As a dog lover, you know just how much your friends’ pets mean to them. So when a friend loses a dog, it can be difficult to watch her go through the many emotions associated with grief. How can you let her know that you understand the significance of the loss and honor the pet who has passed?
Look for a sympathy gift that captures both your friend’s personality and her dog’s.
“The starting point is to just understand what is out there and think about what would make them smile or help them grieve,” says Matthew Spencer, founder and CEO of Pet Memory Shop, an online resource for pet memorial supplies. “You know your friend best.”
Matthew recommends writing a sympathy card to let your friend know that you understand and respect her loss. Here are four other tangible gifts categories that say “I’m sorry for your loss.”
- Pet memorial garden stone: Available in a range of sizes and styles, a garden stone typically features a memorial quote and an image such as paw prints or a dog’s profile. Many pet memorial garden stones also can be customized with a dog’s name and picture. Here are a few of Dogster’s favorite pet memorial stones:
- River Rock Pet Memorial by 4Ever In My Heart; starts at $49.98
- No Longer By My Side – Dog Memorial Garden Stone by I Heart Dogs; $19.99.
- You Were More Than Just a Pet – Personalized Memorial Stone by Pawfect House; $26.99
- Pet memorial picture frame: Personalize these picture frames with the dog’s name and of course, a photo of the dog. Some versions include a space to add the dog’s collar or ID tag. Here are a few of our favorites:
- “Thanks for Everything” Pet Memorial Frame by Acorn; $26.95
- Pawprints Memorial Pet Tag Frame by Dily; $39.99
- Forever in My Heart Pet Memorial Frame by Rocky & Maggie’s; $12.99
Dogster tip: Find an artist who specializes in pet portraits and have him paint your friend’s dog to be featured inside the picture frame.
- Pet memorial keychain: For a lovely reminder your friend can carry with her wherever she goes, a pet keychain is a special sympathy gift. Personalize a version with their dog’s name and photo.
- Custom Pet Shaped Keychain as Memorial Gift for Loss of Pet by The Pet Pillow; $29.99
- Personalized Photo Engraved Keychain by Custom Pet Gifts; $23.50
- Layered Dog Remembrance Keychain With Heart by The Landlocked Dog; $24.00
- Pet memorial jewelry: Like a keychain, jewelry reminders your friend of her beloved dog at all times. Engrave a bracelet or necklace with the dog’s name or feature a charm with the dog’s likeness. Even rings can be personalized. Both masculine and feminine styles are available.
- Pawfect Pet Name Ring Stack by Slate & Tell; $135
- Pet Face Necklace by PupRing; $33.70
- Prints of Love Expandable Bangle Bracelet by Pet Memory Shop; $45.99
If tangible gifts aren’t for your friend, just being present may mean more to her than anything else, says Coleen Ellis, CT, CPLP, founder of Two Hearts Pet Loss Center, a resource for grieving pet parents. She recommends giving your friend “the gift to ‘just be’ and listen to [their] shattered heart’s stories.”
Actively listen, lean in a bit more and say, ‘Tell me more,’” Coleen adds. “‘Tell me all about your precious pet, and how you’re doing.’”
Matthew from Pet Memory Shop agrees. “Just show love and certainly don’t underestimate the potential love/connection that your friend and her animal companion have made over the years.”