I've said it before, and I'll say it again...our pets are family, too. Losing a beloved pet is just like losing a member of our own family. </3
It's a fact of life that our pets pass away. Almost all of us have unforgettable memories of that special dog or cat or pony or fish-in-particular, that still resides in our childhoods, even if not in our current lives.
I have been blessed with several fur friends and babies throughout my life. My family had several cats and dogs and fish throughout my childhood and teenage years. Even a couple horses and a potbelly pig at one point! But there are those few that really stand out in my memories, and made an indention, if you will, on my young heart:
-There was Kimberly, my first pet goldfish, whom I named after the Pink Ranger
-There was Tuff, my first puppy, an Australian Shepherd that I got on my 7th birthday
-There was Alexandria, my bunny, who lived in my room first, and then outside
-There was Spongebob, my beautiful oranda goldfish, who lived a very long time for an oranda goldfish
-There was Gracie Lou, who came into my life at age 12
(-And there is Sue Ellen, our sweet and cuddly family cat we have now! She was my granddad's first.)
Then, of course, there was all their inevitable ends:
-I'm not sure what happened to goldfish Kimberly, I think my Mom told me she went to live at the vet's one day. (As far as I know, she is still there!)
-Tuff was sadly run over by a neighbor's truck (his hobby was chasing moving tire wheels).
-Alexandria was adopted into a family that had more bunnies to keep her better company.
-Spongebob lived a long and happy life. I cleaned his tank one day, and the next day, he was afloat.
-Gracie Lou was with me for 19 years. You can read her story here.
My black and white angel Gracie...in particular, I don't think I will ever get over her loss. It often doesn't seem like she is really gone. I can still hear her uniquely loud purr, and her super girly, high-pitched meow.
When we moved to our new home last year, we had to leave her behind in our old backyard, where she was buried. I talked to my sister Cassie about my feelings surrounding the fact that we'd have to leave her there...
And then Cassie came up with an amazing idea. Sort of like an urn, she suggested getting a container and filling it with dirt from her grave. So that's just what I did. I bought a clear glass container with a latch lid at Wal-Mart, gently grazed some dirt from the top of her grave before we moved (and also added in some flower petals from the vine growing above her). This precious dirt came with us to our new home. I added a label to the side of the glass, and set it next to her picture:
I know many people live in apartments or rent homes and do not have the luxury of doing what I got to. But if you are ever in the situation in which you must leave a piece of your heart behind, like I did, I hope you find comfort in remembering my sister's wonderful idea. Having that dirt, as simple and lowly as it is, has brought me so much comfort.
Have you experienced the loss of a pet? How did you memorialize them?