Hero Rescue Dogs of 9/11/01-We Remember-We Honor Them
How to Honor and Remember a Dog After Death
Mourning your dog after death is one of the most difficult times in life. To get through this difficult time, it can help to honor and remember your dog. Honoring your dog’s life is a deeply personal experience. However, it can help to share the experience of remembering and honoring your dog’s life with close friends, family members, neighbors, dogs, and others who were close to your dog. You can honor your dog through a memorial service, by installing physical memorials and by creating mementos that remind you of their spirit.
Honoring your Dog with a Memorial Service
Choose the type of memorial you want.Decide whether you want a private memorial, a public memorial or a family memorial service. You could honor your dog in private by lighting a candle and reflecting on their life. If you want a more public celebration of their life, you could host an afternoon memorial service with friends, family, neighbors, and dog friends. If you want something more intimate, you could gather your immediate family for a memorial service.
- You could also host different types of memorial service, such as a private memorial and then a more public memorial with family and friends.
Choose a location for the memorial service.Decide where you want to hold the memorial service such as a backyard, favorite park, or pet cemetery. If you are planning a private memorial, this will be easy. You can choose a place (e.g., park, tree, backyard) that your dog loved and privately honor your dog in this location. If you are planning a family memorial, you might consider hosting the event in your backyard or family home. If you are hosting a public service, consider choosing a location that is convenient for your guests.
- Choose a location that is convenient for your guests such as a neighborhood park or a local dog park. If most of your guests live in one neighborhood, choose a park or a community center in this neighborhood.
Set a date and time for the service.Holding a memorial service can be an important part of grieving for your furry friend, so don’t wait too long after your dog’s death to hold the service. At the same time, you want to set a date and time that is likely to work for everyone attending. You might choose an afternoon memorial on the weekend.
Plan the event.Plan the details of the service, food, and hospitality at the memorial service. Consider what you want to have in the service such as poetry, short stories about your dog’s life, or spiritual reflections. If you would like to serve food and drinks at the event, consider whether you want to have it catered or whether you will make the food yourself. When planning the event, think about what would help you remember and honor your dog.
Invite your friends and family to the memorial.Tell your friends and family that you are in a time of grieving and would appreciate their support. You could phone or email your friends and family to tell them about the event or send an invitation card in the mail.
- In the invitation, you could say: “I am in a time of mourning for my dog Sam (insert your dog’s name). It has been a really tough time for me and my family. We are holding a memorial service to honor his life on Sunday, 2pm at the park. Please join us if you are able.”
- If you are holding a private memorial, you can skip this step.
Integrate charity into your memorial service.You could tell your guests that instead of giving gifts at the service, they can donate to a local animal rescue or shelter. You could have a dog bowl at the front of the service with instructions for cash or other donations to local animal shelters. You could also have a basket at the service where you and your guests could donate used animal toys to dogs in need.
Installing a Memorial to Honor and Remember a Dog
Install a garden stone.Choose a garden stone and place it in your garden to remember your dog. If your dog had a favorite area of the garden, consider placing the stone there. You could either choose a natural stone and simply place it in a specific part of the garden as a memorial, or you could get a stone engraved with your dog’s name and a poem or a short saying.
- You can purchased engraved garden stones online or at your garden center. You can get the text personalized to properly remember your dog.
Plant a tree in honor of your dog.Consider planting a tree in honor of your dog. If there is a place in the backyard that you associate with your dog, consider planting a tree in that location. When deciding where to plant the tree, you should also consider the size of the tree and how it will influence the rest of the garden in terms of space and shade.
Install a flower planter in your home.Create a unique flower planter to honor your dog. A flower planter will bring life into your home at a time of mourning and can be personalized to honor your dog. If you do not have room in your backyard but like the idea of a living memorial, this option may be right for you. You could make a plaque with your dog’s name and attach it to the planter or use your dog’s food and water bowls to make the planter.
Creating Mementos to Remember Your Dog
Create a photo collage with your whole family.Invite family members or friends to a photo collage party and ask each of them to bring a few photos of your dog. The photos should be analog, printed photographs so you can cut and paste them into a collage. Reflecting on the life of your dog, you can create a group collage that brings together your various memories.
Put together a memory box for your dog.You can use a box frame or a real box and fill it with some of your dog’s favorite things. Some things you could put into the box include your dog’s:
- Favorite toy(s)
- ID tag
- Pictures of your dog’s favorite places
Add your dog tag to your keychain.Your dog tag was probably one of the first items you purchased for your dog, so it has been around for the whole journey. You can attach it to your keychain and remember your dog every time you open or close a door.
Make a leash bracelet.If you used a leather dog leash and no longer need it, you could transform it into a leash bracelet. You could take the leash to a leather shop and ask them to make you a customized leash to honor your dog. If you have experience working with leather, you could also consider making a DIY version yourself.
Get a tattoo to honor your dog.If you want to remember your dog forever, you may consider designing a unique tattoo to honor your dog’s life. However, you should remember that tattoos are meant to last a lifetime and can be very difficult to remove. That said, if you like tattoos and want to remember your dog, you might consider getting a tattoo to honor their life.
- Get a tattoo of your dog’s paw print. Take their print of your dog’s paw with some child’s ink and take it to the tattoo artist to copy.
- Get a tattoo of your dog’s face. Ask an artist or friend to draw your dog’s face and bring it to the tattoo artist to copy or integrate into a design.
- Get a tattoo of your dog’s favorite place. If you and your dog had a favorite place such as a park or a big tree on a hill, you could ask the tattoo artist to make a tattoo design of this favorite place.
- If this is your first tattoo, you should consider whether you want something that will be on your body forever as well as where to place it.
- If you are thinking about what kind of dog tattoo to get, you should consider aspects of tattoo design
Choose or design a special piece of jewelry.You may also consider buying or designing a piece of jewelry to help you remember your dog. You could choose a pendant with a paw and have it engraved with your dog’s name. Or, you could pay a specialty jewelry company to preserve some of your dog’s ashes in a gemstone or glass pendant to wear on a necklace, bracelet, or ring.
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