Pets become important family members and closest friends for many owners. That is why it always hurts when our furry friends pass away. Owners can feel disoriented and depressed, misunderstood, and in massive pain. The death of a companion animal breaks even the most robust heart. All ranges of feelings are normal for everyone who experiences loss. The primary task for healing this trauma is to go through the grieving process, overcome painful feelings and eventually feel better. Fortunately, there are a few actions you can take to make the mourning process easier and faster. 

 

Creating a scrapbook to memorialize a pet

Create a scrapbook or photo album

Creating a digital or a physical scrapbook, a collage, or a photo album is the best therapy that will help you remember all the precious memories your pet gave you. The process of choosing a photo and writing its story in a scrapbook recalls grateful feelings to your animal partner for being next to you all these years. 

  • Create a digital photo album utilizing online websites such as Canva, Shutterfly, Snapfish, or others. These software platforms provide a lot of free tools to customize your album. You can print it in a physical memory book or download its digital version to share with other family members and friends. 
  • Create an online album of your departed pet’s photos on your page on social media. Share your happy memories with your online friends and get their support. 

 

A man writes a letter

Write a letter with your emotions and best memories

Imagine that you have a chance to say everything you feel and experience right to your departed pet. Use paper, a pen, and as much time as you need to express everything on your mind in a letter as if your pet will read it. According to Ullrich & Lutgendorf’s (2002) research, handwriting practice has many benefits for healing trauma, such as reducing intrusion and stopping ruminating. It can help you see bright moments despite the fact that it’s so hard to find them in such traumatic loss.

You can express your gratefulness to your fur friend, your regrets, and unspoken words. Write your thoughts down, put your letter in an envelope and put it away, burn or keep it. It’s up to you to decide what to do with the letter. The fact that you wrote it would give you relief in the mourning process. 

 

Drawing a cat portraits

Draw a painting of your pet

Choose one of your favorite photos of your pet and create beautiful art from it. Use any technique, paints or pencils, whatever you feel and want. You can gather all your family for this activity. The creating process by itself has a cathartic effect and gives relief as well as writing a letter even if the result isn’t perfect. You’ll get a long-lasting memorial to put on a wall in your home. 

In case you’re not ready to paint by yourself, you can find an artist or company that can convert the photo of your departed animal companion into a beautiful “show-worthy” painting.  

 

A tattoo to keep a pet memory alive

Get a tattoo

This method of memorializing pets is for those who never want to lose bright memories about their friendship. You can tattoo your pet’s portrait, its favorite toy, paw, or any symbol that will remind you about the pleasant time you were together. You can always choose one of the beautiful quotes about owning a pet or a fun phrase that characterizes the friendship with your beloved friend. No matter what you’ll select, the tattoo will always be with you and will nurture you with warm memories about your departed animal companion. 

 

A pet memorial garden

Plant a pet memorial garden

The easiest and beneficial way to memorialize your pet is to plant a tree in your backyard or in a local garden (if it’s not forbidden). You can create a beautiful rockery garden or flowerbed, decorating it with a statue or framed photo of your pet. The gardening process is very meditative and helps to avoid ruminating and depressive thoughts. Caring for plants and watching how they grow and blossom reduces the anxiety and pain from the grieving process. 

 

Pet memorial hiking

Go hiking 

Honor your pet by going to hike with all your family. Chose the path your pet loved, or find a new one she or he would have liked. Physical exercises are best to support healing a loss trauma. According to Ward & Stubbs’s (2017) research, exercising such as running, walking, dancing can reduce anxiety, depression, sleep problems, and other post-traumatic symptoms. Hiking will help your brain to overcome pain in the journey toward healing. 

 

The donation to honor a departed pet

Make a donation

You can donate your pet’s things or buy new ones to the shelters that always need blankets, bowls, food. Also, you can honor your pet by donating money to any shelter you like. If you took your pet from one, thank this shelter for the life-changing meeting with your exceptional departed friend. 

 

Volunteering to heal a pet loss trauma

Volunteer 

You can donate your time to helping shelters to honor your beloved animal companion. Assisting other animals in need will help you get a little distraction from your own pain. Many organizations need free hands, so your help will be useful at any stage — for managing administrative tasks, charity events, working with animals, and so on. 


The pet loss hurts now, but, believe us, it won’t last forever. After the grieving process, the relief will come and erase the pain, leaving only happy memories of the time you and your companion were together.