Memories of Pets
One of the most unpleasant thoughts in our lives is often put off until we can ignore the subject no longer. I am referring to the memory of our beloved 4 legged family members—our pets—after they depart Earth. I know because I am guilty of this same affliction, and I lost my feline furriend earlier this week.
There are a few things you can do before your pet reports to eternal life.
Call your local photographer and ask if they photograph pets. Most photographers will charge an extra sitting fee, but this is a minimal fee, and most worth it, considering you are preserving the memory of a loved pet. Photo studios accustomed to shooting pets have accessories, like boxes, crates, suitcases, tables, chairs, a bale of hay, etc, as well as clothing such as shawls, ties, glasses, or tennis shoes. I have seen many amazing portraits of animals in such garb. If your pet has its own special toy or items, ask if you may bring them. If you can’t afford a professional studio, you can tackle this yourself, or ask a friend or a friend of a friend if they will take pictures. If someone else is shooting, you can jump in some photos too. Shutterbugs seem to abound everywhere these days. A decent digital SLR (DSLR) is all that is required. You will thank yourself, or me, for doing this. The more creative you can think the better these portraits turn out.
You can take this theory a step further, and take your pet to a scenic place such as a lake, forest or beach or even your backyard garden, and take photos there.
These photos should reflect how happy and healthy your pet was, as well as showing his or her personality
If you are a crafty person, you can take a small patch of fur from underneath where it wont be noticed, and tie it nicely with a ribbon in a bow. Then somehow add your pets name with sequins, paint, paper and glue, or whatever you have in your craft bins or can think of.
We captured my Neptunes’ paw print in plaster of paris. We found this kit online. It was designed for use as a Christmas ornament. So we made one for an ornament, and since the mold is reusable, we made another as a keepsake. The instructions are on the kit, or if you have talent, you can buy craft plaster (not hardware plaster) at a craft retailer, find your own bendable plastic mold, and create your own custom paw print impression. Let the plaster harden or set up about 2-5 minutes, then add your pets’ paw. Don’t smash or smoosh it in, because it will look like it was smashed or smooshed. Gently apply pressure, then remove paw. Check the print. If it looks smashed or your not happy, smooth it out and try again. You can do this over and over until you’re happy or the plaster completely hardens. The instructions say to keep it safely aside for 24 hrs. Our kit online cost $14.95. Needless to say, I’m not crafty.
As far as final resting places, basic options include burial in your backyard, or at a pet cemetery, cremation or taxidermy.
My city frowned on me burying Tiger in my backyard, and the gas company suggested I get a copy of schematics showing gas pipe layouts for my yard. I didn’t want to blow up while creating a resting spot for my cat. In my book, I explain that in the country, at our ranch, I had a designated pet cemetery. I could go out and visit with my whole crew any time I wanted to. But that was in the country. If you live outside city limits, this may be a preferred option for you. Custom head stones and grave markers are available online
Here, in the city, I didn’t want to drive anywhere to visit her and I didn’t like the feeling that I’d be abandoning her by choosing burial in a pet cemetery, even though one is within a two miles of my home. If you choose burial at a pet cemetery, inquire about custom head stones.
So I opted for cremation. Not only did we get a cedar box, they added a metal nameplate, with Tiger etched on it in black. We also got a very nice paw print in plaster with her name stamped on it in blocks, with 2 colored fish on it. There is also a hole at the top like on Christmas ornaments, with a nice ribbon bow tied to it. We also got a lock of her hair also wrapped in a ribbon bow. Lastly, we received a small plaque, proclaiming “A pet’s love is forever in your heart.”
My white cat Neptune, who is deaf, and the subject of my book, “Neptune the Special Cat”, is indeed sooooo special, that he will be taken to a taxidermist. Call me a crazy cat lady, but I want to SEE Neptune everyday. This is the only way to preserve him in such a manner as to fulfill my wishes. He hangs out in my office, so this will be his final resting place.
After your beloved pet enters perpetual life, your opportunity to create keepsakes, is limited.
There are a few clever people on facebook or online websites who create different items to remember your pet. Memorybeads.swr happened to be a follower of ours on Neptune’s facebook wall, and followed Tiger’s odyssey. She offered to create something for me, free, since we work tirelessly in the name of animal rights. Stephannie creates all kinds of jewelry—earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, as well as belt buckles, keyfobs, out of about 1 tsp. of your pets’ ashes. We chose a keyfob. She also works with clay and resin. This was the most creative site working with pet ashes I’ve seen. We have ordered a key ring with a photo of Tiger on one side and her ashes on the other side, all melded together with resin and metal. If you go to Memorybeads.swr you can see what all she is currently working on.
Shutterfly.com will create a set of 4 refrigerator magnets featuring photos of your pet, while other companies can manufacture drink coasters, coffee mugs, and a variety of other items with happy faces of our dearly departed furriends on them.
Petmarkers.us makes custom headstones in a variety of stone materials for $158.
Memorials.com offer a wide and interesting variety of items, some of which are made from your pets ashes. Click on their pet section, you’ll be amazed. Etchedinmyheart.com offers a wide array of keepsakes, and they accommodate horses, rabbits, and any other kind of pet you can think of. I found wind chimes, a garden bench, candles, garden stakes, a photo vase, and a few other nifty products at personalcreations.com.
Google Pet Keepsakes, or get specific with pet headstones, pet memorials, pet urns, pet gravemarkers, or pet gravemarker pictures, pet memorial jewelry, pet keepsake pendants, pet cremation jewelry, etc..
Frankly, I was surprised by the quantity of companies and the wide variety of pet keepsake items they create. Many of these items are actually affordable. I also discovered since they didn’t have many of these offerings when my previous pets passed away, I can back up and order these things with past pets’ names, dates and photos!!!!
As long as I am writing about parting ways, there is one last thing left. As responsible pet owners, we should think about our pets care, in case we enter perpetual life before them.
Many people include their pets in their wills, and or create trust accounts, to guarantee they will be taken care of, in the event their human caretaker dies before them. Other people designate friends or relatives as caretakers, especially in cases which involve special needs pets. I agreed to be the designated caretaker for a friend with a deaf and blind ginger cat, because I know how to care for a deaf cat.
There are many sites online and some catalogs which offer a will kit. We got ours for $9.95, from a catalog, and they are legal documents. These methods and prices are much cheaper than a lawyer or even legalzoom.com .
http://www.totallegal.com/Wills.asp?m=legalplan and https://www.rocketlawyer.com/secure/interview/new.aspx?id=4&utm_source=104&utm_medium=cpc&try=1&v=3&utm_account=Rocket-Lawyer-Documents&utm_campaign=Beta-Personal-Search&utm_adgroup=(4)will-kit(personal)&utm_term=+will%2520+kits#q1 are two websites which offer free wills.
Additionally, Staples office supply carries living will kits, online and in the store, for $18.
Yes, the topic of losing a beloved pet is one that we don’t enjoy thinking about, but eventually, we all must visit. Hopefully, I’ve made this reality a little easier to endure or cope with. Remember, it is far better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.
Author’s Note: This pet product review is the sole work of Miss Sharon Mohr-Mcdermott, she was not compensated in anyway for her review. You can read more of her reviews here, also her cat Neptune is the subject of a book that was just written, you can purchase the book here or you can follow Neptune & Mr. Moo & the rest of the furry family on facebook here.