I’m not going to lie. It has been a rough couple of months for the staff at Valley Vet Clinic. Several staffers had to say goodbye to their beloved pets- including myself. It doesn’t seem to matter if you see in on the horizon or it crashes into you like an unnoticed wave, losing a furry family member is heartbreaking. My little girl died suddenly last night at just 8 months old. I just buried her. I understand that maybe this isn’t the perkiest blog post you’ve ever seen but stay with me, it will be worth it.

Sometimes the aftermath is a haunted place. You swear you hear them around the house, you find a discarded toy they loved, that leftover hair on your jacket. Maybe you stare at photos, maybe you hide them away. There is no proper way to grieve and no matter the differences the love and the heartache are the same. I take comfort keeping my little Amelia close by burying her on my property but there are many ways to honor and remember the relationship you had with your pet.

At VVC, we offer the option of a clay paw-print. They are made, decorated, and baked by our staff. If you want an inside tip, ask for Shania to decorate it. (We all try hard to make them special, but she has a real knack for it.) You also have the option of having ashes from your pet which come back to you in a tasteful wooden box.

If those options don’t seem to capture what you felt for your pet, no worries I have been gathering some ideas. With all my critters coming from shelters, I particularly liked the idea of making a donation in a pet’s name. When you head out to adopt your next little heartbreaker, add a little extra on the adoption fee.

For the craftier amongst us, *cough* Shania *cough* a shadowbox is a lovely option. You can make it as overt or conservative as you like, putting in special items like tags, collars, a little toy, maybe a favorite photo. I do not fall into this category. Mine would look like a class project for a 1st grader.

For people like me, something simpler is in order. Pick out a planter that you can fit your pet’s collar around. Buckle it on, secure with glue, and put whatever plant you like in it. I kind of like the thought of life being associated with my lost pet and getting to see vibrant green leaves or peppy flowers simultaneously when I think of them helps to steer my mind towards our happy memories rather than the sad ones. If your pet didn’t have a collar, using a food or water bowl as a planter can have a similar effect.

Pinterest is a dangerous place to wander to on any day but it can be particularly perilous when you might not be in your best state of mind. That is one way to lose several hours of your day. There are people on there who make collars into picture frames, who make memorial stones, collages, mosaics, plates, jewelry from tags, and mementos from fur. You can custom make a stuffed toy that looks just like your pet. Impressive if not a little creepy for my taste. But hey, whatever floats your boat.

No matter how you grieve your pet know that the staff at VVC is right there with you. If you can’t be there when the time comes we will show your pet all the love and comfort we give our own. And when one day you think of your lost pet and your heart tells you you’re ready to let another one in, we will be right there to celebrate with you and make the bond between you as healthy and as long as possible.