Posted on March 01 2016
If you've been struggling with your feelings of grief after the loss of your pet, take heart: To hurt is a sign that you have truly loved. You can be sure your pet knew that you cared.
Still, the knowledge that your pet was loved and loved you in return does little to soothe the pain of loneliness. While you can't bring your furry companion back, there's no reason you can't keep your animal's memory alive in your thoughts. In case you need a little help, here are some fun ideas to make sure your pet's place in your life is remembered with love.
One of the best ways to remember the life of your pet is to create a scrapbook containing various mementos and anecdotes reminding you of all the things about your pet you don't want to forget. Items like registration papers, photographs, poems, fabric from your pet's favorite blanket, and the charm from your pet's collar are all wonderful ways to keep your pet's memory alive.
If you're the writer type, consider starting a blog to memorialize your pet and to comfort others who are facing loss. You can tell the story of your pet, from the time you brought it home to the day you laid it to rest. You can include memories of your pet that are both humorous and touching. You can also ask others who loved your pet to contribute to your blog as “guest” authors. You can add various poems, songs, and quotes to help you process your loss as well as comfort others who go through similar pain. Here are some touching quotes to get you started:
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” -Dr. Seuss
“Death ends a life, not a relationship.” -Jack Lemmon
“…Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.” -Kabil Gibran
“Heartbreak is life educating us.” -George Bernard Shaw
“It is a fearful thing to love what death can touch.” -Anonymous
“The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief. But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love.” -Hilary Stanton Zunin
“I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race; for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to live double that time? The misery of keeping a dog is his dying so soon. But, to be sure, if he lived for fifty years and then died, what would become of me?” -Sir Walter Scott
As you share the words of others who understand a similar pain to the one you're experiencing, your grief will find an outlet that will in turn help others.
"If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness." -Marjorie Garber
"There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
But when we are certain of sorrow in store
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear."
"The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of his master." - Ben Hur Lampman
An alternative to a scrapbook, a shadow box is a great way to display a few of your pet's favorite toys along with a picture.
A great way to help others remember your pet is to give some of its favorite belongings to another animal that might have been a companion to your pet. If your dog always raced to play with that Labrador at the park, consider giving the lab's owner one of your dog's favorite toys in memory of your dog. Chances are both the owner and the lab will be touched, and you may have made a friend to help you reminisce about your beloved pet.
If you don't feel ready to bring another pet home to replace your missing friend, a great alternative is to volunteer at a shelter. Not only will it help you process your loss, but you will also be making a difference in the lives of other animals as a tribute to your pet.
Sometimes your love for your pet is so great that you want to make sure she is never forgotten. A beautiful way to keep the memory of your pet with you is with a piece of stunning jewelry. A classic charm bracelet or pendant set designed with your pet's memory in mind is a great way to remind yourself of the friendship you and your pet shared.
No matter how much your heart aches now that your pet is gone, choosing to remember your pet will remind you of the love and companionship that blessed you through the life of your pet. May the appreciation for the gift of your pet's life carry you through the pain of its passing.
As Lacie Petitto says, “A pet is never truly forgotten until it is no longer remembered.”