Remembering Our Furry Friends

Written by
Kyle Sherman
Published on
April 27, 2022 at 8:00:00 AM PDT April 27, 2022 at 8:00:00 AM PDTth, April 27, 2022 at 8:00:00 AM PDT

“I ordered a granite headstone for my cat DeeDee from PlaqueMaker and was so pleased with the end product. I sent them a picture of her to apply to the stone and it looks so like her and is perfect. It made my heart a little less sad knowing I had a stone by her grave with her picture and engraving so as not to forget the dates, her burial site and how she looked after future years of weather and nature taking a toll on the site. I received the stone quickly and they were wonderful to work with. I highly recommend the PlaqueMaker and plan on using them in the future as needed.”–Schmidt

Anyone who considers a pet a beloved friend, companion or family member knows the intense pain that accompanies the loss of a pet.

Moira Anderson Allen, M.Ed. is the author of Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet. For nearly 30 years, her book has given comfort and support to parents and families of fur babies, offering information on everything from saying good-bye with memorials, tributes and other coping strategies to handling difficult care decisions to helping surviving pets –and people- cope with the loss of a missing companion. She offers tips and tools to understand and live with this kind of grief, including:

When my pet is sick, how do I make decisions about care?

Your veterinarian is the best judge of your pet’s physical condition; however, you are the best judge of the quality of your pet’s daily life. If a pet has a good appetite, responds to attention, seeks your company and participates in play or family life, consider medication, surgery, therapy and more to keep your pet strong. However, if a pet is in constant pain, undergoing difficult and stressful treatments that aren’t helping greatly, unresponsive to affection, unaware of its surroundings and uninterested in life, a caring pet owner will probably choose to end the beloved companion’s suffering. Evaluate your pet’s health honestly and unselfishly with your veterinarian. Prolonging a pet’s suffering in order to prevent your own ultimately helps neither of you. Nothing can make this decision an easy or painless one, but it is truly the final act of love that you can make for your pet.

When my pet dies, what do I do next?

First, you must choose how to handle its remains. Pet owners do have several options, including allowing your vet, clinic or shelter to conduct an appropriate disposal of remains. Home burial is a popular choice, enabling you to design your own funeral ceremony at little cost. Check local regulations on pet burials, though. For many, a pet cemetery provides a sense of dignity, security, and permanence. Owners appreciate the serene surroundings and care of the gravesite. Cemetery costs vary depending on the services you select, as well as upon the type of pet you have. Cremation is a less expensive option that allows you to handle your pet’s remains in a variety of ways: bury them (even in the city), scatter them in a favorite location, place them in a columbarium, or even keep them with you in a decorative urn.

Second, decide what to tell children and other family members about your pet’s passing. You are the best judge of how much information your children can handle about death and the loss of their pet. Don’t underestimate them, however. You may find that, by being honest with them about your pet’s loss, you may be able to address some fears and misperceptions they have about death.

Third, attend to your other pets. Pets observe every change in a household, and are bound to notice the absence of a companion. Pets often form strong attachments to one another, and the survivor of such a pair may seem to grieve for its companion. Cats grieve for dogs, and dogs for cats. You may need to give your surviving pets a lot of extra attention and love to help them through this period. In addition, the love of your surviving pets can be wonderfully healing for your own grief.

Should I hurt so much?

Intense grief over the loss of a pet is normal and natural. Over time, your pet becomes a significant and constant part of your life; a source of comfort, companionship, unconditional love and acceptance, fun and joy. So don’t be surprised if you feel devastated by the loss of such a relationship. You may feel guilt, denial, anger or depression – your feelings are valid. Remember, you are not alone: Thousands of pet owners have gone through the same feelings. Even though others might not understand the bond you have with your pet, the most important step you can take is to be honest about your feelings and begin to work through them. Do what helps you the most. Cry, scream, pound the floor, talk it out. Some find it helpful to express their feelings and memories in poems, stories or letters to their pet. Other strategies include rearranging your schedule to fill in the times you would have spent with your pet and preparing a personalized memorial.

Should I get a new pet right away?

Generally, the answer is no. One needs time to work through grief and loss before attempting to build a relationship with a new pet. Children in particular may feel that loving a new pet is “disloyal” to the previous pet. Consider bringing a new pet into your home and family when you are ready to move forward and build a new relationship, rather than looking backward and mourning your loss. When you are ready, select an animal with whom you can build another long, loving relationship -because this is what having a pet is all about!

Beautiful Engraved Pet Memorials from PlaqueMaker

Forever remember your beloved pet with our beautiful pet grave markers in black granite. Personalize these pet memorial headstones with your pet’s name, birth and death dates and special message. Customize with a photo of your furry friend or choose from a wide variety of clip art with our personalized cat memorials. We offer beautiful granite headstones, memorial crosses, and grave markers for indoor and outdoor use as well as photo frames for pet sympathy gifts.