We asked Dogster readers to share stories about how they have honored a dog’s passing:
I have a nose print necklace of his, a tattoo of his paw on my hip where he liked to dig his feet in for neck scratches, and his cremated remains are on a memorial shelf with his collars, bandanas, favorite toys and a photo. Along with a memorial mug with his and my other late dogs’ pictures drawn on, as well as my favorite poem (e.e. cummings’ “I carry your heart with me.” “He’s also the reason I became a dog trainer, so every dog I help in my practice is an ode to him.” — Ettel Edshteyn, New York
Mac passed away at 2 years old, due to being born with a diaphragmatic hernia. Mac traveled everywhere with me and would often be found gently picking up baby mice and bringing them back into the barn. He would then lie down with his “babies,” and I would often find them curled up in his belly hair. Mac also loved frogs of all kinds. He loved everyone he met and was loved by everyone. He was “mine” and glued to my hip — everywhere I went.
When he passed, we had him cremated. My boy loved my gelding, who passed away a few short months before him (pictured right) and we had him cremated as well. Mac’s urn sits atop Rocky’s with photos along with his collars (he was a fashionable dude). We talk about him daily, and never talk of him with sorrow. Instead, we always rejoice and laugh about all our times we had with our sweet Mac. When we see a mouse in the barn or a random frog, we smile and think of our boy. — Kaley Pannone, Pennsylvania
My dog Harley passed shortly before I moved from upstate New York back home to California. I had his ashes and knew I wanted to have a custom box made for them. Before I sold my New York home, I took down two pieces of the cedar fence to the yard that he loved so much and put them in the moving truck. When I got to California, I commissioned an artist and woodworker to use them to make a custom box. The artist used a laser to etch Good Boy into the wood and also used the titanium plates and screws from Harley’s knee surgery as part of the design. It is very special. — Colten Tognazzini, California
I attended a Memorial Art Therapy class at DoveLewis and made some fused glass art with a bit of Zoë’s ashes inside. The art hangs on a small tree-shaped display in my living room, along with her dog tag and a favorite photo. — Melanie Altaras, Oregon
Tennessee passed in October 2015. We got an urn and used a tiny amount of her ashes for Artful Ashes memorial heart. I also have her collar and a tag around the urn. The urn reads: Tennessee April 1, 2003 — October 26, 2015 Beloved Friend and Companion Dog of my Heart. And the back says: If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.” — Candice Gray, Georgia
My mom got me Pal, a rescued Cairn and Yorkshire Terrier mix, from the shelter when I turned 17. My mom had hopes that he would help me with my anxiety and depression. He did. I can say this dog saved my life several times as I found my way in the world as a queer trans guy. When he passed at the age of 14, we had him cremated, and he currently sits on our mantle.
Each year, in October when we set up an altar to honor our ancestors, we include him. His image, his ashes, his favorite toys and special treats sit among the items that were so special to our human loved ones. We spend three days telling stories about those we have lost, including our furry family members. We also tell these stories year-round to our living pups. There is rarely a day that goes by that we don’t say something like “Your older brother loved that particular toy, too” to our living pups. He remains in our hearts, our physical space and in our language.” — Cameron Whitley, Washington