5 Simple Ways to Celebrate Your Dog’s Life

Because it’s heartbreaking when a beloved pet dies.

Remember all the good times you had with your best friend. By: Andrew Bardwell

Pip followed me everywhere when he was alive. It was like little parade processions throughout the house — that pretty much summed up my life as a work-at-home dog mom.

A dog’s love is like the sunrise every morning. You don’t have to think about it or wonder if it’s there.

A dog is a big part of your life. He walks with you, travels with you, sleeps with you and digs his way into your heart with seemingly no effort. And it’s heartbreaking when he dies. So I encourage you to celebrate your dog’s life.

Need inspiration? Here are some simple yet meaningful ways to keep your dog’s love alive, even after his death.

Create a Memorial

Whether you’ve chosen burial or cremation, you can create a beautiful memorial space to honor your beloved pet.

Outdoors, a beautiful, shady spot is the perfect place. We buried Pip, wrapped in his Scooby-Doo blankets, underneath the maple tree in our backyard. We plan to hang a red, bone-shaped wooden sign, emblazoned with PIP, from a low branch.

If you want to remember your pet in a special way, add some personal touches, such as:

  • Shade-friendly plants
  • Tail-waggin’ decorations
  • A comfortable bench — it’s OK to sit there and cry, smile or laugh at his antics, or even just sit and reflect

Pretty urns can be a lovely focal point for an indoor memorial. Consider a central location or perhaps a more private spot, such as your bedroom or home office.

Start by choosing a favorite photo to accompany the urn and highlight it in a unique frame. Or begin with an ordinary frame and personalize it by painting it or adorning it with sweet little dog, bone and heart shapes from a craft store. Place your dog’s favorite toy beside the urn to remember the good times you shared.

If your dog donned a special collar, wrap it around the top of the urn for a personal little paw print. Or think about adding ribbons instead and tie a crafty name tag into the ribbons.

Paw Print Infinity 14K gold pendant from Perfect Memorials

Honor Your Pet’s Memory

Perfect Memorials offers a variety of high-quality, thoughtful memorials for a deceased pet. Each piece is customizable or engravable for a one-of-a-kind memorial.

We love their Paw Print Infinity pendant (affiliate link), which you can personalize by tucking in a small portion of cremated remains or a lock of hair. You can engrave your pet’s name on the jewelry.

Consider having a party to celebrate your pet’s life. By: Alan Levine

Donate to Dog Rescues

We adopted Pip, a purebred Bichon Frise, from a family who could no longer keep him due to severe allergies. While Pip was still just a young pup, we were bitten by the Bichon bug and became a foster family for the Bichon Frise Club of America Charitable Trust.

Animal rescues are always in need of supplies, helping hands and monetary donations, so we are also active at our local shelter. We’ve fostered a few dogs and many cats.

When Pip died, I gathered up his bed, his toys, leftover food, winter wear and rain gear — he had a fun plaid raincoat — and took it all to the local shelter. The tears shed on the journey to and from felt like Pip was giving me the OK.

Make a Memory Scrapbook or More

Gather your family around and go through your dog pictures. Let each person select a favorite and add captions or stickers. Maybe let it be a time line — puppyhood to big in the blink of a dog walk.

If you’re like me, you no doubt have zillions of dog pictures and few scrapbooks. Well, grab some more scrapbooks and fill ’em up. Simply going through the process is healing.

Share on Social Media

Social media is an excellent outreach network. Post share-worthy snippets:

  • Share a big shout-out for dog rescue. Add rescue and shelter links related to your dog’s breed or multi-breed rescues.
  • Post a handy checklist of common symptoms or easily missed symptoms.
  • Set up a special Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest page to honor your dog. Share funny stories and memorable moments — relive that wonderful tale of how you first met your canine companion.
  • Post links to local and national fundraising events.

Celebrate Life

Celebrating in no way minimizes your grief. This is a time to share memorable stories and celebrate the loyal, unconditional love for your dog. Have a part — keep it small or invite all who knew and loved your dog.

Bake a dog-themed cake or cupcakes, make bone-shaped cookies or serve people-friendly puppy chow snack mix. This is also a perfect time to share your memory book. And if you just ache for some mushy dog love, ask guests to bring their friendly, well-behaved dogs. Consider making some DIY treats, too.

The most important thing to remember when honoring your beloved dog’s memory is to keep it simple and do what comes naturally. It doesn’t need to be spectacular. It’s simply about love.

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