When a human member of your family dies, you usually have a headstone or other memorial where you can go and think of them. When a pet dies, you might not think to create the same kind of space where you can go and grieve. But a pet can be just as much a member of the family as a person.
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If you’re having a difficult time moving past the death of a dog, setting up a pet memorial for them can help you process your grief. Here we share some ideas for memorials for your good boy or girl.
Dog Memorial Ideas to Display at Home
After a pet passes away, your home can suddenly feel very empty. You might expect to hear the clanking of your dog’s tags or their nails scrabbling across the floor. Setting up a memorial in your home can help make that void seem a little less vast. Here are some memorial ideas you can easily set up in your home.
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1. Pet portrait
Pets have long been a favorite subject of artists. People have been depicting domesticated pets in artwork for over five thousand years. Many artists will paint custom portraits of your pet using photographs as reference. You can get a realistic portrait or a quirky one that shows your dog in an unusual costume. This is a great way to get to see your old dog in a new light.
2. Pet urn
Even just a few decades ago, people tended to just bury their pets in the backyard when they died. These days, a steadily increasing number of people are opting to get their pets cremated when they die.
With an urn, if you have to move away, you don’t have to leave your pets behind. Look online for a memorial pet urn to keep ashes in. You can get ones that feature custom engravings and a likeness of your dog. Put it in a place of honor in your home for a lasting memorial.
3. Ash-filled hourglass
If you opted to have your dog cremated, you can use their ashes as part of a memorial. Instead of getting a traditional urn, you can purchase an empty hourglass that you can add ashes into.
This kind of hourglass will be strictly decorative and not functional: you wouldn’t be able to use it as an accurate timepiece. But this sweet memorial serves as a reminder of how felting life can be.
4. Memory box
After your dog dies, you may have a hard time looking at the objects they left behind. But donating them or getting rid of them might be a step too far. Find a decorative box and gather any pet-related items that may be causing you pain. Place things like a leash, a collar, food bowls, and toys inside. Set the box in a place of honor and only revisit the objects inside when you’re ready.
5. Framed photo
One of the worst feelings after a beloved pet dies is when your memories of them start to fade. Soon, it might be difficult to picture their sweet mug in your head. Make sure that doesn’t happen and find a photo that captures the spirit of your dog. Have it enlarged and framed. This makes for a simple but effective pet memorial.
Dog Memorial Ideas to Keep Outdoors
Dogs are often at their happiest when they’re running around the backyard or going out for a hike with their human friends. Setting up a memorial in your dog’s happy place can bring you a measure of peace and comfort. These outdoor memorials are beautiful ways to pay tribute to your furry friend.
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6. Build a pet memorial garden
If there was a corner of the yard your dog loved to frolic in, consider turning that area into a pet memorial garden.
Trees and flowers often have symbolism attached to them. For example, hydrangea bushes can represent sadness and deep-felt emotion. Meanwhile, an elder tree can symbolize evolution and change. Look for trees and plants that will thrive in your climate, and find something with a symbolism that resonates with you.
7. Pet memorial garden stone
When people die, they often have a headstone erected in their honor. It is typically inscribed with their name and the dates of their birth and death.
A headstone might also include a memorial quote and references to the deceased’s family. Even if you decide to have your pet cremated instead of buried, you can have a garden stone made similar to a headstone. A simple garden stone with your pet’s name and engraved pawprints can serve as a headstone stand-in. Getting a stone etched isn’t prohibitively expensive, but you can always paint it instead if you’re looking for a more frugal option.
8. Memorial wind chime
When you have a dog, you’re always aware of their presence, even if you aren’t in the same room. When your dog dies, You can feel their absence too.
Windchimes make great memorials because they can break up the stillness and quietness of a dogless house. Every time the wind blows and the chimes jingle, you’ll get a little reminder of your friend who’s passed on.
9. Memorial birdbath
Sometimes the best way to heal your broken heart after the death of a pet is to do something kind for other animals.
A birdbath provides an oasis for our feathered friends to come to have a drink and cool down. When you watch birds gather at a memorial fountain, you can feel a little closer to your late dog.
10. Memorial pet statue
You might think that a statue in the likeness of your late pet is an extravagance you can’t afford. But small outdoor statues made to look like pets are surprisingly accessible.
If you have a popular breed, like a golden retriever, you can likely find a generic concrete statue of your dog for under $100. But even a custom statue designed to look like your pet could cost as little as a few hundred dollars.
Dog Memorial Ideas You Can Wear
Pets are very close to our hearts. Most pet owners just want to keep their pets as close to them as possible. An animal’s death doesn’t stop that urge. These wearable memorial items create an opportunity for you to hold the memory of your dog close to you.
11. Cremation urn necklace
Many people have their pets cremated so that they can keep their ashes close. A cremation ash pendant can help you hold your pet’s memory even closer to you.
Many artisans make cremation jewelry so you can carry cremation ashes on your person. One great option is a necklace with a cylindrical pendant. You can open it and enclose a small portion of cremains inside. That way your dog will always be close to your heart.
12. Infused ash bead bracelet
Some skilled glass artisans can infuse cremation ash into their work. You can send a small portion of ash and they can incorporate them into glass beads.
These glass beads can be strung together to make a beautiful piece of memorial jewelry. And that’s just one option. Get in touch with an artist to explore many possible glass tributes to your dog.
13. Ring with memorial diamond
Believe it or not, cremation ash can be processed into a diamond. Several companies have processes that allow them to take the carbon in the ashes and convert it to a lab-grown diamond. This process can take several weeks, and it’s on the pricey side.
A quarter carat memorial diamond will cost around $1,400 depending on the company. But this kind of piece is truly special and something you can hold onto for years. The symbolism behind it is also quite lovely. You’re turning a precious pet into a precious stone.
14. Memorial tattoo
While cremation jewelry is a beautiful tribute to a pet, some people want a more lasting memorial. A memorial tattoo in honor of your pet is something you can carry with you on your skin always. Some people opt for a large pet portrait. Others might just pick out a simple paw print. You can pick the design that works best for you.
Memorial Objects Can Help You Cope With Grief
When people are sad, they often turn to their pets to give them comfort. If you’re mourning the death of your pet though, you may not feel like you have anyone to turn to. It’s easy to feel mired in your grief. Setting up a special memorial can help you feel more connected to your late pet.
Giving yourself a concrete project can help distract you from some of your more painful emotions. And when you ultimately finish creating your memorial, you may find your sense of accomplishment also helps ease the sting of grief.