The loss of a beloved dog can be a painful and highly emotional time. Your home and heart may feel very empty when a doggy presence is missing. It takes time to recover from a loss. But having a keepsake which reminds you of your dog can be a lovely way to remember the joy you gained from their companionship.
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When you say goodbye
Having your dog put to sleep is always going to be a terribly sad occasion. But you can take comfort that they will be given a peaceful and dignified end. You may choose to be present, or to say your goodbyes earlier.
Many practices will offer you the option to have a paw-print taken of your dog in ink on paper. This can be a lovely way to remember your doggy friend, and they can be kept safe or displayed in a frame. This is a highly personal way to keep a little piece of them with you. Similarly, cutting a small piece of hair from their coat can be a lovely way to keep part of them with you always.
You may have some fond memories of your dog with their collar and lead on. Some owners like to keep these items as keepsakes. They can be tucked away somewhere safe, or depending on the size of your dog, collars can be wrapped around your dog’s old water bowl, or a plant pot. And then filled with succulents or a small plant. This is a lovely way to keep the memory of your dog alive and make you smile whenever you see it.
Your vets will understand that this is a very emotional time. But they will always be happy to discuss any items from your pet you would like to keep. It can be helpful to have these discussions earlier. So that it isn’t an additional thing to think about at a difficult time.
When your dog sadly passes over the rainbow bridge, there are a few options as to what happens next. If you choose to take your dog home and bury them, there is always the option to place something on top of the grave to remember them by: a plaque or a plant, for example.
If you chose to have your dog cremated individually, and the ashes returned to you, there are options as to how you can then use them in remembrance. You can of course keep the ashes, in an urn or casket. There are various beautiful, personalised urns available for a special keepsake.
The ashes can also be buried, with the same options above to mark the special place. Some containers you can choose to have your pet’s ashes returned in are biodegradable, perfect for burial. Many owners choose to scatter the ashes. Perhaps on a favourite walk or across a preferred swimming spot on a sunny day.
The ashes can also be themselves made into keepsakes. Various companies offer to turn ashes into jewellery, keepsakes and art. Some of these can also be made with your pet’s hair instead. Ashes or hair can be combined into various materials, such as glass, to make beautiful keepsakes, or kept whole in jewellery such as a locket.
If you are unsure whether you wish to have your dog cremated, or what your options are for how they are returned to you, do discuss this with your vet. They will be happy to help and can go through all the options with you. It is also a decision that doesn’t have to be made immediately: your pet can be kept safe for a few days whilst you decide, if it is too much to take in at the time.
There are plenty of circumstances in which you might not have, or wish to have, any physical reminders of your dog in the form of ashes, hair or similar. There are still plenty of options for keepsakes.
A very traditional way to remember a much-loved dog is a framed photo of them, likely one associated with a favourite walk, a perfect holiday, a pose reflecting their personality or a happy memory. There are plenty of places to find personalised frames, if that is what you choose.
There are now lots of hugely talented artists offering pet portraits, which can be a lovely tribute to a dog who has passed on. From small miniatures to large portraits, from caricatures to lifelike copies, there is something for everyone. Most artists are happy to base these creations from photos.
There are also lots of options for personalised keepsakes: cushions, prints, pebbles, statues, jewellery, lights, candles and many more. You could also plant a memory tree or plant, or even name a star after your pet.
A wonderful way to remember the good times
The passing of your dog is always going to be a very difficult and emotional time. As time goes by, a keepsake can be a comforting reminder of the special bond you shared. There are a huge range of options to suit all tastes, so everyone can find the lasting reminder of their pet that is most meaningful to them.