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Bailey the dog had been a part of Emily Hall's life for 13 years, and when the pooch passed away last month, Hall wanted to find a way to keep Bailey's presence in her life.
When her childhood pets crossed the Rainbow Bridge, Hall had helped her parents plant trees in their yard as memorials. But that wasn't going to work as a remembrance for Bailey, as her life was more mobile and she needed something that could move with her.
Hall isn't alone in this. If you're a longtime pet owner, chances are good that you've experienced the love and loss of a few beloved animals — and, chances are, your love for those pets who have passed doesn't go away once they're gone. If you're more or less settled somewhere with ample space, you might choose to bury your pets (or their ashes) on your property, like Dr. Marty Becker does at Almost Heaven Ranch. Even without much space, you can opt to plant a tree or a bush in your pet's honor — there's something really touching about creating a living memorial to your four-legged friend in your back yard.
But what if you don't anticipate living in your current abode forever? There are a few ways you can still honor your pet with a live plant without the worry of leaving it behind when you move.
Hall not only wanted to memorialize Bailey in a way that she could take with her to a new home; she also wanted to do something really meaningful. "Cucumbers came immediately to mind," Hall says. "Bailey just loved cucumbers, and whenever I'd put them on my salad, she'd be right at my side, ready to chow down. I tried other [dog-safe] veggies, like carrots, but she turned her nose up at them. Cucumbers were her thing."
So, Hall picked up an EarthBox Container Gardening System, along with some cucumber seeds and a wind flower to decorate the container garden. "I wanted something I could keep with me, for one thing," says Hall, "but something else that made cucumbers a good fit is that they take some work. You can't just plant them and walk away, so, in a way, I feel like I'm still caring for Bailey — like there's still a piece of her there.
Who says you've got to plant something outdoors? There are lots of long-living house plants that you could care for inside your current home as well any future home you might occupy — just be sure to choose one that's safe for any pets you still have in your home. Many succulents make a good choice for those who don't have the greenest thumb around, and you might consider customizing the pot in a way that reminds you of a special memory involving your pet — maybe get one in the color of his collar, or one that reminds you of his favorite toy.
There's something sad about the idea of planting a tree in your yard and then leaving it behind forever when you move. But planting a tree in a national forest in that pet's memory through an organization like the Arbor Day Foundation? That has a much more positive feel. True, you won't be able to watch the tree grow from your kitchen window, but you can always visit the forest in which the tree (or trees) have been planted.
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