Keeping the Memories Alive: Memorialize your Pet or Horse

What is the best way to memorialize your pet or horse? What does that even mean…to memorialize someone or something? 

Memorialize your pet or horse

To memorialize is to preserve the memories you have for someone special in your life.  For many people that could be a family member or friend but in today’s world many times it’s our best furry friend (BFF).  So what are some ways to best remember and celebrate your pet’s life? How would you memorialize your pet or horse when that time comes?

Grief is different for everyone

Grief can be completely debilitating to the person or persons who is left behind.  When someone we know and love passes away we can feel as if our world is completely stopped.  Pets and our horse partners are our family and in some cases an only companion. So when they pass on it can be devastating. 

You can never know how you will react when it happens. For some it is described as a “walking zombie” and to others it can be shock or anger.  There is no true path of one’s pain. Yes, we have all heard of the stages of grief but some of that is changing in respect to each stage, the order and the time frame of stage of grief.  Yes it’s a process but a different process and journey for each individual person affected.  

Embracing the memories and relationship

So why does grief have to focus on the negative?  Why not focus on the life that we were blessed to have in our lives?  The relationship with your pet or horse that brought beautiful memories and an unconditional love, will always be dear to your heart and should be full of positivity.  Yes of course we will miss them, the void of their presence is the hardest part. But grief is never ending— it’s a process that is ever changing with time that passes. 

Yes, you will shed tears but you will also share stories of good times and a love shared. We are the lucky ones to have had such beauty in a relationship between a pet and a human.  So shouldn’t someone be honored and memorialized with dignity and love in a way that mean something special to you and your family?

How do you want your pet or horse remembered?

Have you thought about your own death and how you want people to remember you?  Maybe you have even gone so far as sitting down with an advisor to plan your will/trust and aftercare plan.  So what about your BFF? How would you want to remember your furry friend? What way would best encompass your memories with them? 

  • Would it be a photo, painting or urn showcased in your home?
  • Would a special piece of jewelry worn daily with their name or even cremains in a keepsake hung on your rearview mirror be something unique? 
  • Or a plaque or garden stone in memory of them in their favorite place in the yard be the perfect memorial?

There is no right or wrong answer. The memorial is extremely personal and something that takes time to decide.  My recommendation is to start thinking now, when you are clear headed and not struck with grief, of what would be the perfect memorialization for your beloved pet.

Saying Goodbye to Toby and keeping his memory alive

I recently helped a client, Tammy, who lost her very special boy Toby.  Like so many clients, Tammy was traumatized by the decision not only to put her sweet boy down; but with the void of Toby gone and how it affected not only her day to day but her older parent’s daily life as well.  Tammy told me stories of Toby and sweet memories of how much he loved Christmas. Yes, the holiday…and about the day this summer, when he was riding in the car to the vet’s office. He had no idea that would be the last car ride. It was his final day of his physical body on this earth. 

I encouraged her to take her time and not rush

Tammy is an amazing lady and through this excruciating experience, she was having a hard time deciding on how she would want to memorialize Toby. Would it be a paw print or urn? What kind of urn? Would it have engraving or a photo…and what would the engraving say? What is the perfect thing to say when your BFF passes away?  Is there anything to say…really? I encouraged her to take her time and not to rush. When it was time it would come to her and she would know exactly what and how she would honor her sweet boy’s life. About 3 months after Toby’s passing, I got a text…

“Hi Christine, I emailed you in regards to Toby’s urn.  I am ready…”

And ready she was…the email contained a photo, urn choice, beautiful words she had written for an engraving and specific instructions on where and how she wanted it to look.  So specific in fact, she sent it in a powerpoint! I was overjoyed and my heart so happy that she had gotten to a point where it was clear to her exactly how she wanted to memorialize Toby and it couldn’t be more perfect…because she took the time and it was from a place of love and beautiful memories.

Ideas of Memorials:

New Clay Paw Prints made at Eden Memorial Pet Care
  • Urns with photo and engravings of a special saying, quote, passage or memory
  • Garden Stone or name placard for your yard “In Memory of…”
  • Scattering cremains in a place that is special to you and your beloved pet — beach, lake, park, hiking trail
  • Clay paw print
  • A painting or pet portrait – even painted with some cremains mixed in paint
  • Jewelry with keepsake of cremains inside jewelry
  • Jewelry with an engraving that is unique to your pet
  • Memory Box filled with keepsakes — color, id tags, favorite toy (Shadow box hung on the wall is also popular)
  • Glass jewelry, art or paperweight made with a sprinkle of cremains
  • Holding a Pet Memorial Ceremony (great for children and closure)
  • Writing a poem, story or posting a memorial online via social media or blog
  • Making a photo memory book
  • Creating a video slide show of photos

Special memorials for horses

Tailspin Bracelets made with your horse’s hair.
  • Jewelry or key tag using a lock of mane, forelock or tail hair
  • Small bust of horse’s head
  • Clay hoof “paw” print
  • Urn with horse’s picture
Urn with horse’s picture

Memorialization is personal

As you can see, there are just so many ways to memorialize your pet or horse friend.  The ideas above are just a start and some of the most common I have seen in my experience.  The point is that it really is a very personal decision and one that takes time. And because it takes time, think about it now when your pet or horse partner is here with you.  It’s not about feeling guilty of thinking of something so sad or being morbid…it’s about being smart and thoughtful while you are in a good headspace to make decisions without a heavy heart. 

In any case, any of the above ways of memorialization and many more are things we can help you with when you are ready. Have questions or need ideas? Let us know. Trust me when I say…there is nothing we haven’t dealt with in the last 16+  years of business that was that off the wall. We are constantly amazed at the incredible and beautiful ways people come up with when it comes to memorializing their pet. So if you have some ideas, please share! We would love to hear.

More ideas to share

Until next time…

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Photo credit: Clay Paw Print Eden Memorial Pet Care; Horse hair jewelry: Tailspin Bracelets; Animal photos: Sharon Jantzen Photos

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