Whether you lost your canine companions last week, last year, or even years ago, their memory is surely still alive. While people in your life without pets may not always understand, you know that the grief over a pet that’s passed away can be as deep and as acute as that for a human loved one.
Author Deborah Barnes started Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day to give all pet-lovers a day to share memories of beloved pets that have crossed the Rainbow Bridge and are waiting for us there. The event is on Aug. 28; a time to celebrate the life of the dogs that have brought us joy, unconditional love, comfort, and laughter through the years.
We’ve gathered different types of memorials, including digital memories, unusual tributes, and DIY projects. These should help you commemorate those canine best friends that have left us.
Digital Pet Commemoration
If you’re technically inclined or have an active online life, you may want to choose a digital way to commemorate your dog. Whether you’re a web genius or a social media maven, here are some simple and more advanced ways to participate in Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day online
- Change your profile picture to a favorite photo of your dog on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat account. Or you can use the official Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day logo as your image to share the day with others.
- Post a favorite memory, story, or your thoughts about your pet on your social media accounts and invite friends to add their memories. Use the hashtag, #rainbowbridgeremembranceday, which actually trended last year. You can search the hashtag, too, to read community memories and posts.
- Taking the idea of collaboration even further, you can create a page on Facebook, for example, or on a photo-sharing app like Flickr, and ask friends to look through their own photos for pictures of your canine best friend throughout the years.
- Do you have a blog? If so, this might appeal to you: Deborah Barnes, who created Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, will do a blog hop on Aug. 28. It goes live at 12 a.m. EDT, and you'll find the linking information on her site then. The day also has a special Facebook page where you can honor your dog however you like: text, photos, videos.
- If you want to create a permanent online presence, you can use a relatively simple app, such as WordPress or Wix, to build a memorial page.
- Maybe you have lots of digital photos and videos of your life together. Using iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, you can compile a short video and upload it to YouTube. It will be there whenever you want (or need) to take a moment to reflect on your memories.
Unique Ways to Memorialize Your Dog
Last year we gave you some ideas for ways to commemorate a pet that’s passed away. Although there are many ways to cope with the loss of a pet, you may be searching for a more unusual ritual or commemoration. And what might seem weird to other people may suit you and your memories of your dog perfectly.
- Commission a stuffed animal replica of your dog. Etsy, the home of all things crafty, has vendors who will create a customized felted version of a pet. Take a look at Fiber Friends, for example. Original Sock Dogs will also create a custom, stuffed animal version of your dog.
- Are you having a memorial or a celebration of your dog’s life? Perhaps you want a special way to commemorate his birthday? You can have his ashes made into fireworks. Although not as common as it is in Great Britain and Australia, search local fireworks companies to find one that will send your pet’s cremated remains up in a blaze of glory. There are several companies around the country that offer this service, although for a hefty price.
- There’s another way to preserve your dog’s ashes in a keepsake that will last forever: a diamond. A company called LifeGem has partners all around the country that will create a unique diamond from the ashes of your beloved dog.
- This takes some forethought, but you can have your dog’s fur spun into knitting yarn. We don’t usually know how long a pet will be with us, but while he is, collect the hair that amasses from brushing. And although brushing might usually seem like a chore, there’s something almost meditative about gathering all of that hair and saving it until you have enough. Nine Lives Twine spins the yarn and provides a clear set of instructions to follow.
- Have some of your best times with your dog been spent on long, night walks or camping under the stars? You can memorialize him to the moon and back with a company that sends cremated remains or DNA of a beloved pet into space. Celestis offers several unique memorial spaceflights that will change the way you view the night sky forever.
- Body art has seen a real rise in popularity, and if you’re a fan, what better way to have a permanent reminder of your dog than a tattoo? Choose a minimalist design like a paw print, a symbol, or message that’s meaningful to you or even a portrait of your dog. Pinterest has lots of images that may spark some inspiration.
DIY Pet Memorials
Sometimes, the things we make ourselves mean the most. If you’re a crafter or just handy, you can make a custom, personal memento or memorial for your dog.
- Make a paw print. You can buy a kit that includes everything you need to make a keepsake or ornament with your dog’s paw print.
- Make a planter. Use your dog’s bowls to make a planter. Fill them with colorful plants that cheer you when you walk by and that greet guests when they arrive.
- Make felted beads. Although this example uses cat hair, dog hair will work just as well. Felting is very easy, even for people who have never worked with yarn before. Then string the beads together to make a bracelet that will keep memories of your dog close at hand.
- Make a bracelet from his collar. This works especially well with a leather or nylon collar and is a nice way to have your dog with you everywhere. You can get really creative like this person did and have a goldsmith or silversmith attach one of your dog’s tags to the bracelet. Or go really simple with a nylon collar and some snaps.
- Make a shadowbox. Shadowboxes and shadowbox kits are readily available at most craft stores and online. You could include some of your dog’s favorite small toys, favorite photos, even his collar and tags.
- Make a photo collage. Just through the process of gathering, selecting, and arranging photos into a collage, you’ll be able to relive so many moments of your dog’s life. All you need is glue, scissors, poster board or mat board, and a frame to create a permanent tribute.
- Make a quilt. If you sew, make a patchwork quilt or throw and include fabric from your dog’s bed, his favorite blanket, even from his soft toys. You could use different shapes to form an image or print photos directly onto cloth, using a kit like this one, and incorporate them. Your canine BFF may no longer be around to cuddle with you, but a memorial quilt will be a comfort. Get some pattern ideas from Pinterest or Craftsy.
No matter how you decide to commemorate your pet, even the act of thinking about it and then implementing your tribute can play a part in the grieving and healing process. Nothing will ever replace him in your heart, but creating a memorial — and the passage of time — makes the loss easier to bear and provides a lasting memory.