Saying goodbye to a beloved pet is a difficult and distressing time. Remembering the joy of their life, their unique character and part in the family can bring comfort for years to come. Being aware of the many ways you could remember them can help smooth your decision making at the end. In this article, we will look at some of the options available for remembrance. They are many and varied and, in considering all, you may find one that would suit you, your family and your pet best.
Photographs can be a wonderful memorial. Pictures of them doing something they love or in a favourite place, with a favourite person, toy or a companion. Informal snaps or using a professional photographer, you can easily get an image to cherish. A photobook or photo album can include a range of ages and activities and serve as a poignant reminder of their whole life. Websites, photographers and supermarkets offer photographic images on mugs, cushions, coasters and other objects around the home, or a photo can also be used to commission a painted portrait if you would like to commission one later. Videos can capture the pet’s joy in playing, sleeping in the sun or walking with family.
There are other ways to capture personal images. Clay paw print kits can be sourced from pet crematoria to be used at home. Pawprints can also be done with paper and ink. You can choose to have a paw print or nose inkblot taken when you say goodbye. Similarly, hair can be trimmed and kept as a remembrance, or to be included in a piece of jewellery – pet crematorium companies will often offer this service. A memory box can also be used to keep a collar, photographs, a favourite toy or bed. A simple box can be used for this purpose, or many suppliers provide purpose-made boxes.
You may decide to bury your pet at home, or use a pet crematorium after your pet has gone to sleep. When we take a pet to a pet crematorium, there are usually two options, communal or individual cremation. In communal pet cremation, pets are cremated with others and no ashes are returned, but they are usually scattered together. In individual cremation, they are cremated alone and their ashes are returned to you. Most pet crematoria have books and gardens of remembrance, so you can visit the garden and/or write a tribute in the book of remembrance in either case.
When we return the ashes , you can choose the receptacle to place then in, depending on how you would like to remember your pet. We can return the ashes in a biodegradable, decorated cardboard tube so you can scatter the ashes in a favourite place. Alternatively, you can choose an urn to store the ashes. These can be very attractive ornaments, you can often choose from an urn made of china, slate, pewter or wood. A wooden casket is another popular means of remembrance and storage of ashes, often with a nameplate. As well as these options, pet crematoria often offer wooden statue containers, pillows and cushions with ashes pockets, ornaments and jewellery containing ashes.
A written tribute can also be a good way to remember a beloved family member, perhaps on social media, in a card at home, at the vets, or in an animal magazine. Often your vet has known your pet for some time and a written tribute is a touching reminder of a special patient. For some people, a service of remembrance is an important part of grieving. It provides a space to talk about and celebrate memories and share loss with others. Children may understand this means of saying goodbye as they can share the grief of the rest of the family.
The presence of a memorial in the garden can also be a comforting and joyous help. For example, a plant or tree that you love or associate with your pet. A plant that flowers or blossoms at a particular time of year can remind you of their birthday. Some plant names resonate with pet names, such as Daisy or Poppy. Memorial plaques and headstones are also widely available. You can find plaques of all sizes and materials used, inside or outside the house. Taxidermy may be a more controversial remembrance, as it would not be suitable for all owners. However, there are many taxidermists who will accept a pet commission and consider the pet as an individual with a character to be exhibited in the project.
Finally, a donation to charity can be a fitting tribute to a loved pet. An animal charity perhaps or any other charity close to your heart. There are many animals in rescue who we cannot find a home for. Sponsoring one of them in the name of your pet can keep their memory alive.
There are myriad options for remembrance. Hopefully, some that suit you, your family and your pet, should you find yourself saying goodbye. Pets bring us so much joy when the pain eases, it is a pleasure to remember that.