September 16, 2015 Pets and Family

Honoring the Memory of Your Pet

Honoring the Memory of Your Pet

The loss of pet can be emotionally wrenching. Pets that support you through critical life milestones such as marriage and the birth of a child, a serious illness, or the death of a close family member are especially difficult losses. Grieving comes in many forms as does the celebration and remembrance of a pet’s life. Over the years I have had the opportunity to witness, and sometimes participate in, several lovely and touching memorial services for a pet. Here are some ideas I have collected from pet owners.

Support Groups and Hotlines

There are many sources for support after the loss of a pet. The Animal Medical Center sponsors a pet loss support group. If you are not in our neighborhood, your veterinarian may be able to suggest pet loss resources or you can check this list of pet loss hotlines.

Parents may be especially concerned about children after the loss of a beloved pet. Picture books about the rainbow bridge and dog heaven may be helpful, and for some other resources in different languages about grieving you can check previous a blog post about children and pet loss.

Create a Memory

Since your phone and tablet are full of photos of your pet, consider creating artwork or a scrapbook from those digital files. Be sure your children have plenty of art supplies to paint and draw pictures of their pet. Kits are readily available to create paw prints which can become an everyday memento or a special holiday ornament.

Mourning Jewelry

During Victorian times, the loss of a beloved family member was marked with special jewelry. Lockets with miniature portraits, rings with secret compartments for a lock of hair, colored gemstone broaches and even necklaces and bracelets woven from the hair of the deceased were extremely popular. The concept of mourning jewelry has been reinvented with today’s pet family and current fashion in mind. Pet ashes can be transformed into rings, pendants and even diamonds.


I am often asked about the possibility of cloning a pet. Technology does exist to clone dogs and cats. In my neighborhood in New York City, I occasionally see three very similar dogs strutting up the avenue. These dogs are clones of a beloved pet. Some argue cloning can reproduce a dog or cat with an appearance similar to the original pet, but it is the shared experiences that forge the bond between human and animal, making the pet an indispensable family member.

Remember by Giving

Perhaps one of the best methods of memorializing your pet is to give to a charity in your pet’s name. The gifts could support research into the disease that claimed your pet’s life. Animal shelters or rescue groups providing care to pets waiting for a forever home are always in need. If you can’t give money, then give of your time or talent. Helping an animal in need may be just what your broken heart needs.

Tags: amcny, animal medical center, animals, ann hohenhaus, cats, dogs, grief, NYC, pet loss, pets, support group, veterinary,

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