Remembering Niko

Remembering the journey

Before it’s Time to Say Goodbye

with 20 comments

beautiful boy in the August sunshine (8/08)

Losing your companion is difficult enough. I’m putting this page together to let you know some things to think about before that day comes. I hope it helps….

You can NEVER take too many pictures! Once they are gone, you have no more opportunities for this, and no matter how big your collection seems, it will suddenly not seem like enough.

Treat yourself to keepsakes.

  • The crayola molding clay is excellent for taking paw prints and is non toxic and not sticky. I took several impressions of Niko’s paws. There is a great video on getting the perfect imprint on the Paw Prints Jewelry site (see below for more on that). I even used mine to get Niko’s paw prints shrunk down and tattooed onto my right ankle. Now he will always walk with me.
  • Crayola’s non toxic, washable finger paints are great for creating paw prints on paper or canvas.
  • Milestones makes a Paw Print Kit that you can use to make stepping stones.
  • My favorite keepsake is my silver pendant from Paw Prints Jewelry. I was told about this site from a friend, but balked at the prices. However, I went ahead and purchased a pendant and I love it. I am SO very glad I did this.
  • Nose print and paw print jewelry is available from a few sites,  where they take a mold of your dog’s (or cat’s) nose or paw and cast it in solid sterling silver. Try 4 Paws ForeverJane Wear or Uncommon Goods or Sugarloaf.
  • Shadow boxes are another wonderful thing. You can put anything in them. Perhaps a photo, a clipping of hair, a scrap from a favorite toy, an imprint or paw print. Your call. If you’re not that crafty, a local frame shop can help you put something really nice together.
  • Color photo books are also common now among online photo printers like ShutterFly. The come out wonderfully and are nice to have when you want something you can grab and flip through any time.
  • Paintings and keepsake boxes are a nice way to honor your friend too. A member of our Lymphoma Heart Dog Angels group passed on this site. The same member also passed on a site for someone that does ceramic artwork with paw prints.
  • Photo etched ornaments are a beautiful addition to the Christmas tree.

My custom Niko print pendant

Do take a clipping or two of  your baby’s fur. You will want to touch it again.

Decide on cremation or burial well before you’re near end. It’s much easier to make this decision when things are going well. While we never like thinking about it, it’s a relief once it’s decided.

If you are going with a burial, think of a good spot or two that you’d like as their final resting place. Then decide what you want to do with the space – plant a garden or a tree. I decided on a weeping cherry for Niko. I also decided I wanted a head stone. I could not order this in advance, but knowing I wanted this helped. We ended up getting our’s through “Calling all Dogs“. They did a beautiful job. They also do urns and ornaments.

If you hope to euthanize at home, have a plan and a back up plan. For us, we had our regular vet on stand by, and a home euthanasia doctor’s information as well, just in case. I did not want to take Niko into the vet for this unless it was an emergency. He hated going to the vet (save for his acupuncture at South Paws – he loved that!).

Also take note of emergency vet clinics in your area, and have directions printed somewhere – just in case.  You don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to a crisis and not know where to go or how to get there. It is difficult to prepare for this, but it’s a nice piece of mind. The most important thing during your fur baby’s last days / weeks / months, is to enjoy life with you.

Snap shot of my Niko folder with over 600 objects (including additional folders of pics). It will never be enough….


Written by rememberingniko

February 12, 2010 at 5:48 pm

20 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. This is such great information. And so true, especially about the pictures! I would also add, make at least one video, if you can, before they are really sick. I treasure the video I have of Gadget so much. Never knew things would change so soon after. And now I am really strongly considering a paw print tattoo, too!

    Sharon Wachsler

    November 27, 2010 at 10:43 pm

  2. Was thinking of you and Niko today…had been to this site but not this page. Great advice, and so is the additional advice of doing videos. Ochi is an almost 13 year old Shiloh Shepherd now, don’t know if you ever saw her at SouthPaws. She tore her ACL a few weeks ago, going the non-surgical route and she’s doing well, but given the age, she’s definitely in the “Every day is a gift” time frame. That’s realy true for all these amazing creatures all the time, but when they are in the “Geriatric” category (only learned last year there was a post-senior category!) you think about it more often…SO glad you said the exception to the “Hate going to the vet rule” was when he came to see us:)!!

    monique anthis-hunt

    September 19, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    • Monique – Have you been following John and Schoep’s story? Reminds me how special an old soul is. I hope your baby is feeling better soon and has many happy days still to come.


      September 21, 2012 at 7:52 pm

      • I had seen the story and of course the picture, which makes me cry every time, but have not been following it…too close to a similar situation. Ochi now is suffering from probable degenerative myelopathy. Acupuncture helps, along with exercise, B12 shots, craniel sacral work, massage, supplements, homeopathy, etc. and with each dog, I learn stuff and am amazed by my dogs and how they deal with it, but to protect myself a bit, I pull back from reading things that are too depressing Ochi did have a great 13th birthday, so happy about that! But cried New Year’s Eve thinking it most likely is our last one together on earth, praying that it isn’t. Know you know what that’s like!!

        monique anthis-hunt

        January 2, 2013 at 12:26 am

  3. Lost our big baby December 26, 2013. Thurman left behind his little sister. He was 10 and she is heartbroken. She is getting better but always looks for him outside in our big fenced in yard. I had gotten them both a rawhide bone for a Christmas present and he never got to eat his and she won’t either. Bailey just carries it from room to room where he use to lay down. It’s been in my office in the house for about 10 days now. I trip over it but I don’t have the heart to throw it out. We had Thurman cremated. He was not feeling well for a few months. In and out of the vets, breathing heavy, couldn’t get comfortable and then the day after Christmas I noticed a lump on his side by his ribs. He was 120 pounds and was always pretty stocky and you would never have known it was a lump. I had left work for the day and my husband took Thurman at noon to the vets that he has been seeing since he was 8 weeks old. They could not tell if it was a tumor, spleen, kidney issue or what but he was obviously uncomfortable. The vet said we were not bad parent’s for not seeing it because of his size it was hard to tell. We decided on surgery to remove whatever it was to make him comfortable. The vet could not tell with the x-rays or sonogram so opening him up was the only thing to do, we did not want him to suffer anymore. We did tell him before surgery to not make any heroic attempts to bring him back if his heart stops if they found it to be cancerous because we are not financially able to handle that cost since my husband is out of work and it would be so painful for our Thurman. Thurman looked at me one last time when he walked down the hall to the surgical room to be prepped. We got the call at 4 that he did not make it. His heart stopped after the vet removed a football size tumor that was constricting his aorta, intestines and stomach. We immediately went to the vet hospital and saw him for the last time. He looked so peaceful. We made sure we got a lock of his beautiful black and white fur and a couple paw prints in play doh. I’m glad we did this. We had him cremated and he is now in a large wooden box about the size of a jewelry box. His collar and leash are inside and the crematorium made a paw print out of concrete too. I am still heart broken. The vet said Thurman would not have wanted us to go through the pain of him having to have chemo so it was time for him to go. Bailey keeps us going but my husband being out of work breaks down almost every day in his office where Thurman would lay when I was not home. I just miss having two dogs but cannot have another one, not now. We live in New York state and the winters are bitter cold and with me working full time and hopefully him going to work soon it would be too difficult and Bailey just is not into other dogs. We tried having her visit with our daughter’s 6 month old Burmese Mountain dog but that did not go well. Bailey was the runt of the litter and Thurman was the biggest and she actually turned out to be the dominant one of the two. Oh well, some day. Rainbow Bridge keeps me going as well as another story I found. God Bless and thanks for the posting. It helped. I hope you are having new adventures with a new dog. My dogs were rescued from the local SPCA.


    January 19, 2014 at 10:55 pm

  4. thank you for this info I have to have my dog of 12 years put down this week and I am unable to think straight. it was so kind of you to pass on this info. thank you again

    Carrie Hartman

    February 5, 2014 at 9:43 pm

  5. Happened to come across your website just now. Our Pepsi is almost 12, and the vet has told us that she may have a few days or weeks, while I hope she has many, many years. She has been diagnosed with a palm sized mast cell tumor by her hind legs. We opted quality of life over surgery based on the Vet’s opinion. I am going to miss her, and cry while at work, as Pepsi knows when I cry and gets stressed. Oh God, I am going to miss her!


    March 3, 2014 at 9:06 pm

  6. Just stumbled on your site. In March this year we got our first puppy, we were responsible, we waited until the time was right. My daughter was 25 by then but we found we could devote the time a pet deserved. He was her baby. He was the most beautiful black pug, so lively, so energetic, a real delight. He woke up the whole household, we did things together that we hadn’t done for years, we went walking, to the beach through the woods, we loved being dog owners. We’d had him only 8 months when he became I’ll, he had pancreatitis. Our vet treated him and I duly walked him to the vet a couple of weeks later for his checkup. He got the all clear, instructions on diet and we had a chat about which beach we would visit that weekend. On the way home Winston was very skittish, I was relieved when we turned into our road. He ran on a little way in front, on the lead, when suddenly, he turned and chased after a passing car. He was so heart stopped as I heard it hit him, I hadn’t even had time to scream. I picked up his little limp body and I lost him there and then. A friend raced me back to the same vet who tried her best but it was too late. Me, my husband and daughter are all distraught and I cannot accept that he is gone after such a short time.


    December 7, 2014 at 2:49 am

  7. I can not thank you enough for posting this. Our ten year old German Shepherd /boxer mix, Tess, had gotten cancer. We did a surgery to remove a mass and it returned. It has been six months and seven days since her surgery. My family decided this past week they were going to put her to sleep today. I found this post last night and asked my parents if we could have a vet come to our home and have her pass in our backyard. It was her favorite place and she’d always tilt her head and have so much excitement if you said “outback”. We did not think of this being an option prior to reading your post. We called a vet and they managed to find time to do this today for us. Our sweet Tess passed at about 1:30pm. I am forever grateful to you in helping us find an easier way to part with our first family dog. I am sure Tess is just as grateful. ❤



    February 27, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    • Kristie – I am so very sorry for your loss of Tess. I am glad to hear you were able to help her pass at home. Thank you for your kind words. Take care during this difficult time. ❤


      February 28, 2015 at 2:24 pm

  8. Thank you so very much to all of the ideas! We are going to put our beautiful LuLu down tomorrow… These ideas will keep her alive and with us forever, after she is gone. LuLu will be forever loved and cherished. Thank you.


    July 21, 2015 at 2:59 am

  9. Thank you so much for this. My baby (Dave, 15 yr old cat 🙂 is at the end of our road together and I will be putting him down in the next day. I have never known such exquisite heartache. Your ideas are helping me find a way to keep a piece of him with me 🙂


    December 16, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    • I’m sorry you’ll be saying your goodbyes to Dave. May you always hold your memories dear.


      December 16, 2015 at 8:24 pm

  10. Can you please tell me more about your favorite pendant from paw print jewelry? I was considering this but since it looks like it is pure silver was worried it would be soft and bend and damage easily and I know its something I would want to wear a lot.


    January 8, 2016 at 12:32 am

    • It is a little soft, so it does get dinged a little. But I love it. There are surely others out there now… I got it 8 or 9 years ago.


      January 11, 2016 at 1:40 am

  11. I stumbled upon this page by accident and I can’t thank you enough for sharing such wonderful and thoughtful ideas. I would really like to get a tattoo of my fur baby Savannah’a paw prints. She is an APT and her paws are not little. How did you get Niko’a paw prints shrunk down to a smaller size for your tattoo? What process did you use for taking his prints?
    I hope you still see questions here.


    August 16, 2016 at 1:28 am

    • Hi Stefanie! I still see questions. I used crayola molding clay to take the print, and then scanned it in with high contrast. You can then make it bigger or smaller. You can also talk to the artist you intend to have do the tattoo about other options. 🙂


      August 16, 2016 at 4:03 pm

  12. Thank you so much for your sweet, personal story. We are going through the “end times” with our first pet, Stacey, our first cat-16yr. The other fur child starting his “last days” with cancer, is Tazzy, our 13yr old dog, whom we also cherish. You’ve given us such good advice! Thank you!

    Karla Dennis

    July 15, 2017 at 9:04 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: