Commemorative thoughts

Hello friends,

First of all, if you are reading this, you’ve probably either lost or are losing a furry friend. Please know I’m very sorry for your loss. It is never easy. Take solace in the fact that you gave them a great life, and don’t be too hard on yourself. My post today is dedicated to discussing a multitude of ways to commemorate your best friend.

Everyone is different. I know as I go through my own grieving process, I’m looking for ways to continue to keep Newton near and dear. We were a one dog family, we went from arranging our entire day around Newton to nothing. I was lost. In the beginning I don’t mind admitting that I was desperately searching for anything that I could hang on to. There are still days that I want to stay in my jammies, listen to some sad tunes and down a bottle glass of vino. I’ve found a better way (for me). Most of you who follow my blog know I started working with the SPCA again after losing my best buddy. Being around dogs who need so much, allow me a new routine that makes me feel necessary again. They give me strength, love, laughter and a purpose when I felt I had little.

These are not ways to ease grief, only time can do that. Instead, when you’re ready, and are looking for a way to commemorate your furry friend – this list may be helpful. Find something that speaks to you, and represents your lost companion and your bond. It can be very therapeutic.

First of all ignore those people who say, “It’s just a dog”. Thoughtless words. In my opinion, they will never understand so do not waste your time with them. They do not belong in your process.

Commemoration  – Let me count the ways

1. Write a Eulogy, it helps to think back and remember all the great times. Trust me, you’ll go back and re-read this.

2. Have a ceremony. We have yet to have ours, but it will be coming. I want to spread Newton’s ashes in his favorite places, and we have to wait until Spring in order to do this. I’ve been told it helps, especially little ones, with closure.

3. If your a writer, write a letter. I wrote and then shared mine here. If you’re an artist, paint. If you’re into music – write a song. Another blogger friend is having a ring designed to represent her pup and their bond. I thought that this was beautiful. Any form of expression is healthy.

4. Plant a tree. Most dogs love being outside. Plant something that is representative of them, that will bloom every year and give you a beautiful reminder. Some people even plant a flower, bush, tree or garden in a spot of significance. If you need a little inspiration, check out a blogger friend’s project – “Gardens for Goldens“. They’ve taken their project to a whole new level!

tree of love

5. Store the memories somewhere, including photos, a favorite toy etc. I decided to make a picture book that has all photos of Newton, in all stages of life. I wanted a place that I could go back and remember all the good times. Further, I’ll be getting close friends and family members to sign it and include a favorite memory. I’ll be bringing this out on those sad, dark days. If a photo book isn’t your cup of tea, Modern dog magazine has some pretty exceptional ideas here. The blog, My wonderful life, has another list of unique ideas here.

6. If you know your pet is terminal or have little time together left, make a list. When we found out we were losing Newton, we made a list of everything we knew he loved. The vet thought we would only have less then a week left with him. If he was up to it, we wanted to try and fit everything he loves into this 6 day period. We were lucky, he was never in pain and he was able to do many of these things. It was a celebration of his life for 6 days.

My entire point, make your days all epic days.

If you all haven’t seen this wonderful video of a man who gives his dog, who has cancer, his last epic meal. It’s touching, and a real tear jerker. Amazing to watch if you’re able.


Newton’s list

– Visit his best furry friends (if he’s feeling up to it).

– Visit original Grandmom (Breeder), with brother Richard and sister Livy (He loved it here)

– Eat a Christmas Turkey dinner, with gravy

– Eat a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger, (He ate 4) I know he’s always wanted this…..

– Make a snowman for him to “kill”

– Cuddle as much as he wants.

– Invite Aunties and Uncles to visit – We invited and almost everyone came during one point or another over this 6 day period. It was a wonderful send off.

– Take one last hike as a family – Newton loved hiking. He was feeling weak so we never ended up finishing this one off. However we had more then enough family hikes throughout his life to remember.


7. During the time you would normally spend together, keep yourself busy. If you had a specific time that you would walk together, make sure to do something else. These can be the saddest times if you’re alone. Finding something else to do can make this easier.

8. Try something I call “Fur Therapy”. Whether it be visiting another cat or dog, boarding a friends fur-kid or volunteering at your nearest shelter, it can be extremely therapeutic. If you’re an animal lover, animals may be healing for you. I know this has worked amazingly well for me. I’ve also been boarding dogs on weekends for friends and family members and volunteering. It has given me a purpose.

9. Read Jon Katz’s book “Going Home“. He speaks about something called the “Good Life”. A wonderful notion which I think would give most solace. Read more on my review of this here. If you’d like a quick snapshot – here’s a excerpt from Going Home.

10. Read “Rainbow Bridge“. A beautiful piece of writing.

rainbow bridge

11. If you need, reach out to people who understand. There are a multitude of pet grieving groups. People who are in these groups will not judge, only listen.

12. Cry when you need to. There is nothing wrong with it.

13. Write a list of everything you learned from your companion. It’ll make you sad at first, but then extremely thankful they were ever a part of your life.

14. This one may be too early to mention, but I’m going to put it out there. When you’re ready, welcome a new furry friend into your lives. This is best way to celebrate a life. Practice everything your lost companion taught you. This could take a few months, or even a few years. When you’re ready, you’ll know. Grief does not have a time limit.

This is a difficult road to take. I hope you’ll find the above list helpful. If any of you have any other ideas, please comment below. I look forward to hearing about them and sharing them with others who are going through this terrible time.

I’ve gotten so many responses back from so many of you. It shocked me at first. The support many of you have shared, I’ll be forever grateful for. This process is the hardest part of being a pet owner. Know that you are not alone. We are lucky to have them in our lives at all, they always leave far too early. If you haven’t seen the link going around, check out A dog’s purpose: According to a 6 year old here. It’s a beautiful thought.

Grief is a powerful thing, do not lose yourself in it. There will come a time when you remember the great times, and tears do not fall every time. Until then, I hope some of the above helps.

Thanks for reading,


RIP dear friend

Thank you for all you've done.
My Newt – Thank you for all you’ve done.

12 thoughts on “Commemorative thoughts

  1. Oh, I just love your blog!!!! Your post today was simply beautiful…I think about when my cocker spaniel, Pepper, had to leave me…ugh…Putting his collar, leash, toys, etc away was wrenching…I still keep his picture in a frame at my bedside table (always will). Your Newton…what a treasure…Bless you and thank you for these words today! I have to save this somewhere.

    • Awww thanks Writetowag!

      It’s a difficult topic to write about, but hopefully some of these ideas can bring some peace to those going through a tough time.

      Give Trev a head pat from me!

  2. Gosh, what a great post. I have to add ‘foster a pet’ to the list though.

    It’s going to sound corny but the most important thing I learnt from Grumps was how to love. I know what love is – I have a partner of four years before I got Grumpy – but she taught me how to love in a different way. Sometimes people do things that make you mad, Grumps never once hurt me. People can get busy with things and stuff, but Grumps always lit up when she heard my voice. Pets love you with all their being – unconditionally and forever – which is why it’s so hard to be without them when they’re gone.

    I’m a big believer in foster care. Here in Australia, we have a few big shelters, but much of rescue is run by community based foster care networks. They take dogs and cats from pounds and shelters, freeing up space for pounds to take in more strays and surrenders – while giving the dog or cat an escape from a stressful environment. Best of all, you get to meet the new adopter when they come along – and keep in touch and see how your foster is going. My cats were failed fosters, I had fostered dozens and loved all of them, but I was happy for them to find new owners that loved them. Ad suddenly, out of the blue, I just couldn’t part with two of my fosters. I just knew. We kept them.

    I am going to take some time to grieve – and grief is a lonely process – but my other cat misses Grumps too, and sooner rather than later, I’m going to get a foster. It’s to keep him company, but also because it’s going to help save a life. Grumps taught me how to love and I’m going to remember her by making a difference in the life of another furry being. Because it beats being in a shelter for them, and I need to share the love that Grumpy showed me. When the right foster comes along, I’m sure I’ll know. I’ve been a foster failure before. Until then, I am not ready to adopt, but my heart and home is open to foster.

    Having a foster will teach you that your heart may be grievously wounded, but it will love again. There’s no pressure to commit to adoption there and then. And when that one furry face comes along that you can’t imagine your life without, well then, you’ll know it’s time to adopt.

    You can read Grumps story here –

    • Great addition!! Love that fostering is now added.

      I’m a huge believer in Foster. It’s something I believe I’ll be getting into in the future. It’s highly underestimated. Great for you and for all of your amazing work. You’re doing an amazing thing, opening your heart and home to such a needy cause. I think you are honoring Grumps in the most fantastic way, through sharing love and what Grumps taught you with another.

      I’ll be sure to check out Grumps story. Animals, like people need to grieve in their own way. I know my cat Frankie slept on Newton’s dog bed for the next month at night. I didn’t move it until he told me it was time…

      I spent almost a year in Perth, are you on the West or East coast?

      • I’m in Canberra at the moment (so no coast at all! – though technically east, I suppose).

        It’s been really great to share thoughts and the process. Very healing indeed. I’m sure we will be ‘blog friends’ for good 🙂

      • I saw this today and thought I should repost –

        A Dog’s Will
        When humans die, they make a will
        To leave their homes and all they have
        To those they love.
        I, too, would make a will if I could write;
        To some poor wistful lonely stray
        I leave my happy home,
        My dish, my cosy bed, my cushioned chair, my toy,
        The well-loved lap, the gently stoking hand,
        The loving voice,
        The place I made in someone’s heart,
        The love that, at the last, could help me to
        A peaceful, painless end,
        Held in loving arms.
        If I should die, Oh! Do not say,
        “No more a pet I’ll have
        To grieve me by its loss”.
        Seek out some lonely, unloved dog
        And give my place to him.
        This is my legacy I leave behind
        ‘Tis all I have to give.

    • Thanks for reading. Beautiful tribute! A constant reminder of everything Isis I’m sure taught you. I just read your latest post and it was beautifully written. I know it’s never an anniversary worth celebrating. Have peace that you gave Isis a great life that was full of love.

      Thank you for sharing.

  3. Wow– such a great post. This is such a tough subject. I really do love the way you’ve taken such a difficult thing and thought about how to celebrate the lives of our loved pets (children, really) rather than just trying to suppress the heartbreaking feelings that come with the loss of a loved one. This post is inspiring. Thank you!

    • Aww thanks for stopping by and reading!

      It’s a very tough subject. When you’re ready these are things that can help celebrate a life.

      It’s the worst thing about being a pet owner.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s