Saying goodbye to a pet is an extremely difficult and painful experience for all involved. When a relative or friend loses someone they love, it is not uncommon for those close to them to give sympathy cards and gifts to show their support. We don’t always expect the same response when we lose our non-human family members, but a thoughtful gift for someone grieving a pet is equally important. After all, they have provided us with unconditional love through and through.
Why Does The Loss of a Pet Hurt So Much?
Many of us share an intense love and bond with our loving animal companions. For us, a pet is not “just a dog” or “just a cat,” but rather a beloved member of our family, bringing companionship, fun, friendship and joy to our lives. A pet can add structure to your day, keep you active and social, help you to overcome setbacks and challenges in life, and even provide a sense of meaning or purpose. So, when a cherished pet dies and crosses the rainbow bridge, it’s normal to feel racked by grief and loss.
The pain of loss can often feel overwhelming and trigger all sorts of painful and difficult emotions. While some people may not understand the depth of feeling you had for your pet, you should never feel guilty or ashamed about grieving for an animal friend. While we all respond to loss differently, the level of grief you experience will often depend on factors such as your age and personality, the age of your pet, and the circumstances of their death. Generally, the more significant your pet was to you, the more intense the emotional pain you’ll feel.
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Gift Ideas For A Grieving Pet Owner
If you have never given someone a gift for the loss of a pet before, you may not know where to begin. Use our suggestions below for inspiration before choosing the perfect gift for a friend or pet owner going through pet grief. Many pet owners choose to cremate their furry or feathered friends so they can keep a part of them forever. With permission, you can use a small amount of the pet's ashes in a memorial object or use it to create something unique and special for the gift recipient.
Cremation Sympathy Gifts for Pet Loss
- Pet memorial gifts are very personal and special. Eterneva celebrates remarkable people and pets by turning their ashes into diamonds, through a storytelling journey as special as the loved one and diamond itself. Design a custom diamond that uniquely tells your loved one’s story as the perfect pet memorial. Choose a color that reminds you of their eyes or that represents their one-in-a-million personality. As the final touch, they will engrave their name on the Diamond’s edge.
- Incorporate a part of the pet into a piece of artwork made of glass. Glass sheets can be heated and colored, then formed to make shapes or symbols of various sizes. You can create a small figurine, a design to be hung on a wall or in a window, or a sphere that can be held in the palm of your hand. You could also shape the glass into a heart or other special form.
- There are many types of jewelry that are water and air-tight and can hold a small amount of the remains, such as necklaces with charms or pendants.
- Give them a capsule keychain that can hold some of the remains, such as ashes or even fur or feathers.
- If it doesn’t feel too personal, you may also wish to give a close friend or member of the family an urn or decorative container to hold the remains. These make touching memorial gifts and allows them to keep their pet in their home and display the urn in a place of honor, such as a mantle.
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Preserving the Memory of a Pet
The best gifts for pet loss are the kind that help to preserve a special memory of a furry companion. This can be done in a number of ways, using images, words, or artwork. Presenting your loved one with something beautiful to display in their home gives them a way to put their beloved animal in a place of honor.
When the pet is most missed, it can be comforting to look at a beautiful photo or painting, or curl up with a cozy blanket or pillow. Look for a favorite image of the pet when it is healthy and happy. You will also need to consider whether your friend has the right space in their home for the type of gift you wish to give them. For example, if they do not have a lot of empty wall space, you may not want to give them an overly large painting.
Below are a few meaningful memorial gift ideas to help comfort a grieving loved one when a pet passes:
- Commission or create a painting of a favorite image of their pet. Oil paints, watercolors, or colored pencils are all great for beautiful memorial images.
- Frame a favorite photo of them with their pet.
- Decorate or design a special frame to use for favorite pictures.
- Frame a quote that reminds them of their pet and include a painted paw print.
- Preserve paw prints in clay and create a memorial garden stone for their backyard. You can also get a stone with the pet’s name, birth date, or other information.
- Give them a commemorative statue or fountain for their garden.
- Create a shadow box frame containing a photo of the pet with some of its favorite things, such as a small toy and the collar it wore.
- Order or make a special blanket using an image (or several) of the recently lost pet.
- Create a scrapbook or photo album and include favorite pictures.
- Print an image or quote on a coffee mug. Include coffee, tea, or cocoa mixes.
- Customize a pillow with an embroidered quote or printed image. This is a beautiful way to provide a cozy keepsake.
- Give them a keepsake box to hold important items they choose to keep in honor of their pet's memory, such as a collar, photos, or other small items.
Symbolic or Sentimental Pet Loss Gifts
You can also show your love and support to a friend who is grieving the loss of a pet by giving them something that represents or reminds them of their animal friend. When they are feeling down, they can look at the item or even hold it in their hands. It's a great sense of remembrance. Something small enough to bring with them wherever they go, like a keychain or necklace, is particularly comforting.
Some of the best sentimental pet loss gift ideas include:
- A custom candle. We love the simple, dignified design of these personalized soy-based jar candles. Just send a photo of the cherished pet along with your desired text, and this maker will create a memorial candle that burns for about 50 hours. The cinnamon-scented soy wax is hand-poured. A frosted-glass option with a wooden lid comes in a number of scents, including balsam cedar and grapefruit mint, as well as unscented.
- A small figurine that looks like the pet they lost. Many companies create these now using materials such as felt, plastic and even glass.
- A keychain. There are many different types, so choose one that is most appropriate for your friend and the specific pet they lost. For example, a paw print shape with an opening for a photo or a simple animal-shaped decoration. You could also engrave the name of the pet on the keychain for added flair or use a 3D printed image.
- An engraved wind chime. These are popular gifts for those who have lost loved ones because the sound of the chimes can remind them of those who have passed away or represent their loved ones looking down on them from heaven.
- A stuffed animal that resembles their beloved animal.
- Personalized jewelry that represents their pet. For example, dog sympathy gifts could include a pet memorial bracelet with charms such as a paw print, dog food bowl, bone, etc. You can also engrave the names of the pet on necklaces or rings.
- Donate to a local animal shelter in their name.
- Plant a tree in their honor in their favorite park (with permission, of course).
- Name a star after the pet or the family and give them a map that shows its location.
- Create a personalized holiday ornament to remind them of their pet during the holidays.
- A personalized bird feeder. This is particularly appropriate if the pet they lost was a bird.
- Useful, unique gifts like coasters or a bottle opener with an image or engraving paying tribute to the pet.
- A personalized storybook to show an adventure featuring them and their dog or other playful pet.
- A memorial bookmark with a poem about loving animals or friends after they are gone.
- A dog tag. This may seem like a more masculine type of jewelry, but anyone can wear it! It also doubles as a keychain or can hang from the rearview mirror in a vehicle.
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Pet Loss Sympathy Gifts of Comfort
Instead of or in addition to commemorative sympathy gifts for pet loss, you may also wish to support your friend or family member with something that brings them comfort. Providing service or sending sympathy gift baskets can help relieve stress while they are taking the time they need to grieve.
- Bring them food. Any time a friend or family member experiences a tragedy, it is a great idea to bring them a meal or their favorite treat. During the grieving process, many people will forget about eating. Others will appreciate the comfort food as a pick-me-up. One great thoughtful option created for someone grieving is the Pet Loss Sympathy Package, which includes soup, rolls, cookies, and a ladle in a beautifully put together box.
- Give them a cozy blanket or weighted blanket to wrap up in. You could even turn it into a gourmet gift basket by adding a mug, some cocoa mix, and fuzzy socks.
- Give them a gift card to a restaurant, movie theater, or spa. This way, they can enjoy a relaxing night out or get a massage to relieve stress.
- Send them flowers to brighten their home for a few days—or a potted plant that will last longer. You can also try one of these great alternatives to flowers for sympathy gifts.
- Offer to run errands, such as grocery shopping, to lighten their load.
- Help them clean up or hire a cleaning service.
- Give them a journal and a nice pen to document memories of their pet or jot down feelings as they heal.
- Send them a box or basket with treats or pampering products like lotion, bath salts, and soft slippers.
- Give them a gift that will help distract them, such as a zen garden, or a coloring book with colored pencils.
- Offer to organize a memorial service in honor of their beloved animal friend. Prepare some kind words and get other friends and family members involved.
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Pet Loss Sympathy Gift Baskets
Along with giving a pet memorial gift of comfort or service, a creative gourmet gift basket is a great way to show sympathy and that you are there for your friend. Assembling a pet sympathy gift basket doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate—just well-thought-out. You can include items in the gift basket that your friend enjoys or that memorialize their pet.
It’s possible to search for dedicated, pre-assembled pet loss gourmet gift baskets or purchase the items separately and assemble it yourself. Any of the ideas mentioned above would be great additions to your gift basket, and here are a few more suggestions:
- Include a candle they can use during a vigil or memorial service. You can also purchase a candle holder that has their beloved pet engraved into it. Whenever it’s lit, they’ll be reminded of their pet.
- Give a photo stone that features their favorite picture of their pet. Photo stones can be used either to mark the final resting place of their pet or placed on a shelf or wall of their home.
- Provide your friend with their favorite chocolate candy or treat as a way to show them that you’re thinking of them during this difficult time.
- Print the image of their pet onto a water bottle that’s stuffed with their favorite treats.
- Give a small pin in the shape of a paw print, collar, or animal that can be pinned to a backpack, purse, or bag so they can carry the memory of their pet with them wherever they go.
- Include books that discuss how to deal with the loss of pets or how to say goodbye to their furry friend. There are many books published by doctors, grief counselors, and therapists that provide your friend with professional advice on how to get through this trying time.
- Include a car sticker or decal in the shape of their pet that they can include on their rear or side windows.
- Write a card that includes words of comfort, assuring them things will be okay and that you’re there to support them.
- Consider including a few flowers they can either put on display near their pet's grave or urn. Flowers like orchids, lilies, or roses are all great choices.
- Give a small potted plant (real or fake) in a pot engraved with their pet’s image. You can also decorate or paint the pot with paw prints, collars, pet toys, or their pet’s name.
- Include a blanket that has their pet printed onto it that they can curl up with.
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Grieving For Our Beloved Pets
Grieving is a highly individual experience. Some people find grief following the loss of a pet comes in stages, where they experience different feelings such as denial, anger, guilt, depression, and eventually acceptance and resolution. Others find that their grief is more cyclical, coming in waves, or a series of highs and lows. The lows are likely to be deeper and longer at the beginning and then gradually become shorter and less intense as time goes by. Still, even years after a loss, a sight, a sound, or a special anniversary can spark memories that trigger a strong sense of grief.
Did you know that 9 out of 10 Americans consider their pet part of their family? It’s no surprise that the loss of a furry, feathered, or scaly friend feels equivalent to losing a human family member for many people. Most of us want to be comforted when we lose somebody important to us. That also applies to grieving pet owners. Gifts for pet loss show someone that you’re thinking about them and want to send good wishes.