This year has been a difficult one for me in terms of loss. But it got me thinking: What are the best ways to honor the dead once we’ve said our final goodbyes? Not just our human loved ones, of course, but also the four-footed friends we hold near and dear to our hearts.

Sometimes children can be our best source of comfort. Recently, my daughter Indigo used her art skills to help our family cope with the loss of an animal we loved so very much during her short time on this planet. Indigo used natural elements to create a glittery shrine in her memory. Now we see this special remembrance every day and can even meditate by it if we choose.

Here are 14 additional ways we can honor our dearly departed animal …

15 ways to honor your dearly departed animal
The heartfelt shrine my daughter Indigo created.

1. Trace their name in the sand.

2. Watch the sun rise or set—and mediate on how they brightened your life.

3. Plant a tree in their honor. Watching a living plant sprout new growth year after year is therapeutic to the soul.

4. Donate to an animal charity in your furbaby’s name, or volunteer to help other animals in need.

5. Get a tattoo.

6. Place a special garden statue or an engraved stone of remembrance.

7. Save their paw print. It can be as simple as a lasting image made with an inkpad and acid-free paper (as my sister did for her kitty Sterling), or something fancier, like this keepsake mold of their print.

8. Wear a special dog tag or use a key chain that reminds you of them.


9. Adopt again. Sometimes opening your heart to a new life needing love is the best way to heal.

10. Create a high-quality photo book showcasing their life. (I love the products from Pinhole Press.)

11. Create a memorial video, which I did many years ago to honor Dakota, my first Reiki teacher. Watching this still brings tears to my eyes!

12. Create a beautiful piece of jewelry. I especially love these unique nose print necklaces.

13. Donate unused food and supplies to the local shelter.

14. Enlarge your favorite photo into a work of art. Costco, Shutterfly and Walgreens all offer lots of options; PhotoBarn takes your photo next-level by printing it onto a beautiful piece of wood.

Tell me: How did you cope with the loss of an animal you loved to the stars (and back)? I’d love to hear about the special ways you continue to honor their memory and life in the months and years following their passing.

26 thoughts on “15 ways to honor your dearly departed animal”

  1. My friend loss her horse King unexpected in May and I loss my Arab this June. I held my first Meditation class to honor both of these horses. It was beautiful Terri, her sister Carol and I were all crying during the meditation class. I held the class in a field with my horse Buddy, Ombre and Hector. It was amazing as they all took turns coming up to us and visiting and sharing Reiki. How truly amazing these animals are. I am so blessed to know Reiki and have such great friends.


  2. Hi Kathleen, around 10 years ago my parents had our first pet, a African Grey Parrot, my dad always wanted to have one again since he lost the one he brought with him from Angola, so me and my brother got him one, but we didnt know that he was sick, he came with a fungi dissesse called Aspergillosis. Still he had him during 7 years, me and him had creates a great bond, i was the only one he let pick him up and give him the meds, so i starting study about parrots and created a website in portuguese of all the info i could about all the things to give a good life and conditions to parrots in our homes. When we was very sick i got very sad in desperade and started looking for more info and found Reiki but that time only books and didnt know how it worked and didnt know anyone that did Reiki, so he died when i got him from the vet he waited to get home and took his last breath, i was really sad i never cried so much in from of someone. I dedicated my website to him and a while after i got my galah cockatoo and she changed my life again too, i started studying animal behavior and trainning and keep trying to help others who ask me, and i found and amazing person (very much like Kathleen, her name is Eva) she is my Reiki teacher, i have been taking Reiki and animal comunication courses with her. My galah cockatoo name is Lotus, and she helped me step up from the mud and bloom, she is a true angel, and learn everyday with her and she even helps me in my Reiki sessions. Thank you for all your amazing work. I send you a big hug of Light <3

  3. I write a letter to my animal that has passed. Describing when and how I met them, all the important events that happened during the time frame of their life, and what I have learned from them.

  4. Update:

    Blackie is doing great! So much better than I thought he would at this point and I am cautiously optimistic that we have restored at least some kidney function. We had bloodwork drawn yesterday and will have results on Tuesday. And I will keep you posted as to how it’s going but there is no doubt he is doing better.

    His energy is much stronger, he has gone from 10 to 11 pounds in a week, and you would never know by looking at him that a week and a half ago he was given a two week life expectancy.

    We had a Reiki healer and life coach come visit us at our home this week and she suggested maybe I should be practicing animal Reiki for a living haha. I can tell you that as the Reiki flows I am increasing dissatisfied at work.

    Maybe the best way for me to honor all the animal friends I have lost is by simply practicing animal Reiki. As often as I can.

    Will keep you posted.

  5. I’ve taken on a lot of kitties over the past 7 years, and have lost quite a few to various things. I have one great guy, Blackie, who was born with polycystic kidney disease. I didn’t find out about it until just a few days ago and he’s in Stage 4 renal failure right now. He had the best hospital care but he’s home now and I’m about to do my first IV in years.

    He’s taking the energy, first time I’ve had a Reiki recipient shake during a session which I’m taking as a good sign, but he’s still declining.

    How do I cope? Mostly I cry a lot. It doesn’t get easier for me, losing these guys.

    Prayers and healing energy for Blackie very much appreciated. He’s a black Siamese living in Spring, Texas and his brother’s name was Wolf.

    1. I’m sorry to hear about Blackie, Reiki love and light to him! My sister went through this same disease with her kitty and wrote a blog about giving fluids – I hope this will be helpful for you: https://animalreikisource.com/how-to-guide-to-subcutaneous-fluids/ Reiki was a great support and comfort for her cat, Sterling, and he lived much longer than expected, with a good quality of life. As much as possible if we can be in the present moment with and open heart with them while they are still with us, just “be” love every moment! This will help us to find gratitude and comfort amidst the tough times. Blackie is lucky to have you!

      1. Thank you for the kind words and the link, I will definitely read it next. I gave Blackie 160 mls this morning when he started to get antsy and the needle pullled out. And I said that’s enough lol.

        Getting that needle in was much harder than I thought it would be. So you and your sister’s help are very much appreciated.

        It’s not his time!

  6. Kathleen -I am so sorry for your loss. We lost two beloved cats a year ago, Betsy and Angus. One thing that we did was adopt two beautiful cats abandoned in our neighborhood, Kallie and Jake.

    When Angus passed in our arms, I chanted the way you taught me. He loved a good chant!

  7. My condolences, Kathleen. I have also been mourning the loss of my Sati, who passed on Halloween day last year, while my husband and I were in Hawai’i celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary. Her loss inspired me to create a forum where animal lovers can gather for support and friendship: http://www.worldwidepetloveforum.com

    To celebrate her anniversary, I wrote the following post–we share some of the same thoughts! Here it is:


    May your grief transmute into joy to you and the animals who will succeed your angel.


    1. Thanks Sonia,
      Your online forum is a wonderful way to honor Sati! And what a beautiful post you wrote – yes indeed, we were thinking alike 🙂 Keep up the great work you are doing to support so many people who love animals! Blessings xo

    2. That was beautiful Sonia, thank you for that.

      I will visit your forum tonight, what a great way to honor our lil’friends.


  8. Oh Kathleen I’m so sorry to hear that you too have had a “difficult” year with loss and therefore grief. I thought of your Dakota so much as our Rudy was in his last months. Someone told me that Rudy “left on Reiki” Don’t we all? (Spiritual Energy). In Rudy’s short 5 years with us he took me very deep into my spiritual Reiki practice.

    I love your list of ways to honor our animal companions. There are so many wonderful ways to honor those we love that are now in Spirit. The shrine that Indigo created is so beautiful. It touches my heart and soul. Thank you for sharing it.

    We named a star in the Lynx constellation after our kitty Rudy. I had a heart locket engraved for our kitty Sammy and later his sister Katy with some of their fur inside. It is my “furry heart” that I wear every day.

    I had a ring made with Rudy’s paw print. I love planting a tree in someone’s name and memory. Donating to a rescue is always a wonderful way to honor our fur kids.

    Thank you for all that you do. Much love and many blessings.

  9. Kathleen, Thank you for the wonderful suggestions to honor our furry companions we have lost. One thing I like to do is write a poem or song in honor of them. Cosette, our collie, transitioned in 2009 at the age of 12. I wrote “Collie Lullaby” for her while she was still with us and sang it to her often, and now sing to her, sometime when I do your Rainbow Bridge of Light exercise to connect with her. Below are the lyrics, to be sung to a lullaby tune:

    Collie Lullaby
    for Cosette

    Some collies have big brown eyes,
    Some collies have a beautiful nose,
    Some collies like their pads rubbed,
    Because they think they have toes.

    This collie has big brown eyes,
    This collie has a beautiful nose,
    This collie gets pad-rubbies,
    Because she thinks she has toes.

    When she was just a puppy,
    All nose and paws and head,
    She wouldn’t touch pads on linoleum,
    And did not want to be led.

    Now she’s all grown and older,
    With gray hairs on her nose,
    She is so much bolder,
    In where she walks and goes.

    Some collies have a beautiful nose,
    Some collies have big brown eyes,
    When this one drifts off to sleep,
    She gets pad-rubs and never cries.

    Instead she runs after rabbits,
    Plays tag with friends in her dreams,
    And herds her masters everywhere,
    Chasing ducks from creeks and streams.

    Some collies have big brown eyes,
    Some collies have a beautiful nose
    Some collies like their pads rubbed,
    Because they think they have toes.

    1. Thanks for sharing that beautiful song Conrad! What a wonderful expression of all that she brought to your life. I love that you shared it with her before she passed, but still have it now to honor her. So touching! Blessings!

  10. Thanks for your kind words, Kathleen. I forgot to mention this in my previous post. Before the mobile vet had arrived at the house on October 28th, we honored her, in her presence, with the Gratitude meditation for Transitioning Animals. That brought so much peace to all of us so much that seem to give all, including Aries. That’s one memory I’ll always cherish. Thanks again for all you do and for the wonderful giving person you are. Many blessings, Deanna

  11. Hi Kathleen,

    I’m sorry for your loss. Three days ago (Oct. 28), we had to help our cat, Aries, transition. She would have been 20 years old this March. She’s now with her sister, Chloe, who transitioned almost 3 years ago on Nov. 5, 2014. She was close to 17 years old.
    Unfortunately, I did not know about Reiki when or before Chloe transitioned, but I believe she helped put me on that path after she transitioned. Aries LOVED meditation and Reiki so I had the wonderful opportunity to offer her lots of Reiki prior to her transition. I’ve already done a lot of the things on your list for Aries and Chloe, but will continue to look for other opportunities to honor them. Our family now consists of two humans and 3 surviving cats — one of whom was adopted this past August from the shelter that Aries and Chloe came from, and where I have been volunteering for almost two years. They are such a gift to us, and I’ll always be grateful that we had the opportunity to share our lives so closely. They’re still very much a part of our family, although we relate on a much deeper spiritual connection. Thanks for sharing your suggestions and the beautiful video of Dakota.

  12. Hi Kathleen. I’m so sorry for your recent loss. Thank you for the great suggestions about how to honor a loved one who has died. Your video tribute to Dakota is beautiful and brought tears to my eyes too. The love that Dakota and your family shared is palpable.

    1. Thank you Carol, I loved making that video of Dakota – it was so healing. All of these kinds of tributes are very important ways for us to process and heal our grief. Life is never the same when we lose someone we love, but we can learn to go forward in a new way, and honoring them really helps!

  13. Hi Kathleen. Love your work. I’ve been practicing and teaching Reiki since 1998. Always loved all animals especially dogs. Never had a dog of my own because am allergic to their fur and dander. But my son got his first dog 12 years ago who was also my dog. He was a beautiful Shar-pe called Mr Jeff. Such a character. A pure soul. He taught me so much about unconditional love. He had really bad allergies to food which I have too so we found the expert on Shar-pies and helped with stabilising the condition for him. This Sharpei vet I had attuned to reiki two years earlier. How amazing is this Universe. Sadly Mr Jeff had to be sent to heaven this April. He showed me in a dream that he would come and find me in heaven when I got there. Not quite yet I hope. I connect with him every morning. He sometimes brings other dogs and animals with him. He is so missed and loved. Thank you for all the amazing work you do. As I write this I am getting ready to teach another Reiki class today for one beautiful human. Just love REIKI.
    xxx Janet

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