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How To Memorialize A Pet: 12 Heartfelt Ways

Written by: Kristin Hitchcock

Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by Dogster Team

man dog owner is grieving or sad or crying sitting on a bench

How To Memorialize A Pet: 12 Heartfelt Ways

Losing a beloved pet can be devastating. However, figuring out how to memorialize your pet (and what to do with their remains) afterward can make the whole experience even more stressful. There isn’t much information out there about how to handle a pet’s death, but they can affect us deeply.

Below, we’ve brainstormed many different ways you can memorialize your pet. Some of these are very simple, like donating to charity, while others are more complicated!

We’ll cover everything from holding a memorial service to cremation.

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The 12 Ways to Memorialize Your Pet

1. Memorial Service

A memorial service is a basic way to honor your pet and remember their life. This can be a formal gathering (much like a human’s memorial service), or it can be an informal gathering of friends and fellow pet lovers. Share family stories, heartwarming moments, and the ways your pet enriched your life.

You can do this very informally, such as going around the table and sharing stories. Alternatively, you can read poems, play slideshows, or even have a designated space for people to leave written memories. It can be as big or as small of an event as you want!

Picture frame with dog and candles at funeral
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

2. Donate to Charity

Consider donating to an animal shelter or rescue in your pet’s name. This honors your pet’s memory and assists other animals in need. Consider if there’s a cause that makes particular sense for your pet. For instance, if they were adopted, consider donating to the shelter you adopted them from.

Even if they weren’t a rescue, you can donate to breed-specific charities. Your local animal shelter and rescue is always a good place to start, too.

3. Community Involvement

Our communities rely on us to build them. Your pet’s death can be a great time to get involved with the community. For instance, if your dog particularly likes a specific park, you can consider organizing a donation drive for new toys or treats for the dog park. If your cat loves watching birds, you could donate towards birdhouses at a local park.

These acts help the whole community, but they do it in a way that honors your pet, too. These donations can also help keep your dog’s spirit alive in the community.

man in volunteer shirt petting a dog in a shelter
Image Credit: Max kegfire, Shutterstock

4. Memory Box

There often aren’t tons of options for memorializing pets. However, an easy way to collect all your memories of your dog into one place is via a memory box. For instance, you could add photos of your pet throughout life, their favorite toys, their collar and leash, handwritten memories, and a paw print impression.

Anything you have that reminds you of your pet can be added to the box.

5. Photo Frame

Another easy way to bring physical memories into your home is with a photo frame. You can use a special frame to display a picture of your pet. You can find some frames specifically designed for pet memorials, but you can also just use any frame that you think looks nice!

Consider adding a poem or short inscription about your pet next to the photo to make it clear that it’s a memorial.

woman lying on bed holding photo in frame and crying or sad looking at picture
Image Credit: Dikushin Dmitry, Shutterstock

6. Outdoor Space

Create a dedicated spot in your yard or garden to remember your pet. Plant a tree or flowering shrub in their memory. You can place a decorative stone with your pet’s name and dates or a small statue of their breed. Solar lights or a wind chime can add a touch of serenity to the space.

You can find many of these options online. There are several companies now that specialize in memorializing pets, and they often offer plenty of outdoor objects you could use to decorate the space.

7. Cremation

If you decide to get your dog cremated, there are many options for what to do with the ashes. New companies are popping up every day that offer different ways for pets to be cremated. Urns are a very common solution, coming in many different styles and materials. Some have space for a photo or inscriptions.

You can also find memorial jewelry that allows you to carry a small portion of your pet’s ashes with you in a locket.

dog was cremated along with a photo frame and collar
Image Credit: Claudia Luna Mtz, Shutterstock

8. Share Stories

Keeping their memory alive is also essential. Talk about your pet with friends and family members. While pets may only be with us for a short time, they often give us tons of memories to consider in this short period. These stories are exactly what you need to lean on after their death.

You can even take to social media, sharing photos and memories of your pets in the days after their death. Consider doing “12 Days of Remembrance” online, with a post and story for each day. If you don’t have a memorial service, this sort of virtual service is a great option, especially if you feel like you need to do more.

9. Write a Tribute

Putting your feelings into words can be a cathartic way to grieve. Write a poem, letter, or short story about your pet. You can even create a scrapbook to document their life, filling it with photos, vet records, report cards for obedience school (for dogs), or funny drawings your children made of them.

Again, you can do part of this process online, too. Share some of these stories and photos online to get support from others.

man working on laptop
Image Credit: bzak, Shutterstock

10. Commission Artwork

Have a portrait painted, sketched, or digitally rendered of your pet. There are many talented artists who specialize in pet portraits, and you can choose a style that reflects your pet’s personality. Hang this painting in your house as a memorial to your pet. Alternatively, you can get a smaller picture and use it as the cover of your scrapbook.

Either way, this special artwork can be a fantastic way to remember your pet.

11. Create a Memory Quilt

If you can quilt (or are willing to learn how), creating a memory quilt out of your dog’s favorite objects can be an aid during the grieving process. You can use a favorite bed, blanket, worn toys, and even pictures of your pet’s clothing (if you have them). In this way, you can turn their memory into a usable item that you can use regularly.

This quilt doesn’t have to be particularly large, either! If you only have a few items available, feel free to pad it out with commercial fabric or simply make a smaller quilt.

Sewing Machine
Image Credit: CJMM, Pixabay

12. Volunteer at a Shelter

Volunteering at a shelter is another solid option. Animal shelters and rescue organizations always need some extra help! If you choose an option that’s related to your pet, even better. Donating time is a great way to memorialize your pet, especially if you don’t have extra cash to donate.

Walking dogs, socializing cats, or helping with adoption events can be a way to honor your pet’s memory while helping animals in need find loving homes. Plus, there is nothing like volunteering that helps lift the spirits!

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Final Thoughts

There are many ways to memorialize your pet. You don’t have to do all of these, though; most pet owners pick one or two options. Don’t feel pressured to do all these things, or you’ll risk turning them into a to-do list instead of a heartfelt memorial.

Consider what’s within your means and what you want to do. Not everyone wants a memorial service, and that’s perfectly fine. Not everyone wants to share their grief on social media, and that’s fine too! There are as many ways to grieve as there are people, so you shouldn’t feel pressured to do certain things or act a certain way.

Featured Image Credit: Soloviova Liudmyla, Shutterstock

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