There’s no heartbreak quite like that of losing a beloved best furry friend. most pet parents equate the love of their dog to that of their children. Our dogs are, after all, a part of the family.
Although everyone grieves differently, in their own time and in their own way, many dog moms and dads find comfort in creating a special memorial in honor and remembrance of their lost love.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to cherish those special memories for years to come:
1. Create a Shadowbox Memorial
A shadowbox is so much more than a simple framed photo. Though they look like a picture frame at first glance, shadowbox frames are deep enough to hold photos along with other special items.
Start with a favorite photograph as your backdrop and add your dog’s collar or tags, a well-worn bandana, a favorite toy, or any other three dimensional object that reminds you of your furriest family member. Arrange the items into a collage. Then, hang the shadowbox on the wall to both preserve these items and serve as a special memorial.
2. Create a Memory Scrapbook
When you’re missing your loved one, find comfort in flipping through a special memory book created just for him or her. Include photos, stories, poems, and detailed memories of your time together.
You might also consider including a few blank pages at the end of the scrapbook to use as a diary, or to write letters to your lost love. No matter what your beliefs, it can be therapeutic to jot down your thoughts when you’re missing the four-legged love of your life.
3. Repurpose the Dog Bed or Blanket into a Comfort Pillow
One of the most difficult times after the loss of a pet is the quiet darkness of night, especially for pet parents who are used to sharing the bed with their dog. Although a pillow could never, ever, replace the real thing, it can provide something to cuddle with or cry into when you’re feeling lonely.
Use the fabric from your dog’s bed or a favorite blanket to make a special pillow. If necessary, wash the fabric first. Then, cut it into 12” x 12” squares. Sew around all four edges, leaving an opening large enough for stuffing the pillow, about 4”-6” along one edge.
You can stuff your comfort pillow with a pre-made pillow form, or, if your dog had lots of stuffed toys, hang on to a favorite or two, then use the stuffing from the rest to fill your pillow, making it even more special by using materials that kept your pup happy in life. After the pillow is sufficiently stuffed, hand-sew the small opening closed.
4. Turn Your Dog’s Tags Into a Keychain
Did your dog love going for rides in the car? Did the jingle of your car keys bring him bounding to the door? Cherish those special memories by turning your dog’s identification and license tags into a keychain.
This can be as simple as simply transferring the tags from his collar to your current keychain using the holes already included in the tags. Or, make it more special by adding a sweet bone shaped charm, beads, or ribbon. Be creative! It’s a simple and inexpensive way to honor your lost love while keeping her close to your heart.
5. Plant a Tree in Their Honor
Did your dog have a favorite place to lay in the sun? Did she always return to the same spot to dig? Is there an area of your backyard that you most commonly played together?
Use that special spot in the yard to plant a tree in your beloved dog’s honor. After planting the tree, surround the base with mulch and add a garden stone or statue in memory of your pup. When the tree grows tall enough to provide shade, place a stone bench or seating area below, making it a special place to reflect on the life you shared together.
6. Sponsor Another Dog in Need
Because we all grieve differently, it may be some time before you’re ready to open your heart and home to another dog. But, you can still pay your dog’s love forward by helping another dog in need to find a loving home. Here are some ways to help:
– Make a visit to your favorite shelter or rescue. Look for a dog that looks similar to your lost love, has a similar personality, or just reminds you of him in some unexplained way, and pre-pay the adoption fee. You can ask the shelter to keep it a surprise so that he isn’t adopted simply because he’s free, but is chosen with love.
– Donate food, supplies, or your time to your favorite shelter or rescue. Because most shelters depend on donations to do their amazing work, your help means more dogs can be saved.
– When you’re ready, adopt another love into your life. When you adopt from a shelter, you’re saving two lives – the dog you adopt, and the one that takes his place in the shelter. Your dog would absolutely want you to love again.
Please share your own ideas for creating a special memorial to a lost four-legged love in a comment below.