Pets are part of the family in many households. For a lot of folks, their smile and enthusiasm is the best part of coming home.
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It’s no wonder then that many of us are lost in grief when we lose a dog or a cat who was our special companion. Memorializing our pets can’t bring them back for one more round of fetch, but they can help us slowly turn the grief of loss into gratitude for the time spent together.
Families memorialize pets in a variety of ways, but using a memorial stone can be an especially permanent and beautiful way to do so. A memorial stone, for instance, can be a way to remember your pet if you opt for pet cremation and don’t plan to bury them.
Here are some ideas for DIY and prefabricated stone memorials for your pet.
DIY Pet Memorial Stone Ideas
For an inexpensive memorial with a personalized touch, these DIY projects can create a permanent memorial to keep on a porch, in a garden, or in another space that’s important to you.
1. Mosaic in concrete
For this DIY memorial, all you need is a bag of concrete from the hardware store and a mold. After mixing the concrete and filling the mold, you can use a stick or tool and indent the name of your pet into the concrete while it’s setting.
To create a beautiful and unique look, set pieces of colored glass or beads to create a mosaic in the concrete. You can also opt for an abstract design featuring your pet’s favorite colors and shapes. When the concrete has hardened, display the stone in your garden or along a pathway where you’ll see it and remember your pet.
If you don't have the time to gather all of the materials, you can buy a DIY mosaic kit with everything you need.
2. Painted designs on river rocks
Smooth, small-to-medium-sized rocks can make a good canvas for a painted memorial of your beloved pet. You can either collect the rocks yourself, or you can pick up a rock painting kit with paint, rocks, and brushes. Painting a scene or design and adding a note in permanent marker can turn the river rocks into a beautiful way to remember your pet.
Using multiple rocks, you can create a small design or even a mini-rock-garden. This form of pet memorial is particularly helpful for children who are processing grief and want a way to express their memories with their pets.
3. Etching into pavers or brick
Buying decorative stepping stones or bricks and using an engraving tool to chip out a design can be a good option if you have a background in engraving. Engraving or etching has the advantage over paint which can fade in the sun.
If you’re up for a small challenge, learning how to use these tools is not particularly difficult. Just remember different materials will chip away at different grades.
4. Hardwood with carving
While not technically a memorial ‘stone,’ a hardwood plaque or slab can be treated to survive the elements. This can be a beautiful option for DIY memorial markers.
Make your design on paper then transfer it to the hardwood plaque with a wood engraving tool or wood-burning tool. Treat the wood or cover it in a preserving material like varnish. You can display it indoors or incorporate it into a garden. If you're new to wood carving, you can pick up a wood carving kit with carving knives, gloves, and other materials.
Pet Memorial Stone Ideas for a Cat
Cats, with their independence and spunk, can be key parts of our lives that we want to remember forever. Here are a few unique cat memorial stones that might help you treasure the memories of your companion.
5. Quote about cats etched on a headstone
There are many clever quotes about how cats behave and how they affect our lives. If you’d prefer a quote about cats over a traditional headstone, look up cat quotes on the internet and select one that applies to your particular cat.
Either DIY or have a professional etch the quote on a stone you can display where it will bring you joy. You can also order a granite stone online, like this granite pet headstone, and add a photo and dates.
6. Treasured memory etched on a stone plaque
Another direction to go with your memorial stone is to either depict your cat in a favorite window or pose, or to write 1-2 sentences about a memory with your cat. When displayed, the memorial will take you back to those moments.
A professional engraver can help you consider which options will look best on stone, and which ones can fit your price range. Or, as we said above, you can order an inexpensive memorial plaque online and add the quote.
7. Name and years of life etched on a small memorial rock
A more traditional memorial stone for your cat would include their name and years of life. This works well if you don’t have lots of space and want a small reminder of your cat. Even with few words, this marker will be powerful.
8. Painting or photograph set behind glass on a headstone
If you use glass or another preservation technique, you can embed a painting or photograph of your beloved cat on the headstone itself, keeping your memories full of bright colors. You’ll always be able to picture your cat in his or her most iconic pose.
Make sure that whatever way the painting or photograph is sealed, it is entirely watertight if intended for outdoor use. If you opt for a less watertight option, the stone can be kept indoors to preserve it and protect it from the sun.
If you don't want to do it yourself, you can find inexpensive pet memorial stones, like this paw-shaped stone, that lets you insert any color photo you'd like.
Pet Memorial Stone Ideas for a Dog
The love and loyalty of our pet dogs inspire equal love and loyalty from human owners. It’s no wonder that we all grieve for the loss of a dog. Here are some ways to make your dog’s memory live on in a pet memorial stone.
9. Seal important objects—bone, leash, collar—in lucite
Lucite is a great way to turn your dog's precious items into memorial markers. Favorite treats with a cute shape or a dangling charm from your dog’s collar can be valuable reminders of your time together.
You can also include a note containing details of their life, best set near the surface of the lucite so it’s visible and easy to read.
10. A stone bench in a favorite park or nature
This is a larger and more expensive option, but sometimes we owe it to our furry friends. It can be very powerful to place a stone bench in the park or natural area where you spent your time together on walks.
Placing a bench also allows other human-dog pairs to take a breather during a walk, deriving comfort without even knowing the backstory of the bench itself.
If you can't find a way to dedicate a bench to your pet at public park, you can purchase a personalized memorial bench and put it in your own backyard.
11. Headstone with their silhouette
One elegant way to display a pet memorial stone is to have a stylized silhouette of your dog etched into it.
This makes the stone both a piece of artwork as well as a way to commemorate your dog with a personalized grave marker.
12. Donated stone or brick to a local shelter or animal rescue
A creative way to memorialize your loyal dog is to donate to a shelter or animal rescue nearest to you or the one where your dog came from. Ask them if they have a wall of memories or a way to donate to help other animals in exchange for displaying your pet’s name or picture.
Some will even let you purchase a stone or brick in a path in your dog’s honor. This way, more dogs are helped by your generosity while also creating a little legacy for your pal.
Letting Your Pet’s Memory Live On
A memorial stone represents much more than just a marker of where a grave has been placed. Especially in the case of beloved fuzzy companions, memorial stones are about remembering an experience of love.
When you take the time to make or commission a personalized pet memorial stone, you’re giving yourself an opportunity for closure while also commemorating a beloved friend. Consider dedicating and placing your memorial stone with a little bit of ceremony, creating your pet’s funeral in whatever way is most meaningful to you.