More than 40 years ago, the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories created National Pet Memorial Day, held on the second Sunday in September, to honor pets both past and present. Pets, in their many shapes, forms, and personalities, undoubtedly and significantly impact our lives and hearts. To celebrate these wonderful furry family members after their passing, we can pay tribute to them in a number of ways. Here are a few:
- Ashes. A number of sites offer an impressive array of urns, boxes, and other containers, including jewelry in which your pet’s remains can be stored and cherished.
- Photos. Take a particularly memorable or professional photo of your pet, have it framed, and place it where it will bring you comfort. Showcase a collection of representative photos (pets doing different activities, at different ages, at special locations, etc.) in a scrapbook, collage, or matted collection.
- Portrait. Get your pet’s portrait painted! Often pet portrait artists work off a good photograph, so this ties in nicely with #2.
- Get crafty. Ideas: transferring a pet’s photo onto a needlepoint canvas or painting ceramics.
- Write it down. You compose a poem, a letter (to your pet or “from” your pet), a chronicle of your pet’s life, or a written family project. The point is to express your feelings and memories of your furry companion.
- Cyberspace. You can post your tribute online. A number of sites offer this service for free too. On social media, you can share photos, written tributes, and your memories. Use the hashtag #NationalPetMemorialDay.
- Plant a tree or shrub. For example, Treegivers offers the service of planting a tree in your pet’s name. You can also plant a tree or special plant, like catnip, in a memorial garden or city park.
When Nala and Boudicca passed, I had their ashes placed in a nice box and set their collars on top of the boxes. I put Nala’s box in the living room overlooking her usual spot while I put Boudicca’s box on a shelf in my office overlooking her office supurrviser spot (her bed). I also have a bit of Queen B’s fur in a sachet.
Listed above are only a handful of ways you can remember your beloved pet. There are many more specialized ways of doing this. For example, my mother made a lovely memorial collage quilt composed of the bandannas the Schnauzers received after they were groomed. Be creative! For more information, check out tips from Pet Loss, the Dog People, UF’s Small Animal Hospital, and the Huffington Post.
How have you memorialized your pets? How do you celebrate and remember your pets past and present? Share in the comments!