Nothing can prepare you for the day you lose your beloved pet. Whether they pass away at home or you have to visit the veterinarian to put them down, the impact of that day will likely stay with you for the rest of your life.
Yet, it doesn't have to be 100% negative. You'll never be able to replace your pet's personality and presence, but you can honor them in ways that will keep their memory vibrantly alive. As Pet Remembrance Day comes and goes on July 5, take a moment to hug your pet if they're still alive or think about how you can pay your respects when they're gone.
Engrave something with their paw print
Some veterinarians offer you the option to place your pet's paw in some clay so that you have a unique memento after your pet passes away. You can also do it yourself ahead of time, perhaps decorating it or writing something around the edges.
Make a movie
Looking back at all the photos and videos you have of your pet will almost certainly bring tears to your eyes, but compiling them into a video can do your mind some good. When you finish this project, you'll have something you can watch again and again whenever you find yourself missing your pet.
Create a piece of jewelry
Visit the craft store to find some materials to make a necklace band. Then place a picture of your pet in a locket so that you can constantly hold your furry friend close to your heart.
Hold a funeral or build a burial site
A funeral ceremony can provide a sense of closure for the end of this chapter in your life. Perhaps you or someone else can say some kind words or talk about fond memories. If you decide to bury your pet in your yard, make sure you dig a hole deep enough to prevent other animals from digging up the remains. Then you can make a headstone or another marker to memorialize your lost loved one.
Keeping something of theirs
Donate old food and treats if you can, but hang on to your pet's favorite stuffed animal, toy, or blanket. These can be small but special items that you'll treasure forever.
Painted pet portrait
You don't need to hire a renowned artist to paint your pet. You can find plenty of websites that will turn your favorite photo into a portrait you can hang on your wall.
Donate to a charity that is related to how your pet died
You wouldn't wish this loss on your worst enemy, so you definitely wouldn't want fellow pet owners to suffer the same way you have. Consider donating time or money to a charity that helps animals who are struggling the same way your pet did at the end, and perhaps you can make a lasting difference in the lives of others.
The hope is that you won't need to consult this list until many, many years from now, but when it is time to say goodbye, know that there are some small positives you can take from the incredible grief associated with losing your furry friend.
Have a question about pet health? Want to become the best possible pet parent? Find helpful tips, reminders, and insight to giving your furry friend the best possible care with For Pet's Sake! Learn more at drdevonsmith.com.