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 Forever, Jane 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.
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.