The day John to Lucky to the vet for the last time, was the saddest day of his life. She was just looking at him with those big eyes. There was not anger or malice there. She just looked at him as if she understood and forgave.
Signs that your dog or pet is seriously ill?
If your dog displays many of these signs, it might the start of a serious illness
- Loss of appetite
- Low energy/lack of interest in favourite toys
- Respiratory problems appearing in an older dog
- Random vomiting
- Lack of balance
- Muscle tremors/lack of coordination and being cold
- Dry and rough skin
- You dog faints
If your pet is ill, you should contact a vet as soon as possible.
And here is an article about a relevant, but less covered topic; how do you cope when your pet is ill:
Dealing with grief when your pet dies
The painful feelings of grief when a pet dies are normal and natural. Here are some suggested strategies for coping with this grief
- Talk about it – find friends you can talk to about your pet and your feelings. There are also online support groups that you can join. Some people like to express their grief in forms of writing or poems
- Consider a pet memorial service – This might help you get closure and help you move on
- Deal with feelings of guilt – This can be particularly painful if you had to make the decision on euthanasia. Think about how you made this decision to spare your animal friend from more pain and suffering
- Support your children and other family members – Some family members might find it harder to deal with the grief, help each other
- Ask your vet – If you have any questions before or after, ask your vet. Too many people keep these questions to themselves and linger over them for years afterwards
- Acknowledge that grief takes time – The grief is not going away after a week. Accept that this is something that will be with you for a long time
- Don’t neglect yourself – Some people find it pointless to focus on things like eating or sleeping when grieving, but this makes the process worse. Make sure you maintain a healthy body and mind (consider meditation) to support the grieving process
- Don’t neglect your family and other pets – In addition to taking care of yourself, make sure you are there for your family and the other pets. They also need you.
- Consider a pet memorial – For many people, it helps having a photo, a sculpture or another memento of the pet.
How to deal with grief
Pet memorial services
John chose not to do a memorial service for Lucky. When I asked him about it later, he did admit that it might have been a good idea to have a sort of event or ceremony to create a sense of closure.
If you want to hold a memorial service for your pet, keep in mind that you can do anything, this is your service and you can chose what you think would be the best for honouring and remembering your pet. The first choice is likely if you would like to use a pet crematorium or pet funeral home for the service, or if you would like to organise the service yourself.
At the memorial service, you may want to have the pet present, literally or figuratively. So you might want to have the urn with the ashes or a photo of your pet. Or maybe a few of her favourite toys.
The service itself can be anything you like. Many chose to talk about the life of the pet and often read poems or verses that are meaningful to the people close to the pet.
Pet memorial service in a pet funeral home or pet crematorium
Most pet crematoria or funeral homes will have their own suggestions for a service. Don’t hesitate to ask for your own little personalised twists, to make the service personal to you and your pet.
Pet memorial service organised by you
If you organise your own service, you really have a wide open choice for what and where you can do.
Where to hold a service
- In your home or garden
- In a favourite park
- In the woods or forest you used to spend time together
- A beach
- A special place that you associate with your pet
If you decide to hold the service in a public place, check if you need any permissions from your local council or others beforehand.
Who to invite to a pet memorial service?
There are no hard and fast rules about who you should invite. Typically people invite their closest friends and family, along with others who might have known and cared for your pet.
Some people make it a bigger event and invite colleagues and a larger group of friends and family. A police dog in Indianapolis, who was shot by a burglar, had a pet funeral attended by about 150 people.
If you are sending out invites by email or post, don’t forget to put the time and place. Do you want people to participate and share their memories of your pet, or will you run the service?
Pet cremation and burial
John agonised over the decision for days. He had a very small garden, and most of the nice walks with Lucky had happened in the park near their house and in the close by woods. In the end, John chose cremation. He scattered some of the ashes in his garden, and put the rest inside a sculpture of Lucky that he put on the mantelpiece.
More than 500,000 pets have funerals in America, and more than 100,000 in the UK. Prices vary dramatically depending on location. The most expensive on record might be for a Tibetan Mastiff, which cost more than £500,000 (with a jade coffin and burial at the foot of a picturesque mountain in China).
Where and how Pros and cons
Where and how – home vs official (allowed at home?)Pros and cons
Twice every year, at the anniversary of Lucky’s death, and Pet Remembrance day, John makes an effort to remember Lucky. He sits by her sculpture and spends some time remembering all the brilliant times they had together. He of course remembers her at other times too, but on these two occasions he feels he honours her by taking time out of his own busy schedule just to be with her and the memories.
Pet Remembrance Day is on 5 July every year, and is a time for many to specially take time to remember their loved pets. On this day, and often also on the anniversary of death or birth, many pet owners gathers with friends to talk about pets, often in front of photos or ornaments of their pets.
Pet memorial products and gifts
John got a full colour stone sculpture looking just like Lucky, and put the ashes inside. The sculpture had all the special brown spots and the intelligent eyes that remind him of her. He left the figurine of Lucky on his mantelpiece, and decided that he would probably never get a pet again
It’s been two and a half years now. John is missing the walks and the companionship and is considering getting another dog. We think that Lucky would surely agree.
There are a large number of pet memorial products available, and we have just tried to mention some of them below. Many of these products can also be seen as pet loss gifts – they can be bought for a friend.
Pet memorial products for outdoors
You might have spent most of the wonderful times with your pets in the outdoors, so many people prefer to have an outdoors memorial for their pet. This could be a gravestone or memorial stone close to where you pet lies, there are a lot of wonderful stones or plaques available. Most can be personalised with the name, dates and maybe a personal message. Another possibility is to create a memorial in your favourite woods, maybe you can dedicate a bench to your favourite companion?
Sample Outdoors Memorial Products
- Pebbles/Plaques/slate/ Pet Memorial stones (incl paw print shaped)
- Bench in your favourite woods
Pet memorial products for indoors
There is also a large selection of pet memorial products that can be placed indoors, here is a small selection you may consider
Sample Indoor Memorial Products
- Arty Lobster pet sculptures
- Generic pet sculptures
- Shadow box
- Pet Photos/paintings/canvas
Pet memorial products with ashes or hair
Many pet memorial products allow you to keep a part of the ashes or hair inside the product to make it more personal
Sample Ashes/Hair Memorial Products
- Arty Lobster personalised pet sculptures with ashes inside
- Urns for ashes
- Shadow boxes with items reminding you of your pets
- Jewellery with hair/ash elements
Arty Lobster pet memorials
At Arty Lobster, we make sculptures that is as personal as the personality of your pet. Each pet ornament is made from photos, and our full colour stone sculptures are perfect to put on your mantelpiece or desk as a memory of your deceased companion. The base of the figurine is brass, engraved with the name of your dog, cat, horse or other pet. We can also put the dates on the base. You can read more about the Arty Lobster full colour sandstone memorial sculpture here