Pet memorials: Ideas for celebrating our pets

The death of a beloved companion animal is never easy. For many, it can be an extremely traumatic time that brings grief that is both difficult to resolve and slow to fade. Often there is a profound desire to create some memento, some tribute to the loving relationship we shared with a pet that has passed. Over the years, pet memorials have become increasingly popular and diverse. Here we’ll take a look at a few of the many ways people have memorialized their beloved pets.

Urns

Private cremation allows pet owners to preserve their deceased pet’s ashes. Urns are available in almost as many sizes and varieties as there are pets. Materials vary—from the enduring and decorative (metal, wood, ceramic, or glass), to the eco-friendly and biodegradable. Many custom options are available, including those that allow owners to attach an image to the memorial. 

Garden Stones

Another traditional memorial is the garden stone, a marker similar to a headstone that can be custom-engraved with your pet’s name, paw print, or loving message. They can be used to mark a pet’s burial spot or as a decorative memorial among flowerbeds. 

Paw Prints

Paw print memorials provide owners with a keepsake memorial that is suitable for home display, as a reminder of the time they shared with a beloved pet. These stone or ceramic memorials are inexpensive and can be customized to include a loving message.

Plantable Bones

An emerging eco-friendly memorial option is that of plantable bones. Made from pet cremains or from other biodegradable materials, these bone-shaped memorials are embedded with seeds that will grow to produce a colorful flower patch in your garden.  

Jewelry

Another increasingly popular option for preserved cremains is jewelry. Some forms allow you to preserve a small amount of your pet’s cremains in a specially designed vessel in a decorative setting. Another more recent option is to have the ashes themselves compressed into a gemstone that can be displayed or worn.

Taxidermy

Possibly the most unusual memorial is to have your pet preserved through taxidermy. While this option is not for everyone (and some taxidermists will not process pets), some owners have found great comfort in the knowledge that their beloved animal is in some sense still present in their lives. 

Videos & Photo Memorials

Today’s digital technology allows virtually anyone with a computer and some basic video-editing software to create a slideshow or video memorial for a pet that has passed. For those who want a professional touch, there are services that will help you create the perfect video memorial from photo prints or digital images. Video memorials can be shared with friends or family or even through social media.

Perhaps the best memorial is the unconditional love our pets share with us every day—which we carry in our hearts forever. If you are having trouble coping with the loss of a pet, don’t carry the grief alone. PAWS Chicago offers these tips for coping with pet loss. Also, reach out to family and friends, or seek out a pet loss and grief support group or help line.


Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.

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