Our dogs are very special to us.
Whether they’re part of a large family or your sole companion, four-footers are often as precious to us as any other friend or relative. In fact, dog owners often prefer their furry friends over other people, truth be told.
So, it’s really no surprise that we’re always on the lookout for ways to memorialize our dogs‘ lives after they’ve passed. There are a lot of ways that people go about this, from home movies to treasuring some of their favorite chewy toys; we find a way to remember them.
Quite often, though, it’s something we only think about after they have crossed the rainbow bridge.
Below, we are going to take a look at some of the best ways to preserve memories of your dog that you can use right now — while he’s still running around, wagging his tail, and begging for treats.
As we all know, there’s just no time like the present.
1. Have Your Photos Stylishly Painted
There are websites that can transform your old film reels and photos into a digital format, thus ensuring that they never perish or corrode in a box in the attic. What is possibly less widely known is that you can even transform old photos into real paintings.
Sites such as Instapainting are able to produce high-quality paintings from photographs so that you not only keep your treasured memories but properly memorialize them. The really surprising bit is just how quickly it can all be done too.
You are able to select from various stylistic options, as well as different mediums, to arrive at the right feel for you. While photos are great, there’s something very special about a painted pet portrait that just feels unique.
This option allows you to not only preserve a special moment but actually turn it into the highlight of a room. You could frame an entire living area around a gorgeous portrait above the fireplace or on a sideboard.
Be sure to check out our guide to the best pet portrait services if you’re interested in some more options!
2. Sketch or Write About Your Dog’s Life
It may not be the perfect option for everyone, but learning to sketch and write about your dog is a fantastic way to generate highly personalized memories. You don’t have to be Rembrandt or Shakespeare either, since it’s a private thing for you.
Making sketches, or writing little poems and vignettes, is one of the most emotionally engaging ways you could possibly honor your dog’s life. In this way, you will not only be making a record of your time together but also expressing yourself at the same time.
There are many approaches you could take with this idea. You could either opt for matter-of-fact realism, or you could take a flight of fancy. Either way works, and the great thing is that you will be weaving your dog into the tapestry of your life this way.
What really makes this idea wonderful is how open it is to possibilities. You could explore your relationship with your dog in an infinite number of ways, unlocking your creative potential along the way too.
3. Create a Pet Photo Album
Photo albums have been a type of family keepsake and treasure more or less since the dawn of photography, or at least since the technique became commercially available to folks. We still pore over old photos to this day, despite newer technology.
So, consider curating all of your pet’s photos into a single album. This will give you the chance to reminisce about your doggo or share your memories of him with friends.
As previously noted, there are options to have photographs digitized and stored in a more modern way, although this may not be to everyone’s liking. After all, not all of us are very keen on the digital world, and some prefer to touch the physical object instead.
There is definitely something very special about sitting down at the coffee table and opening up those large binder covers to reveal a treasure trove of photographs. It’s a genuine moment of family reflection whenever it happens.
4. Preserve Your Pet’s Paw Print
It’s not uncommon to see a paw print in cement that was laid decades ago, where the owner decided to leave a memory of his or her dog for posterity. Unsurprisingly, there are alternatives to the cement option, which pet-lovers seem to love using.
The Pearhead Pet Paw Print Kit is exactly such an alternative, which will help you memorialize one of your pup’s paw prints. It’s a kit containing all the paper cards and ink you’ll need to create highly detailed prints of your dog’s paws, and the whole process isn’t anywhere near as messy as you’d think.
With the clean-touch ink pad, you can make as many prints of as many paws as you’d like without getting covered in ink or messing up the area. It’s also a great idea for when you have kids around the place, and it should keep everyone busy for ages.
This kit works just like you’d think. You first place a paw on the ink pad until it’s nicely covered, and then you place the inky paw onto the card provided to produce the print. You may have to hold the paws quite firmly to ensure a clean transfer without smudging.
This provides a nice, cost-effective way of involving yourself and other family members in memorializing your dog. If you’re looking for an option with more bells and whistles on it, then Baby Mushroom Store’s Kit could be for you.
This second option costs a little more but comes with a host of extra features you might be interested in. There is a frame included, as well as a stencil. Instead of a dog-safe paint or ink print, you place the print into clay, which then fits snugly into the frame.
With options like these, you can make really lovely decorations to put up on the wall, ensuring that your dog has pride of place among your special memories. Right next to all the kindergarten paintings and other little things we like to keep.
5. Keep Your Dog’s Old Toys Safe
Just like with us humans, dogs grow over time and change their habits. For this reason, they leave behind old toys, leashes, and all the gifts we’ve given them.
These things often get lost somewhere along the way, never to be seen again.
But sometimes it just seems right to keep a special item somewhere safe, so that we can see it from time to time.
A nice way of keeping hold of things like these is to create a special space for them, either in the form of a cabinet or closet area or in some other form of storage. Having a collection of old toys is a direct route down memory lane and is really worth doing.
It needn’t be a chore or take up very much space but can be a simple thing that you simply keep adding to as the years travel by. Before you know it, you could have a pretty great collection of items that grow with meaning over time.
You could even wind up putting these memory-laden objects into a display of some kind to properly keep them in the honorable way they deserve to be kept. Display cases work very well for this and there are a wide range of these available. From shelf and bookcase versions, all the way to tabletop display cubes.
6. Sett Up a Doggie Journal
Many people write diaries and journals to catalog aspects of their lives. Whether important or not, people enjoy doing these kinds of creative tasks, and there’s no reason you can’t create a journal for your lovable fur baby too.
Setting up a journal specifically to jot down your relationship with your dog could be very much like the sketching and creative writing idea above, except that it would function more like a diary than a series of momentary sketches or poems.
Not that sketches and poems couldn’t be a feature, of course, but journaling is a unique approach. You could speak very straightforwardly about your journey with your dog, all the while deepening that bond through your writing.
You might even find that your diary habit becomes a lot broader so that you start jotting down all kinds of things that go on during your day. That way, you’ll be writing your story right alongside the story of your dog, just as it is in life.
Journaling is another way to delve into yourself at the same time as you’re scribbling down the day’s doggie events. Think of it as a story that you will want to read in time, when everything is nice and quiet, and your mind drifts to that particular day with your dog.
7. Explore Modern Memorial Options
Having mentioned many of the traditional methods for building up our stores of memories, it may be high time to mention an option on the technological side of things: Digital memory storage services. Not only can physical photos be digitally copied and stored via these services, but almost everything else can too.
There are a large number of options available along these lines, such as dedicated pet sites such as Crossing the Rainbow Bridge, which help folks keep memories safe. There are also online journaling options that enable you to store information of almost any kind imaginable, and this holds true of your fondest memories with your dog too.
The really neat trick with these modern options is that you can store multiple forms of things all in one go, and all in the same place. To illustrate, most of these types of digital journals will allow you to store writing, drawings, photos, videos, and more.
So, let’s say you have a video of you and your dog in the park, which you’ve taken on your phone. You can upload it to today’s date on your journaling app’s calendar and add your own text to the video attachment. The journal will log the time and date of the video, as well as where it was taken.
Then, at any time you like, you can return to the entry and add further additions. You can also link one entry to another if they seem similar to you in some way, or you can change links if you wish to. There’s almost no limit to what you can do.
Taking images or text from the web is easy, and you can append these to any videos or other entries you decide to make. You can also make the journal available to friends and family so that they can add to it whenever they want to as well.
It’s an easy way to create an interactive memory bank of your dog’s life using multiple types of mediums. For those of us who are a little older, a younger person can easily demonstrate how they work since they’re actually quite simple once you know how to use them.
There are a lot of these digital options out there, from recording apps to journals, and you can easily find them wherever you get your apps from. They all work well across multiple devices, too, so anything that connects to the internet should be just fine.
Some Final Thoughts: Make Your Mutt Memories Now!
We often look back at things with a deeply sentimental sense. We might sometimes wish we had done things differently or kept more memories of certain things, but once it’s passed, there’s nothing to be done about it.
That’s why it’s such a good idea to get ahead of those kinds of regrets by proactively creating these memories and the means of keeping hold of them while your dog is still here generating them with you.
There are many ways to do this kind of thing, from the very simple, all the way to digital storage devices, and the like. Whichever means suits you best, the main thing is that you find a safe and secure way to keep them for when you want to reminisce.
This is a guest post written by Lauren Webber. Lauren is a mommy, lover of sweets, and a voracious writer. You can find her taking selfies with Eve, running with Taffy or doing head stands.