Dog Memorial Ideas: Ways To Remember Your Pet
If you’re mourning the passing of your dog, my heart goes out to you. Losing your dog is a deeply upsetting time. There are plenty of ways to honour your dog’s life and have a permanent memento of what they meant to you.
This article will talk you through the best dog memorial ideas. I’ll also cover how you can mourn the loss of your dog on an emotional level too. Trinkets and mementos are lovely, but you must support your mental health through this terrible time too.
If you’re reading this with a friend in mind who has lost their dog, don’t worry! These are the best pet loss gifts Australia has to offer.
Top 10 Dog Memorial Gifts Australia
The memorial gift you choose in the loving memory of your pup will depend on your personality and how you best want to remember them. I chose a mix of items from the large scale to the small and intimate. It’s important to be guided by what makes you happy and what best symbolises your time with your pup.
If you’re buying for someone else, keep this in mind too. Not everyone will delight in a huge life-size sculpture of their pet. That said, there are some things on this list that are more universally liked which I’ll mention as we go along.
1. Buy A Dog Memorial Plaque
Memorial plaques are a beautiful way to symbolise your dog’s passing. It works perfectly for the garden which is probably where your pup made plenty of happy memories!
Plaques are great because you can add your own message and your dog’s name. Some have paw prints. Some have jewels. There are different styles for every type of owner out there.
Plaques vary from stone to marble. You can spend $40 off amazon buying a personalised plaque, or shell out hundreds on something super high quality and high-end.
2. Sponsor A Park Bench
This is an idea I stole from a friend of mine. She loved her dog to the moon and back. So she had to go big with her dog memorial. You know those little gold plates they have on park benches that have the name of deceased people inscribed on them? She did that for her dog! In her local dog park, she sponsored a park bench and placed a small memorial plaque on it with her dog’s name and birth dates.
Now every time she visits the park, she can sit on her dog’s park bench and remember the good times they had together.
Of course, this depends on your local park. Maybe benches aren’t available to sponsor. Contact your local council to see what’s possible.
3. Hire An Artist To Draw Your Pup
When my oldest dog died, I commissioned an artist to draw a portrait of him so that I had a memory of him close to me. I chose an artist that specialised in pet portraits and could capture the movement of his fur perfectly.
This kind of dog memorial gift is perfect for me because I love art and I also love supporting small creatives. Not everyone enjoys art but a lovingly drawn pencil portrait of your pet is a pretty universally loved gift. If you’re buying a gift for someone else, they don’t need to be an art enthusiast to enjoy a portrait. There is sentimental value in commissioned art that you rarely get anywhere else.
4. Frame Their Collar
Some people choose to bury their dogs with their collars. Little macabre but the idea is that your dog’s collar will remain after your dog no longer remains. The collar becomes a keepsake or time capsule that someone will one day find. There is beauty in that.
However, I think there’s even more beauty in framing the collar for preservation. You can make this a little DIY project. Encapsulate the collar in glass and choose a colourful background that suits your dog’s personality. You could even write their name in the frame if you so choose. All you need is a frame that will fit the collar and any embellishments you want to add so it’s quite Making a piece of art like this can also be quite cathartic during the grieving process. It gives you something to focus on and helps you to pour the sadness of your grief into a project. That’s a gift that money can’t buy.
5. Create A Photo Album Of Their Life
No doubt you have plenty of cute photos of your four-legged friend. Why not pool them into a lovely linen photo album? There are plenty of outlets online that will print a collection of digital photos into albums. You can go all out with the highest quality printing or just a simple photo book that’s no bigger than a postcard. However, best suits your space and your lifestyle is valid.
There’s nothing quite like flipping through the physical pages of photo memories with your pooch. This is a wonderful gift for others too!
6. Get Their Photo Printed On A Mug
The same online services that print photo albums often print photos on other trinkets too! Mugs, t-shirts, caps, aprons - the list goes on. While I don’t necessarily recommend a house full of paraphernalia with your deceased dog’s face on it, one mug is a nice little trinket.
This is a gift that most dog lovers will enjoy too. Just make sure you get a decent quality photo so that it doesn’t appear all pixelated on the printed mug.
7. Buy A Personalised Dog Memorial Figurine
Memorial figurines and statues are a bit more advanced on the love scale let’s say! Not everyone wants a mould of their dog in their home but it’s also a great piece of commissioned art to have. It’s personal, unique and will remind you of your pup in a special way every time you see it. Figurines can be small or you can go for large statues. You can find vendors online that will do the work gladly.
As for gifting, only purchase this for a friend if you know they’ll appreciate it! It’s not one of those universally loved gifts.
8. Engrave Your Jewellery With Their Name
If you have a pendant you hold dear, why not have your dog’s name engraved on it? Even their initials is a subtle nod to your many years of memories. Take your chosen piece of jewellery to a professional jewellery service to be engraved.
If you’re doing this as a dog memorial gift for a loved one, you need to choose the piece of jewellery carefully.
It needs to be:
9. Find A Candle That Encapsulates Their Essence
I recently had a loss in my life so I found a scented candle that encapsulated their essence. It doesn’t even need to be scented for this to work. It could be a cheap $1 candle in a particular colour that reminds you of your dog. (My dog is called Blue so I would get a blue candle!)
If you have any spiritual attachment to candles, this can be a beautiful thing too as part of your healing process. Light the candle in honour of your pup’s memory.
10. Frame Your Dog’s Paw Print
This one takes some foresight. When my first dog was diagnosed with cancer, I made a print of his paws. This has become a permanent fixture in our family home. A piece of art that’s also a piece of him.
If your dog has passed away, this may no longer be possible. But in the case you’re reading this because you’re preparing for the worst, your dog’s paw print is a special thing to have.
How To Grieve For Your Dog: The Stages of Grief
I want to end this article by speaking about grief and mourning. As I’ve mentioned, grief over the loss of a dog is no stranger to me. I’ve been fortunate enough to raise three dogs that have now passed on or are in their twilight years today. So I understand how you feel and I empathise with your loss.
Grief is a difficult, messy thing. Psychologists talk about the five stages of grief. (1) These are:
But here’s the thing. Grief is rarely so neat. You jump back and forth between the stages of grief time and time again. Don’t beat yourself up if you take some time to adjust to life without your furry friend around. It’s perfectly natural to grieve and hurt over the loss of a beloved pet.
My Final Thoughts
My parting advice is to take your time choosing the dog memorial item that best serves you or your friend. This is your memento of your dog so it needs to be something that resonates with you.
If you are buying a gift for someone else, choose something that will suit their personality and their home. The thought counts but the extra thought counts extra.
If your friend or loved one is grieving the passing of their dog, it can be difficult to navigate. The stages of grief are unilinear and complex. Here are some top tips on how to support someone who has lost a dog:
Buy them a memorial gift! Suggestions above.
Offer yourself as a friendly shoulder to lean on if you are genuinely open to that. Don’t offer your support if you’re not able to fulfill that role. Or set your boundaries as to how you are able to show up for your friend.
- Clarke, J. February 12, 2021. “The Five Stages of Grief: Learning about emotions after loss can help us heal”. Very Well Mind. Retrieved February 9, 2022. https://www.verywellmind.com/five-stages-of-grief-4175361