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Losing a pet can be a heartbreaking and devastating experience. For some, it can be very easy to spiral into the dark pits of depression after losing an animal that has faithfully loved you and been your best friend for years. What are we to do without our furry angels on earth?
For me, I have found this trying time to be softened by the various comfort items I have surrounded myself with. "Self care" is a big buzzword these days, but the principle is sound; by ensuring to take care of your emotions, mind, and body, you will experience a better quality of life. Nothing can reverse the loss of a pet. However, we can ease some of the discomfort in the grieving process by surrounding ourselves with soothing sensations, experiences, and mementos.
While they might be painful to see at first, photos of your pet can soon become a great source of comfort and happy memories. I have taken great joy in sharing photos of my dearly departed pet with people because I was just so darn proud to have had him in my life. So choose some of your favorite pictures of your pet, get them printed, and have them framed to keep in your home. Then, whenever you look at them, remember the love that you and your furbaby shared.
Plush Blankets and Slippers
Sometimes, the best way to soften the blow of a loss is to get a little literal with your textiles. My boy passed shortly after Christmas, and I found myself especially grateful for a pair of soft, plush slippers I had been gifted for the holidays. In fact, as I mourned and wept, I found myself gravitating to a gentle cocoon of downy blankets, which gave me a safe space to cry as long and hard as I needed to.
A Pillow Pal
In addition to plush socks and blankets, one of the things I found the most comforting was a pillow pal of my pet. There is a company called All About Vibe that will take any photo of your pet and make it into a pillow. The process is incredibly simple, and they can crop and customize to meet your needs. When my pillow first arrived the first thing I did was wrap my arms around it as tight as I could and it felt like I was finally able to hug my boy again. The pillows are very well stuffed and perfect for squeezing, so anytime you need a hug to make you feel better, you'll be able to count on your pillow pal.
Paw Print Impression
One thing I urge you to do before your pet passes or shortly after is to take a paw print impression. Some veterinarians will do this for you after the euthanasia procedure, but you can also buy a kit to do it yourself at home. It's such a special keepsake to have your best friend's paw print. You can even use it to have other custom items made, like jewelry, ornaments, or even tattoos.
It might be hard to know what to do with your pet's belongings after they pass. These sentimental items are often extremely difficult to discard, so a happy alternative would be to repurpose them. One option is to create a planter out of your pet's old water or food bowls. This video demonstrates how to make a beautiful memorial succulent garden with the added embellishment of your pet's collar. These small gardens are very easy to care for, and a creative way to preserve the memory of your pet while providing a purpose for their old things.
Jewelry is something that many of us wear every day, and with the advancements of engraving technology, you can now have just about anything engraved on a necklace, bracelet, or keychain. Consider having your pet's name, portrait, or paw print engraved on a pendant to wear close to your heart. This way, it will always feel like your baby is with you. You can find several affordable options on Amazon, or there is a wide array of fine jewelers on Etsy who would be happy to perform this service for you.
If you're like me, you probably enjoyed spending time outside with your pet. Whether that be strolling through to park or sitting in the backyard, bathing in the sunshine, the outdoors can be a special place for pets and their owners. You may even wish to spend time outside remembering the presence of their company. Consider hanging a delicate wind chime to serenely connect with their memory.