Although humans have many rituals for mourning the loss of a loved one, there are no prescribed rituals for mourning the death of a pet. Some pet owners hold funerals, burials, or cremations. Others put framed photos in a place of honor or donate to a favorite animal charity. But some take things to a whole other level in their search for a memorable tribute. From the sort of unusual to the really eccentric, here are 10 out-of-the-box ways that pet owners have memorialized the loss of a dog.
1. Make jewelry from a tooth. There are several jewelers who will make a mold from your dog’s tooth and then create a silver replica that can be worn on a necklace or bracelet. Other crafters make pendants of a tooth set into resin or glass. Etsy is a good place to start if you’re interested in getting one of your own.
2. Commission a felted replica. You’ve probably heard about knitted goods made from dog fur. New Yorker Linda Facci has made a career out of creating felted miniature dog replicas that are startlingly lifelike. She will even place your pup’s ashes inside one of her masterpieces or incorporate his hair into the felt used to make the sculptures. You can find her on Etsy.
3. Wear a noseprint necklace. No two dog noses are alike, and now you can have a sterling-silver replica made of your canine’s snout. Artists on Etsy will send you a mold kit, and from there, they make a silver casting with your dog’s name engraved on the back.
4. Commemorate with words. Literary-minded individuals may wish to have a personalized poem written in remembrance of their pet. John Davie, a lecturer in classics at Trinity College, Oxford, will write an elegiac couplet in Latin expressing the love you have for your dog. But don’t worry, this very personal poetic tribute also includes an English translation.
5. Make dust into diamonds. Several companies will turn your dog’s ashes into diamonds by using carbon that is heated to extremely high temperatures. In most cases, you can select the size, cut, and color, and even have it incorporated into a piece of jewelry.
6. From ashes to ink. Have you ever considered getting a picture of your dog tattooed on your skin? To make it even more personal, some tattoo artists will mix your canine’s ashes into the ink.
7. Load a bullet with ashes. Did your beloved dog live for the hunt? Some grieving pet owners have their late dog’s ashes loaded into bullets. Two game wardens in Alabama came up with the idea when discussing their eventual deaths, and now run a business putting cremated remains inside live ammunition (interesting fact: their services aren’t limited to animals).
8. Light up the sky. Some companies in the United States and the United Kingdom will turn your dog’s cremated remains into a fireworks display. Talk about going out with a bang.
9. A modern take on taxidermy. As an alternative to burial or cremation, some people choose to freeze-dry their dead pets. It involves putting your late dog in a sealed chamber at very low temperatures for as long as six months. It’s often advertised as more realistic than taxidermy.
10. Make another dog. With the recent revelation that Barbra Streisand had her Coton de Tulear Samantha cloned, this advanced scientific process has once again captured the public’s imagination. If you find it comforting to know that the DNA from your beloved pet will live on — and you have about $50,000 — you can do as Streisand did and clone him.