving friend, the gift of one,
Who, her own true faith, hath run,
Through thy lower nature;
Be my benediction said
With my hand upon thy head,
Gentle fellow-creature!"

14. "Epitaph to a Dog" by Lord Byron

When Lord Byron's beloved dog died of rabies, the famous poet built a large monument. Ironically, the memorial dedicated to Boatswain ended up being larger than Lord Byron's own grave marker. 

15. "They Will Not Go Quietly" by Unknown

Since a year has passed since your dog's death, you may no longer look for your dog every time you enter your home. This poem describes that odd feeling of listening and looking for your pet – even though you know they are gone. 

"Old habits still can make us think we hear them at the door. Or step back when we drop a tasty morsel on the floor."

16. "Rainbow Bridge" by Paul C. Dahm

The concept of the rainbow bridge has been around for decades. This poem, attributed to Dahm, describes a beautiful holding place populated by dogs waiting for their owners to die and join them.

17. "For I Will Consider Your Dog Molly" by David Lehman

In this unique poem, Lehman wrestles with big ideas but then reflects on the life of a dog.

"For she does not lie awake in the dark and weep for her sins, and whine about her condition, and discuss her duty to God.
For I'd as lief pray with your dog Molly as with any man.
For she knows that God is her savior."

18. “The Way We Said Goodbye" by Mark Vinz

In this touching poem, a poet writes about the end of a beloved dog's life.

19. "A Dog for Jesus" by Rudyard Kipling

Christians may appreciate this poem by the author of The Jungle Book. In it, Kipling describes sending his dog to heaven. The last stanza reads:

"Well, the Lord has a dog now, I just sent Him mine.
The old pal so dear to me.
And I smile through my tears on this first day alone,
Knowing they're in eternity.
Day after day, the whole day through,
Wherever my road inclined,
Four feet said, "Wait, I'm coming with you!"
And trotted along behind."

Quotes to Read or Share on Your Dog's Death Anniversary

Grief unifies us. Here are some quotes that remind us that even though we all have our differences, we all feel terrible when our pets die.

20. "There is sorrow enough in the natural way // From men and women to fill our day; // But when we are certain of sorrow in store, // Why do we always arrange for more? // Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware // Of giving your heart to a dog to tear." — Rudyard Kipling

We ended the last section with a poem by Kipling. Here's a quote from another one of his poems. This one is titled “The Power of the Dog.”

21. "The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog." — M.K. Clinton

We love this quote. Consider sharing it on social media with a photo of your pet.

22. "Once you've had a wonderful dog, a life without one is a life diminished." — Dean Koontz

We don't associate Dean Koontz as writing warm and fuzzy quotes such as these, but even authors known for horror and suspense stories have a softer side when it comes to animals.

23. "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." — Will Rogers

Will Rogers was a cowboy humorist.

24. "The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs." – Charles De Gaulle

Perhaps this describes why you are hurting so much from the loss of your animal.

25. "Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day." – John Grogan 

Grogan was the author of Marley and Me.

26. "If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons." – James Thurber 

Thurber wrote about (and drew!) dogs. 

27. "Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful." – Ann Landers 

We love this rather snarky piece of advice.

28. "Over the years I have felt the truest, purest love—the love of God, really, I imagine that's what God's love feels like—is the love that comes from your dog." – Oprah Winfrey

Winfrey is known for being a dog lover.

29. "I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive." – Gilda Radner

Radner starred on SNL during the 1970s.

30. "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself." – Josh Billings

Perhaps that's why people feel such profound grief when they lose their pets.

31. "When your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you." – Nora Ephron

We love this quote about our four-legged friends.

32. "Happiness is a warm puppy." – Charles M. Schultz

Being the creator of Snoopy, Schultz knew a thing or two about the love of a dog.

Messages to Share for a Friend on Their Dog's Death Anniversary

What do you say to someone grieving the loss of an animal? You might share a pet loss quote to let your friend know you are thinking of them. You may also give them a death anniversary gift. However, many people find comfort simply knowing that someone else is thinking about them and considering their loss.

Here are some messages to share with a friend on the anniversary of their dog's death.

33. "I am thinking about you today. I know that the death anniversary of Snuggles is always difficult for you."

A simple message is sometimes the best when talking about grief and death.

34. "I know you are missing Scout, but I hope you feel comfort knowing that you provided him with a wonderful home."

Put reminders on your calendar to reach out to friends and family on difficult anniversaries.

35. "No one could have loved Trixie more than you did. She was lucky to have you."

You may also want to surprise your friend with a small gift, such as a dog Christmas ornament or a bouquet of flowers.

Don't Put a Time Limit on Your Grief

Please don't let others make you feel bad that you are grieving the loss of your animal after a year. Sometimes when a person has never experienced grief, they think it is something you can get through. Instead, your grief may be with you always.

Icons sourced from FlatIcon.