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8 Pet Sympathy Gifts to Ease the Pain of a Dog or Cat’s Death

A sympathy gift will help ease the pain of pet loss; these heartwarming pet memorials and gifts include ways to say goodbye after a beloved dog or cat dies. Grieving pet loss is a sad but important way to heal – and these sympathy gifts and pet memorials will help. This isn’t just a list of pet sympathy gifts and memorials; I also included stories of how real pet owners memorialized their beloved dogs and cats.

pet los memorial gift ideasA ‘You Left Paw Prints On Our Hearts’ Paw Print Pet Memorial Stone with Photo Frame is a simple yet meaningful pet loss gift that features a beloved dog or cat in their happiest moment. Whether you’re grieving the loss of your pet or your helping a grieving friend or loved one say goodbye, you will be touched forever by this sympathy gift. It comes in a beautifully designed box ready for gifting. This pet memorial stone can sit in your garden – or even on your desk or bookshelf. You can create your own tribute to your faithful pet, and personalize the photo the way you want. This is a beautifully crafted stone-like design that looks and feels real, but won’t be too heavy or cumbersome to hold.

If you’re searching for a pet memorial gift for someone whose dog or cat died, you might include this sympathy quote in the card:

“Best friends come in all breeds, shapes, sizes, and colors. Your pet was incredibly special; may you remember the fond memories and keep your beloved dog or cat forever close in your heart.”

8 Pet Loss Sympathy Gifts to Ease the Pain of a Dog or Cat’s Death

Engraved stones, beautiful urns, and online tributes are meaningful ways to memorialize lost dogs and cats. But there may be another types of pet sympathy gifts you’d like to explore. Here, pet owners share how they remember their beloved animals and describe different tributes – including pet memorial services, online dog and cat blogs, and even picture books about their lost pets.

The most important thing to remember is the extent of the grief that accompanies pet loss – especially if guilty feelings are involved in the dog’s or cat’s death. This is a natural part of pet loss. If you feel guilty because of the part you played in your dog or cat’s death, read How to Deal With Guilt After the Loss of Your Beloved Dog.

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” ~ Vicki Harrison.

1. “Forever in my heart” – a special place in her heart and home

pet sympathy gifts dog cat lossPet Memorial Ceramic Picture Frame is a special sympathy gift, and it’s more touching than a plain photo frame. This frame says “No Longer By My Side; Forever in My Heart.” It’s a lovely sympathy gift to give someone grieving pet loss, especially if you can include a recent photo of his or her lost dog or cat.

“When our two very old cats, Harry and Blackie, had to be put down from illness, we did three things,” says cat lover Ian Randall Wilson. “First, my wife and I thought it was important that the house not be empty of an animal presence. We adopted two rescue kittens who were so lively and crazy as kittens are that they occupied our time. Second, we created a picture memorial for Harry and Blackie.

We put out framed photos on a library table and we remember them in happy times, though we still feel a lot of sadness that they’re gone,” says Ian. “Finally, as way of honoring the memory, I put a picture of Blackie on the cover of my first collection of fiction, Hunger and Other Stories. In the picture, he’s on a patch of carpet and I know that any second, he’s coming over to sit in my lap.”

2. A cremation urn for the dog or cat’s ashes

Pet Memorial Gifts and Ideas to Help You Say Goodbye to a Dog or CatA  Classic Paws Series Pet Cremation Urn allows the owner to keep the beloved dog or cat at home forever. The Paw Print series of pet cremation urns are wonderfully designed and slate colored, with hand-carved paw prints. These pet loss memorial urns are true works-of-art; they are hand forged and carved by old-world artisans from India. Each vase comes with a threaded screw-on top for easy and safe installation of your dog’s or cat’s ashes.

This pet loss sympathy gift may seem morbid, but it can be incredibly healing. “Taking my cat’s ashes home was what helped me with the death of Pepper,” says Diahna Husbands. “A company by the name of Heavenly Days gave me her ashes and made a paw print mold. I keep the ashes and mold on my mantel piece, and I was grateful to receive this type of sympathy gift to help me deal with the pain of pet loss. My computer icon is also of my cat, so I always remember her when I log in. I have not gotten a new pet yet. I am not quite ready to move on my cat has been with my family for over 16 years, so it might just take me a little longer to get over my grief.”

3. An online pet memorial or tribute

“Online pet memorials are becoming common on the internet,” says Vetter. “People post a photo and a little life story about the pet. I’ve read many wonderful tributes to dogs who served as family companions, along with cats who curled up in a child’s bed every night for many years. Part of the healing process when you’re grieving pet loss is sharing stories and remembering the pets we love.”

Starting an online dog or cat blog with photos and sympathy messages can be a beautiful gift that helps someone grieve pet loss. If you’re not sure what to say in an online pet memorial, read Words of Comfort for When Your Heart is Broken.

4. A pet memorial service in a garden or park

“I firmly believe in holding some sort of memorial service for a pet,” says animal lover Pam Vetter. “It doesn’t have to be large or expensive. It can be only immediate family at home – but a funeral or memorial helps us honor a life lived, whether it was a human or a pet.”

Pet Memorial Gifts That Will Help Ease the Pain of Pet LossAn Evergreen Enterprises Dog Paw Print Devotion Garden Stone is a beautiful way to memorialize a beloved dog or cat. A memorial service is a healthy way to say goodbye and grieve the pain of pet loss.

This Paw Print memorial stone is a particularly touching pet loss sympathy gift because it says “If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.” And, it doesn’t require a photo to be sent (which can take more time than you have). Memorial stones are wonderful gifts because they can be placed anywhere – not just in a garden. Walkways, front doors, and even indoor hallways are good spots for a beautiful memory of a beloved dog or cat.

5. A video or sound recording of the pet memorial service

A memorial or funeral for the dog or cat gives the owner a chance to heal and remember. Just like with “celebrations of life” or memorial services for humans, a pet celebration of life gives people time to stop, reflect, and honor the dog or cat’s life.

Pet Memorial Gifts Ideas to Help You Say Goodbye to a Dog or Cat

7 Pet Memorial Gifts and Ideas to Help You Say Goodbye to a Dog or Cat

You can videotape the pet’s memorial service and give it to the pet owner. She may want to watch it on the dog or cat’s special anniversaries or birthdays. Vetter says that full funeral services for dogs and cats – officiated by clergy – are offered by some pet cemeteries.

“While I think this is a good service, not everyone can afford thousands of dollars in dog or cat funerals or pet memorial services,” she says, “But, everyone can do something smaller in their own home, whether it’s lighting a candle in remembrance or framing a photo of the pet. Give yourself the gift of saying goodbye to your dog or cat in a more formal way. This can help you grieve and ease the pain of pet loss.”

6. A dog or cat toy invention – a creative pet loss sympathy gift

“We had a cat for 19 years and it was terrible when we had to put him down,” says animal lover Vivian Hoard. “My therapy for the past four years has been to invent a toy cat that sounds and feels like a real purring cat. My husband says it has been the most expensive grieving process he could imagine.”

Here’s the best part of this pet loss sympathy gift:

“I tried to turn my family’s grief about our pet loss into something that can provide joy to others who never had the experience of owning the perfect cat.”

Dealing with the pain of pet loss isn’t just about grieving; it’s about cherishing the best parts of the past with the cat or dog. If your bereaved friend says she’ll never be happy again, read How to Recover From Loss and Survive Grief.

7. A scrapbook, journal or book that features a beloved dog or cat

pet loss sympathy giftsDog Scrapbook for Pet Lovers is a fantastic pet loss sympathy gift – especially if you take time to fill the pages with the bereaved pet owner. Sit with her, sift through photos, and talk about the memories each picture brings. I love this sympathy gift idea because it will help heal the pain of pet loss through talking and heart-to-heart connection.

Another more elaborate gift is to write the story of the dog or cat’s life. This pet loss memorial gift can be an autobiography or memoir of the owner’s and pet’s life together.

To remember her beloved dog, Diana Scimone wrote a series of books about a traveling dog. “Adventures With PawPaw features a little dog who travels to a different country in each book, introducing young kids to other countries and cultures,” says Diana. “So far PawPaw has visited China , France , and Costa Rica – and is packing his bags for Kenya, Italy, Egypt, Israel, and other spots.”

8. A special spot outside in the yard – with a pet memorial stone

sympathy gift ideas pet loss dog died

The heart-shaped Beadwork Garden Stepping Stone – Paw Print is a visual reminder of the love and joy a dog or cat brought to the owner’s life.

“No longer by my side…but forever in my heart.”

“Our seven year old dog died very suddenly two years ago,” says Meagan Farrell. “We were all heart broken. We planted a rose bush in our dog’s honor and put a plaque by it to memorialize it. When our family heard what we had done, they all sent us more rose bushes. Now we have “Bailey’s rose garden.” Also, our daughter was only five at the time, so to help her cope, we got a balloon and released it ‘up to Bailey in heaven.’ This helped her to process the loss of our beloved pet.”

Help Saying Goodbye and Easing the Pain of a Pet’s Death

how to heal after losing your petIn How to Heal Your Heart After Losing a Pet: 75 Ways to Cope With Grief and Guilt When Your Dog or Cat DiesI share a variety of different and healing ways to cope with pet loss. Grief is painful when faced in big chunks; my tips are designed to be “bite-sized”, which means you won’t have to sit and read through a huge amount of difficult information about healing after a pet dies.

To write this ebook – which you can have immediate access to – I interviewed veterinarians, grief counselors, and pet experts for the best ways to survive the death of a beloved dog, and I included stories from real pet owners who coped with guilt and grief in sometimes surprising ways. This would be a helpful pet loss sympathy gift to email your friend, because it would help her grieve and heal the pain of her dog or cat’s death.

“If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.”

How to Cope With Guilt After Your Cat or Dog DiesIn Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die, Jon Katz addresses the difficult but necessary topic of saying goodbye to a beloved pet. He draws on personal experiences, stories from fellow pet owners, and philosophical reflections to help pet owners grieve the pain of pet loss.

This isn’t exactly a “pet memorial gift” but it is a thoughtful sympathy gift for someone who is dealing with a dog or cat’s death. Jon Katz gently asks readers to consider if they gave their pets good lives and if they used their best judgment in the end. In dealing with these issues, he encourages pet owners to accept their dog or cat’s death and let go of the pain.

Do you have any thoughts on these pet loss sympathy gifts and memorial ideas? I welcome your comments below.

If you have suggestions for pet memorial gifts or links to online products or services to help people cope with the pain of pet loss, please feel free to share.


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16 thoughts on “8 Pet Sympathy Gifts to Ease the Pain of a Dog or Cat’s Death”

  1. I just made a little planter of my Bosco’s dog dish , I had a pottery statue in my cabinet that looked like Bosco so I. Have a little Memorial garden started. I have a feeling it’s going to get bigger. That’s just a start as it’s only been a week. I miss him so much and can’t stop crying. I put his cedar box with his ashes on his chair beside me and when it’s bedtime he goes to bed. I love him so much.

  2. I like to make a donation to an animal shelter or humane society in honor of the recently deceased pet. It’s a way of paying it forward for the joy received.

  3. Lisa with. Inman

    I feel the same as you do. It is my story of my angel and the sickness and so many why’s and what is just like I have too. I will never be the same. I am sorry somebody is feeling this terrible hurt as I am. Take care. Lisa.

  4. I had to rush you to vets on midnight because your body was done and I couldnt sleep one more night with you to say proper goodbye.
    I could bare to see you breath so heavy and make you spent one minute more like that.
    I had to let you go and no time for goodbye.
    So so sorry.
    I was selfish and wanted one more day with my best friend my litle baby.
    I wish I could have cure your cancer with all my love for you.
    You was sick very sick for so long time always something new wrong with you.
    We went many times to hospital and somehow they couldnt find this stupid cancer until it was to late, I am angry with the vets who I put faith in curing you.
    Why didnt they take xray of youe lungs sooner!
    Stupid doctors hate doctors now.
    Anyway youre in peace my litle friend and I will never forget you the sunshine of my life.
    Now I am in shadow and have only memories to hold on too.
    I just feel guilt for every bad things I put you through.
    I try remember good times when you was healthy and full of live and joy but you was sick for 4 years and I worry about you for so long time and than youre gone.
    I just wish you forgive me for listen to stupid vets and think that they knew what they where doing.
    I know your in heaven and God is taking very good care of you and my mom is there with you and will comfort you and talk to you and you are happy healthy again with the angels in heaven.
    So so sorry my best and only friend.
    I wish I was with you and mom really hope see you both soon.

  5. I really believe pets are a gift from God they have such personalities feelings and unconditional love. Thank you for these pet sympathy gift ideas, they are good.

  6. Thanks Georgia!

    I like your website, which offers several different types of “loss of dog” and “loss of cat” pet memorials, ideas, and gifts. You really do offer unique items celebrating furry family members. The portrait painting of a dog or cat – done from a real photo – is a wonderful sympathy idea for after pet loss.

  7. I really love your idea of having a special pet memorial spot in the yard. When my family’s cat passed away, we made a little spot like you described in our backyard to remember him. It has a little marker with his paw print pressed into it. It’s been a great way to keep his memory alive.

  8. Thank you for your comments – I really appreciate them!

    Thinking about a pet memorial can be very painful, but it may be the best way to say good-bye to your dog or cat.

  9. Reading acouple of these brought tears in my eyes. See my 12yr Pit Bull Mix Romeo just had major surgery done two days ago to get some Tumors removed. He was in so much pain but I laid there with him the 1st night and promised i would never put him through so much pain again. My dearest romeo was the only one i could count on as a child with no mother or father this little guy showed me love compasion and responsibilities. I love him so much. I will never let him go through pain again.

  10. Rocket – My Sweet Boy
    B: 8/2004 D: 8/23/2012

    Rocket – my dear, Sweet Boy – you are very much loved and we miss you terribly.
    When David said we are going to adopt a 3-yr old Doberman, I had a preconceived idea of Dobermans and boy did you change that. The first time I met you in 2008, I was shocked how big you were – you weighed over 100 pounds, were all legs and muscle, you came over and sniffed me – I was a little afraid of you. But you were gentle and so very handsome. In fact, everyone who met you said that you had the sweetest personality – a good natured dog.

    Over the years I became more and more attached to you. We took nice long walks. I found you a winter coat, you looked so handsome in it. I would play ‘tug on the ring’ with you in the yard.

    You never barked unless there was a good reason, then your hair would rise up along your spine. You had a very deep bark that warned when the mailman came down the driveway, he carried doggie biscuits and how you liked that!

    You loved having your ears scratched and your head petted – you would nuzzle your head into our hands so we would keep petting you. Your fur was like velvet – so soft.

    You would greet us in the morning with ‘Mr. Snowman’ – how you loved him. We gave him to you your first Christmas with us, he got a little tattered, was sewed up a few times, but he was still in good enough shape for you to carry him around. You were so gentle with him. Mom said she knew you weren’t feeling well when you didn’t greet her in the morning with ‘Mr. Snowman’.

    You loved to suckle blankets – I thought it was cute – how such a big dog would bunch the ‘bankie’ up between your paws and suckle it until you went to sleep. Eventually, there would be little holes in the fleece blankets. During the winter I would look outside and see little pieces of different colored cloth – went right through you. I found a piece of it in the dirt where Mom and I put the garden out front summer of 2012 – must have been out there for quite a while.

    I remember how you would cock your head to one side and then the other when asked ‘does Rocket want a ….?’ How you loved to eat carrots – we would go to the butchers and get you huge carrots. We’d say ‘Rocket want a carrot?’ and you’d come running into the kitchen. You loved green beans, I would throw them over the garden fence and you would jump to catch and eat them. I always smile when I think of the time I was picking green beans in the garden and you got into the garden and were eating green beans from one side of the bush while I was picking them on the other side of the bush.

    You were diagnosed with Wobblers in Fall 2010, you were only 5-yrs old. By Spring 2012, you had trouble getting around, and needed help to get down the front stairs. But once down, you could get around OK – but wobbly. The Wobblers was somewhat under control, you were on a very low dose of steroid and we had room to increase it if needed. You loved getting your meds because we would wrap them in cheese or ham and you got an extra treat. You knew when it was time for meds and would go into the kitchen at med time and wait.

    The Megaesophogus was really hard to manage. David built you a raised food bowl; we changed your food to IAMS Puppy chow, which made your coat glisten. Tried meds, smaller feedings, mixing yogurt with your food to make it easier to go down. Giving small amount of water. But eventually you had a hard time keeping your food down and kept getting sick during the night.

    On Aug. 10, 2012 Mom came for 10 days. That night you were feeling great – ran to the door to go out, were suckling your blanket, wanted you head scratched for hours. You were feeling your old self, my heart was so glad. Then the next morning you fell and hurt your right front elbow, we took you into the Vet make sure it wasn’t broken, they said it looked like a sprain. It got better and then worse, a hole opened up in the elbow, it was hard for you to walk. The next 12 days were hell watching you try to get around and knowing you were in pain. You were puking all night and lost weight. When you breathed you were gurgling, you sounded like you had pneumonia again. Your right rear leg started curling under. I know you had to have been miserable, but you never complained, whimpered, or let us know you were in pain.

    When we made the final decision, I was numb with grief, in pain – I’m crying while writing this. At the time I knew it was time, you were weak and could barely stand. When you were going to sleep that day, I said ‘my sweet boy’ and you turned your head towards me, you knew I was there, you were not alone. Afterwards, I tore myself up with feelings of guilt and ‘what if we tried….’ He was so young. It’s so useless to do that. I know that you were so very sick but wanted to try everything and anything to help you. The Vet did not even offer alternatives, his assistant said she saw you and knew it was time, you were tired, weak, had lost weight, could hardly stand, and did not feel well.

    We buried you at home by the woods and garden. We wrapped you in your blue blanket which you had barely suckled the previous six months. I put Mr. Snowman and Mr. Bear with you, also a huge bone we were saving for you, a large carrot, and some fresh green beans with you. We planted a Forsythia bush by you, to give you some shade in the summer and it will be the first thing to flower next Spring.

    We both love you and miss you. David says you were one of a kind and he is right. The house feels empty, too quiet; I miss you greeting us with Mr. Snowman in your mouth when we come home. Tasha doesn’t leave my side and misses you too.

    Sleep, my Sweet Boy, we brought you home to rest. You can roam the woods to your heart’s content.
    We love and miss you.

  11. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks for sharing your pet loss stories here…this is one way to remember your lost pet, and memorialize him or her!

    In sympathy,

  12. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    I found this poem today….

    My best friend closed his eyes last night,
    As his head was in my hand.
    The Doctors said he was in pain,
    And it was hard for him to stand.

    The thoughts that scurried through my head,
    As I cradled him in my arms.
    Were of his younger, puppy years,
    And OH…his many charms.

    Today, there was no gentle nudge
    With an intense “I love you gaze”,
    Only a heart thats filled with tears
    Remembering our joy filled days.

    But an Angel just appeared to me,
    And he said, “you should cry no more,
    GOD also loves our canine friends,
    He’s installed a “doggy-door”!

    by Jan Cooper

  13. memorial jewellery

    I lost my dog last year and your story has bought tears to my eyes. Really sorry about your dog. Blessings. Fionaxx

  14. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Diane,

    I’m so sorry to hear about Vida…and I thank you for sharing your beautiful story of unconditional love. She lives on not only in your heart, but the hearts of all the people who read your story.


  15. In Memory of Vida…………. 2003 – Died March 13, 2010

    It’s been five weeks since I last snuggled with her. As I gaze upon her grave in the backyard, there is such a yearning to see her again. I believe God put dogs on this earth to show mankind what unconditional love is all about. Let me explain.

    Two years ago as I was undergoing treatment for cancer, I was racked with nausia and vomiting after chemo. I would be stretched out over my bed, sick and weary. Vida would sit on my bed with me, sometimes licking tears off my face as I complained how aweful I felt. Weeks turned into months, and my lethargic body lay limp with fatigue. And then there was Vida-stretched out next to me, snuggling closer and closer by the hours. She was a vital dog, strong and powerful. Her breed was a Presa Canarie Mastif, rumored to be a violent type of dog. But Vida was gentle and powerfully loyal, and I loved her so much. She could have been playing and romping in the backyard, but she stayed by my side like a loving friend. There were times I would swear she could read both my feelings and my thoughts. The sicker I was, the closer she became.

    Animals don’t demand much. Just returned love, food, water and shelter. In turn, they give so much more. When I looked into her eyes, I could feel the love she returned to me.

    Three months before her death, she was diagnosed with acute renal failure. She was only seven years old, so the diagnosis was hard to take. We expected to have her five to seven years longer. She was nursed by my daughters and son, as well as us. She had IV drips and a special diet. She never complained. She went between my home and my daughters home. We worked closely with our vet to help expand her life as long as possible. For awhile, she didn’t even seem sick. But then the day came when she could not eat or drink water. She was sick and nauseaded and threw up anything we tried to feed her. The doctor did blood work, and comfirmed the worse.

    We knew we had only one thing left we could do for her. We placed her in my bed, the same bed where she layed with me through my sickness, and made her comfortable. We gave her eyedroppers of water and snuggled closely with her. We looked into her intent eyes and sent her love. We talked to her, and whispered affectionate words of gratitude to her. Someone was with her for the next few days around the clock. She was never alone. The final morning arrived, and each one in the family sat on the bed rubbing her sick body. The tears began to fall. She was too weak this time to lick them, but she gazed at us in loving thankfulness. The time had come for the doctor to injet her with the medicine that would end her final day. With heavy hearts, we watched as the morphine did its job. Her body was lifeless. She was gone. My son wrapped her in her favorite blanket, and lifted her body from the bed.
    Her grave had been dug. Jesse gently walked her down to her final resting place. It was over. She was gone from us, but remains in our hearts forever. She was a blessing from God, a gift to show our family what unconditional love really looked like.