National Pet Memorial Day: 8 Thoughtful Ways to Honor Your Pet

Losing a pet is never easy. And everyone chooses to grieve and embrace the memories of their friend in different ways. Sunday, September 8, is National Pet Memorial Day, a day established by the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories, to honor our pets who have passed on. Here are a few unique ways to say goodbye to your pet and keep him close to your heart. 

National Pet Memorial Day

pet pod

Photo by Paw Pods

Paw Pods

Paw Pods are a new pet burial pod made of all-natural, biodegradable bamboo and rice husk. Completely eco-friendly, the pods and urns are designed in an array of sizes to hold the tiniest gerbil to the biggest dog.

“We believe that all good things come from the earth, and shall return there,” says Paw Pods managing partner Ben Riggan. Each pod or urn comes with a sympathy card and a seeded leaf that, when buried with your pet, will bloom beautiful annual wildflowers to serve as a living memorial.

Keep in mind that some cities have strict regulations about burying ashes. You should check with local city ordinances to make sure you can bury your pet's ashes in the yard.

Paw Pods, $49.95 to $149.95.

heart shaped pendant with paw print

Photo by Lilybud Designs

Pawprint Pendant

There are many places where you can have your pet’s paw or noseprint made into a pendant or ring. We loved the way this charm from Lilybud Designs zeroes in on the unique beauty and detail of your pet’s paw pad. Once you place the order, Lilybud Designs will send you a kit to take a print and then send back to them.

One note: This requires a little advance notice, so it's something to consider while your pet is still alive and with you. Then, you’ll have a beautiful symbol to keep him near to you always.

Lilybud Designs In My Heart Paw Print Charm With Chain, $85 on etsy.

painting of a cat

Artwork by BZTAT

Commission a Painting of Your Beloved Pet

Artists like Vicki “BZTAT” Boatright, who specialize in animal portraits and capturing the personality and spirit of their subject, can create a beautiful painting of your beloved pet so you’ll never feel like he’s far from you. BZTAT says she’s always grateful for the opportunity to paint a memorial piece.

"It’s an honor to paint a portrait that celebrates the relationship between a pet and its human, as the relationship continues even after a life may have passed,” she says.

Custom Pet Portrait Paintings by BZTAT, $225 to $795.

pet memorials in a garden

Photo by Peace Light

Glowing Garden Memorial

Peace Light is a solar-powered memorial light that collects energy during the day and casts a soft, warm glow at night. These glowing garden memorials are meaningful symbols of the love we feel for our departed pets. Peace Lights come in a variety of designs and can be engraved with an image of your pet and his name.

Peace Light, $245 to $299.

hydrangea plant

Photo by Pet Tree

Pet Tree Living Memorial

What better way to honor your pet than to plant a tree, bush or other plant in his memory? There are a variety of companies that specialize in memorial trees and plants, but Pet Tree has a unique way to create a tribute to your pet.

The company uses your pet’s ashes to provide nutrients to a young tree or shrub in their nursery. Their staff then nurtures the tree or bush until it’s fully rooted and has used the special nutrients your pet has contributed. Then, Pet Tree ships the tree to you and transplants it where it can grow big and strong — and remind you of your sweet furry friend every day.

Pet Tree, $99.95 and up.

floating lanterns on water

Credit: Floating Lantern Memorials

Floating Lantern Ceremony

Floating lantern ceremonies are a peaceful way to remember your pet. Dr. Tyler Carmack, who runs the Hampton Roads Veterinary Hospice in Virginia Beach, Va., is holding her organization’s first ever floating lantern ceremony on September 8. She expects at least 50 people to attend the free event where participants will write messages to their best friends on the lanterns. The group will read the pets’ names, float their lanterns across the water and spend a few moments of quiet reflection. “We wanted to do something special, and loved this idea because it’s nice, symbolic way to remember our pets.”

And, an Orlando, Fla., organization, Floating Lantern Memorials, recently began to help their local community of animal lovers come together to remember their beloved pets. At their first event in July, more than 100 people showed up to decorate lanterns and float them across Lake Baldwin in honor of their beloved pets.

Search online for an organization near you that might be holding a ceremony, or you can host your own by purchasing lanterns, writing messages on them to your pet, inviting your friends and family, and saying a few words. During a few moments of silence, float your lanterns in a pool, or get permission from the city to float in a pond or lake nearby.

website to remember your pet

Photo courtesy of Lap of Love

Lap of Love's Online Tribute

For some, sharing stories about their pet is a way to honor and to heal. Websites like Lap of Love’s Pet Memorial allow you to post photos, share stories and write a tribute to your late pet. Family and friends can “light a candle” and write a few comforting words or share a story about your pet as well. These interactive online tributes keep your pet’s memory alive, offer emotional support for your family and help in the grieving process.

Visit Lap of Love to post your free memorial or check with your vet or hospice to see if they have a pet memorial page.

tree memorial for pets

Photo by Spiritree

The Spiritree Living Memorial

The Spiritree is a biodegradable container that serves as an urnlike vessel for a pet’s cremated remains and as a tree-planting device.  

The two-piece container is made of an organic bottom shell and a chemically inert, weathering ceramic cover. The bottom shell holds your pet’s cremated remains. The porous ceramic cover protects its precious contents from dispersion while allowing water absorption.

The container’s central cavity holds a seed or a small tree seedling, and, when planted, the growing tree will feed itself from the decomposing biodegradable bottom shell and your pet’s calcium-rich ashes. As the tree grows, it breaks out of the ceramic container and becomes a living memorial to your pet.

Spiritree, $225.

Read more Vetstreet articles about grief and losing a pet.

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