As any dog lover knows, we always miss the dogs we've lost. So today, we want to focus on and celebrate the great lives of all our dogs, past and present.
Sometime in the 1980's or early 1990's, an unknown author wrote a story poem called Rainbow Bridge, in which he (or she) envisioned a place in heaven where our dogs run and play; healthy, young and strong. And where they wait to be with us again. This idea has taken root in many a dog-lover's heart and it's comforting to imagine your pet happy and content.
To honor this, author and blogger, Deborah Barnes, created Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, a day dedicated to remembering the pets who have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. If you've been wanting to celebrate the life of your pet, here are some suggestions of ways to honor and remember him.
1. Donate. Why not give to a worthy cause in memory of your dog? Consider donating to AKC Reunite's Canine Support & Relief or any other organization that is meaningful to you in honor of your pet.
2. Volunteer. A donation of time can be just as valuable as money. Maybe you could get involved with your local club and volunteer at one of their events.
3. Place a headstone or garden stone in the yard. You can purchase a headstone or garden stone ready-made and customized or decorate one yourself. You might want to place it your pet's favorite outdoor spot.
4. Hold a memorial service. If you're religious, say a prayer. Consider a family walk or hike to scatter your pet's ashes in a favorite spot. This is a good way to include all family members, including children who may be struggling with the loss.
5. Plant a tree. One of the nice things about a tree-planting ceremony is that you're you're commemorating your pet with something that will live and grow. And as it does, it will be a beautiful memory.
6. Make a scrapbook. This is another way to include the whole family in making memories. Share your favorite stories and add photos or draw pictures to illustrate. You might want to include a favorite small toy, your dog's collar or other mementos. Scrap-booking can be ongoing, too–picked up every now and then to add memories or to feel close to your pet again. You can buy a ready-to-use pet scrapbook or even download everything you need.
7. Add your dog's tag to your keychain. This is a simple way to keep him with you wherever you go.
8. Make a Christmas tree ornament. Add a ribbon to your dog's tags, favorite toys or collar and celebrate your dog's memory during the holidays.
9. Frame your favorite photo. A beautiful frame makes a photo into a portrait. Buy a plain frame and decorate it yourself or buy a customized frame.
10. Create an online memorial. You can make a memorial page on your favorite social media channel or on websites that allow you to make your own online memorial.
11. Make a piece of jewelry. You can have a custom charm made to add to a bracelet or a personalized pendant to wear close to your heart.
12. Share something. If you have a special dog park or other place you and your dog loved, create an ongoing tribute by sharing his favorite treats or toys. Set up a bucket of tennis balls or Frisbees, place a container of his favorite cookies. This way other dog lovers can share something that brought happiness to your dog's life.
Finally, remember all of the great times you and your dog had together! There is no greater bond than a person and their dog, so don't be shy in celebrating your dog's amazing life.