Create a Memorial
Remembering the good times that you shared with that pet can help counteract the guilt and grief that come with its loss.
One way to help yourself focus on those positive memories is to develop a memorial to your pet -- a tribute or reminder that will actively help you access and concentrate on those recollections. Creating such a tribute can be an effective tool to help you cope with grief (though it may certainly produce a few tears in the process!), and it will also provide you with a loving reminder of that pet in the years to come.
There are many ways to create a memorial of your pet. Here are a few of the most popular:
- Post a tribute online. If you would like to post a memorial, poem or a prayer in their memory, please click here. To view our Rainbow Bridge Memorial Gallery, please click here.
- Develop a photo tribute. One way to do this is to choose an especially good photo of your pet and have it beautifully framed, and place it where it will bring you the most comfort. Another is to gather a collection of representative photos -- i.e., photos of your pet engaged in different activities, and at different ages -- and turn them into a collection or collage. For example, you can purchase mats with cutouts for as many as 20 photos (perhaps even more), and this provides a lovely way to display a collection. You can then put the matted collection in a nice frame, which will help preserve it.
- Have a portrait painted. Many pet portrait artists list their services in pet magazines; you may also find one in your local yellow pages. Such artists generally work from photos (it being a bit difficult to persuade a pet to "sit" for a portrait). All you need to do, therefore, is to find a good quality photo of your pet (preferably one that gives a good view of its face) and send or bring it to the artist. Many people consider a portrait that is an original work of art to be a better tribute to a pet than a photograph.
- Create a craft tribute. If you enjoy a particular type of art or craft, consider using that to memorialize your pet. You can also find services that will transfer your pet's photo onto a needlepoint canvas, or create a canvas from a photo. If you have a knack for painting ceramics or plaster, consider painting a statue that resembles your pet.
- Create a written tribute. A written tribute can take just about any form: A poem to or about your pet, a letter to your pet (or even "from" your pet to you), an account of your pet's life, or anything else that seems an effective way of expressing your feelings and memories. This could also be done as a family project, with each member contributing their own materials, which can then be assembled in a single volume that can be shared by all.
With today's printing technologies, you can even extend this option by having an actual bound book printed that includes both written tributes and photos. The easiest way to do this is to prepare the written tributes on a computer and print them off in the desired format (e.g., with your choice of fonts, formats, colors, etc.). Have your favorite photos scanned (or scan them yourself if you have a scanner). You can then create a simple layout of text and artwork using a basic word-processing program (such as MS Word), or print out the photos and text and assemble them by hand. Your book can then be reproduced and "bound" at your local print or copy shop.
- Plant a tree, special plant, memorial stone or marker in your own garden for "remembrance."
- Obtain a special urn for your pet's ashes. If you have chosen cremation for your pet, you may wish to keep its ashes in a decorate urn. Today, you can find a marvellous array of urns on the market. They come in fine woods, stained glass, gleaming metal, or even as carvings of specific breeds.
- Contribute to an animal welfare organisation.
- Contribute to the cure. If your pet died of a particular disease, there may be a research organisation that is seeking a cure. A contribution to that organisation may help other pets (and pet owners) in the future.
- Shop for a memorial item.
- Keep a journal to help you through the grieving process. Record your pet's life story in that journal.
- Build your own website in tribute to your pet.