What to do with Your Pet's Ashes: Ideas to Honor Their Life and Your Relationship

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The Psychology
8 min read

What to do with Your Pet's Ashes: Ideas to Honor Their Life and Your Relationship

9 Creative Things To Do With Pet Cremation Ashes (2020)
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Words by:

Tracey Wallace

Illustration by:

Words by:

Tracey Wallace

Illustrator:

Contents

Pets are family, plain and simple. Like people, their impact on our lives can be profound. They help make us who we are, help us better understand ourselves, and help to cope and experience life’s myriad adventures, misfortunes, big moments, and small, meaningful events.

For Jay Sauceda and his wife Priscilla, their beloved Carl was such a pet. He was with them through the early days of their marriage, taught them how to be parents, and saw the launch and takeoff of their companies.

A post shared by Eterneva ♾ Ashes To Diamonds (@eterneva) on Dec 22, 2019 at 5:58am PST

When he passed, the entire community the two had built around Texas Humor came together –– and even beyond. In his passing, he taught so many how to grieve, how to care, how to be present. And now, they are turning his ashes into a diamond.

Today @prissc and I got to see the rough diamonds that @Eterneva grew from the fur Carl left us before he went to the rainbow bridge. Science and support all in one.

— Jay B Sauceda (@jaybsauceda) January 8, 2020

That isn’t the only way honor your pet, though. Diamonds made from ashes or the fur of your pet can give you something physical to carry with you and continue your bond, yet you only need half a cup of ashes at most –– so, you’ll have many more left over.

This opens up so many possibilities for memorialization options, and in our current death positive time, there are more and more amazing ideas you can find on all corners of the web. This post highlights just a few.

Honoring Your Pet Can Be a Healthy Way to Grieve

First and foremost, let’s say it right here: grieving and mourning your pet when they pass is completely natural, and often necessary. Historically, grief for pets has been deemed “lesser than,” leaving many who had close relationshisp with their pets to grieve alone.

Let's face it: Americans already suck at grieving.

That means grieving people, pets, places, whatever it is. We aren’t taught how to do it, and so many of us learn from a young age by watching our parents and family. And what did most of them do? Nothing. They might cry, but ultimately they don’t talk about it.

When people don’t talk about it, we learn through that behavior that it isn’t OK to talk about it. It is time to change that mentality and that culture! This includes grief over a pet’s loss.

  • Talk about your grief.
  • Talk about them, how they changed you, funny memories, show people all the videos you likely have on your phone.
  • Bring him or her up now, and also months from now –– years from now, even. This is how you continue their memory.
  • Memorialize them in a way that feels special and unique to you. Talk about how you did that, and why.

In the process of doing this, you are helping your own grieving process, honoring the pet you loved so much, and teaching others that is OK to talk about loss and death, that it is OK to talk about grief, and it is OK for us to commune around those events.

After all, grief will affect 100% of us. It is time we acknowledge it for the life-changing emotion it is, and hold space for the hard conversations it necessitates.

Because those conversations might bring us sadness, and they are also can bring joy.

Option 1: Keep Your Pet’s Ashes at Home

Many families around the U.S. have in-home memorials of their pets. Me included! In the corner of our hallway at my familial home, we have 4 sets of pet cremation remains. Next to each tiny pet urn (we had malteses!), is a picture of the pet and their collar handing on that frame.

This is what most people do. They keep their pet’s ashes at home.

Some people also opt to bury their pets, either their body or their remains. There are a ton of different types of headstones you can make for this option, as well.

In fact, when my beloved pet Barron died when I was in 9th grade, my mom went to Hobby Lobby and bought an at home memorial kit. One just like this! And then we made his headstone for the backyard. It was an extremely cathartic experience that brought my mom, myself and my brother together over a shared grief.

One thing many people ask about is if other pets will react to the presence of your pet’s ashes or an urn. I suppose in many ways, no one can say for sure.

Every pet is different and unique, including the relationship they had with your pet who died.

That said, most of the pets I’ve had have known when another of their housemates (we called them brother and sister) died. They would cry all night, or pace in a room, and overall have lower energy for days or weeks after.

Pets know. It is part of what builds such a close bond between them and ourselves. They feel the weight of emotion and sadness, and help us understand how to naturing handle it as well.

9 Creative Ideas to Honor Your Pet With Their Ashes

So, your loved one has been cremated and you have the urn. Maybe you want to construct a little shine or memorial in your home. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you want to see what other memorial options for your pet are out there, and use either some or perhaps all of their remains.

Whatever you choose to do, remember to make it personal and meaningful to you. This is your grief. This is your memorial to them. Honor both them and yourself by doing what feels right.

Also, it's good to know that ashes never expire. If you aren’t sure right now what to do –– then maybe wait a few weeks or months or even years. You can always come back and memorialize them when you feel more ready to do so. There is no wrong way to grieve here. There is only your way.

Turn your pet’s ashes into diamonds.

Turning your pet’s ashes into a diamond and having that diamond set into a piece of jewelry you can carry with you can be an incredibly cathartic experience for grief, and an amazing keepsake.

A post shared by Eterneva ♾ Ashes To Diamonds (@eterneva) on Nov 18, 2019 at 7:42am PST

And it isn’t just the diamond itself. The ashes to diamond process typically takes at least 7-10 months, and in that time, you get updates every single month about exactly where your pet is in the process with pictures and videos so you know they are safe and being taken care of.

At Eterneva, we follow a very strict chain of custody process and vet every single one of our partners. Some of our lab technicians (most of whom used to work in aerospace engineering!) talk to the remains as they place them in the growth cell. One in particular always says: “You were beautiful in this life. You will be a beautiful diamond.”

This kind of work is so personal to the people who work for Eterneva and on memorial diamonds in general. The goal is to create the most amazing diamond and memorial, of course, but more so to help people on their grieving journey, to give them something to look forward to, and to help them tell beautiful stories about who their pet was and how they shaped them.

A post shared by Eterneva ♾ Ashes To Diamonds (@eterneva) on Dec 13, 2019 at 10:00am PST

Scatter your pet’s ashes in a special place.

Scattering your pet’s ashes is one of the most popular things to do with the remains.

This is because it makes people feel good to know that their pet’s ashes and what remains of their physical body is in a place they loved. For many, that means scattering the ashes at a favorite park or swimming hole.

One note here: check up on if you need permission to scatter the ashes in your location. Most national parks, for instance, require you to get a permit to do so.

Grow a memorial tree.

Memorial trees for both people and pet’s ashes are becoming more and more popular. After all, who wouldn’t want to be a tree once they are gone? To do this, there are a couple options.

  1. You can plant their ashes near a tree. Just be sure not to pack them down too much. Ashes can stop essential nutrients from reaching the tree’s roots, and kill it. Yikes.
  2. Or, you can use a company like The Living Urn to grow a tree.

Bury your pet’s ashes in a meaningful place.

In a way, growing a tree with The Living Urn is like burying their ashes in a meaningful place. That isn’t the only way to think about this though. You can perhaps decide to bury them in that park, or out in your yard near their favorite tree, or right there in the sunshine where they loved to lay. Create a pet cemetery of sorts.

Again, what you do with their ashes and where you put them should feel meaningful to you. As a result, what you decide to do will be unique based on who your pet was, what they loved, and where they loved to be.

Infuse the ashes of your pet in a decorative glass piece.

Ashes to glass pieces are so incredibly popular. They are beautiful and can be used as vases or paperweights, or a variety of other household items.

They don’t necessarily look like they are ashes or remains, which gives you the ability to talk about them with guests, or not, based on how you're feeling.

Spirit Pieces offers quite a few of these as options.

Get memorial painting (that uses their ashes).

You can have your pet’s ashes mixed into paint and have a memorial painting done that includes, well, them! You can have either their face painted, or their favorite tree, or toy, or park.

Or, you don’t even have to use their ashes for this at all. There are plenty of beautiful artists on Etsy who will take a picture of your pet and re-create something magical for you to hang inside or place in a frame.

Transformation of the cremains into fireworks.

Was your pet one of the rare who loved fireworks? Well, you can have their ashes placed into fireworks and set off. This is also a cool way to scatter their ashes far and wide.

Do a water burial.

If your pet loved water, then a water burial may be a great option for them. You can buy biodegradable urns that will float off and then later sink in a body of water, and ultimately spread their ashes with the current of the water.

Have pet ashes turned into pottery.

Companies like Eternalware will use your pet’s cremated ashes in clay to create a pottery piece. This is similar to using the ashes in glass to create a household item. Some people just like the look of pottery more than glass!

Get a pet memorial tattoo.

The trend of tribute tattoos after an animal crosses the rainbow bridge is embraced by many pet owners because it helps keep the memory of their beloved animal alive even after they're gone.

Pet memorial tattoos are nothing new but in the past few years, small amounts of the pet's cremated remains are mixed into the tattoo ink and embedded into the skin with the design. Ashes for body art is now (for both human and pets) something tattoo artists expect grieving clients to ask.

The typical tattoo designs for dog memorial tattoos are dog paw prints or a dog's name. Animal lovers will also request cat tattoos or in some cases quote tattoos.

Use ashes in an ornament.

You can put their ashes into an ornament to hang in your home year round, or to bring out during the holidays so that you have your whole family (both past and present) there with you. If you don’t want to put the ashes in the ornament, you can also put their picture into an ornament, as well.

Deciding What to Do With Your Pet’s Ashes

There are so many options and ideas for what to do with your pet’s ashes.

Whatever you choose, know that you can leave them right at home on a shelf if that if what feels right. Or, you can choose from multiple of the options above. You can decide to do something now, or later (because ashes don't expire).

This is your grief journey. This is your pet. This is your memorial.

Pet loss is hard on pet owners. Their final resting place and memorial option (including memorial service) are 100% up to you.

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Our information pack contains an Eterneva brochure, process FAQ, and guide to diamond pricing. Our team is also here to help with anything & everything.

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