Honoring the memory of a deceased dog is a loving way to help friends and family with the mourning process. For some, pet-loss bereavement can be as emotionally devastating as losing a human. Being mindful of and compassionate toward the owner's grief is a gesture she will long appreciate.
Ashes Pendant and Wind Chimes
While some pet parents can't bear daily reminders of their departed dogs, others are empowered by their ever-present spirit. Those who choose to cremate or bury their dogs can keep a tangible piece close to their hearts with a small pendant that holds ashes, crushed flowers, fur clippings or soil from a special resting place. Wind chimes, too, are a thoughtful remembrance. Their sounds can make the bereaved feel as if the dog's spirit gently floats on the breeze that moves them, offering a soothing peacefulness.
There's no shortage of opportunities to create a personalized memory keepsake. Some of the many heartfelt options include an urn sculpture, a photo collage, a portrait (on glass, canvas or as a clay-like photo sculpture), an engraved frame, an etched garden stone, a Christmas tree ornament and a scrapbook. Myriad online shops and brick-and-mortar stores offer extensive options for creating a unique keepsake. With personal photos so readily available on social media sites, it's relatively easy to surprise the recipient with a warmhearted gift.
Let your creativity run wild with thoughts of rejuvenation: Help the owner plant a tree or bush in her yard, scatter flower seeds over the dog's favorite outdoor spot or surround the pooch's photo with a small indoor garden where the grieving friend or family member can take solace. Also check the policies of local parks to see if a tree may be planted there for everyone to enjoy.
Donation to an Animal Organization
Saving another life can be one of the most cathartic experiences for someone in the throes of pet-loss grief. Whether public operation or private shelter, all animal-related organizations have ongoing needs, things they require to help keep their charges happy and healthy. Many groups have a wish list of specific items necessary for everyday operations and for their special-needs residents. Cash donations also help, and they allow the shelter's staff to determine how to best utilize your generosity, from veterinary costs to daily expenses. Consider giving locally so you're better able to track how your donation is used.
Based in Arizona, Lori Corrigan is a social media collaborator with more than 25 years of experience in research writing and editing. Her work has appeared in "Ladies' Home Journal," "Woman's Day" and "Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul," covering topics such as business, psychology, animal welfare and academia.