3 Tips on Coping with the Loss of Your Dog
Studies show that dogs are the only other animals (outside of humans) who can read human emotions, and react to help alter them.
That means that your dog had the ability to see when you were sad, upset, or stressed, and then work to calm you down and make you feel better. That’s exactly what cultivates friendships and love for people –– and the loss of your dog is no different than a loss of a human loved one.
But so often, dog loss grief feels minimized and misunderstood.
- There are no weeks off at work due to the loss.
- There are no obituaries.
- Many of the things we do for people when they pass to help us grieve don’t exist for our pups.
But the grief does exist, and there are things you can do to help memorialize your pup, cope with your grief, and work toward happily remembering the great life the two of you had.
Here are a few of the most popular ways dog parents grieve the loss of their pups that may help you to do the same.
No matter what you do, know this: you are not crazy for being so upset. Our dogs are our family, and our grief reflects that.
1. Legacy Projects
Legacy projects are gaining more and more popularity because they are great ways to refocus your energy and time to the memory of your dog.
Raise Money for a 5K
Some people will do a 5K and raise money for causes that are relevant to you or to your pet. The ASPCA is a great resource for you if this is up your alley.
You can see that there are tons of families participating in memory of their dog, or to help support research into a cure for their ailments.
Volunteer in Their Honor
If running or walking isn’t your thing, another great dog legacy project is volunteering at shelters in the name or honor of your dog. There, you can educate future families on the benefits of adding a dog to their lives, the connection and tell the story of your dog’s life to those who most need to hear it.
Look for pet shelters in your area to begin giving back to the community all the love your dog gave you.
Come Up with Your Own Legacy Project
And of course, you can always come up with your own legacy project. Think of something that you and your dog loved to do together, and figure out a way to encourage more dogs and their families to do the same: getting out there on more walks, enjoying swimming and swimming safety, and so much more.
How can you turn their favorite activity into an activity that builds community and raises awareness?
2. Memorial Jewelry
Memorial jewelry comes in all shapes, sizes, and price points. You can turn your dog’s ashes into a diamond or a glass bead, or you can put their ashes into a hollow necklace to carry around with you.
For many, these options allow them to carry their beloved pet with them wherever they go, bringing a sense of calm to their physical absence. Here are a few of the more popular options.
Dog Ashes to Diamonds
While this may be the more expensive route to take for a memorial or cremation jewelry, it’s an extremely popular one. Through a similar process as lab-grown diamonds, scientists can turn your dog’s ashes into a diamond of the size, color, and cut that you specify.
Each diamond is grown individually, and many companies, like Eterneva, update you along the entire process by sending photos or videos of exactly where your pet is in the process. This helps with the grieving process, giving you something to look forward to.
After 7-10 months, the diamond is hand-delivered to your door and you can set it in any jewelry piece you wish.
Here’s a review from one dog parent on the process:
“I was looking into options to memorialize our beautiful Havanese, Allie, who we lost after a brave fight with hemangiosarcoma. I was devastated to think that all her energy, light and beauty would be represented by the palm-sized teak box that held her remains. It simply wasn’t enough to honor the amazing creature she was and how deeply she touched our lives.
We watched as our little girl was transformed from ashes to carbon to a raw diamond, to a cut diamond that was finally placed in a custom designed pendant. I cried on delivery day and was so humbled to have this remarkable piece of my baby to hold on to forever.
Losing someone you love is always the hardest part of life’s journey, but Eterneva gives you an opportunity to take that loss and turn it into something beautiful. Words will never be able to express how grateful I am to both Adelle and Eterneva for being a part of our family’s journey.”
Dog Ashes to Beads
If you like the ashes to diamonds idea but need something with a lower price tag, then dog ashes to beads may be a good option for you and still allows you to carry your baby around with you wherever you go.
In this process, the artist mixes in the ashes as they create the bead so that the ash becomes part of the glass. Similar to the diamond, you can choose the color and size of your bead so that it matches your pet’s personality or your own style.
Ashes in Memorial Jewelry
Traditional memorial jewelry itself is super common and you can find different versions around the web. Etsy is a good place to look!
Traditional memorial jewelry allows you to put some of your dog’s ashes in a necklace so that they can be with you wherever you are. Typically, these necklaces come with a little scoop and funnel so that you can funnel the ashes in and not get them everywhere.
If the necklace doesn’t come with that, I’d recommend buying one. Ashes are sticky, and can get messy quickly.
3. The Animal Defense Legal Fund
Want to give back to your pet by helping the law see pets less as property as more as family? That’s exactly what The Animal Defense Legal Fund is set up to do.
You can join the social media conversation by using the hashtag #NotProperty, donate to the ADLF to help in the fight (lawyers are expensive!), or volunteer your time or expertise to help further the cause.
Finally, the best thing you can do is to talk about your pet. Join a grief group online or in your area, or talk with your family about needing to find an outlet to speak about what happened and how you are feeling.
Legacy projects, memorial jewelry, and the ALDF are great starts to beginning those conversations, refocusing feelings and emotions on action and what everyone can do to help.