How Do You Pay Tribute to Your Dog?

August 19, 2011  

We asked our Facebook fans, for those of you who have had to say goodbye to your beloved dogs, we’d be honored if you’d share any special ways you laid your dog to rest. How did you pay tribute to your dog?

Many got tattoos, have memorials in their homes and some were even inspired to start rescue groups in their pet’s honor. One fan said it best with this, ‘If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.’ Thanks everyone for sharing your touching tributes.

My two year old APBT rescue, Raina (see photo of her with a butterfly above) died this year.
Raina went in for a blood panel at the specialty hospital in April to see if she qualified to be a blood donor, but her kidney values came back abnormal. Not long after, we checked her blood, and her kidney values were off the chart–she needed to be euthanized immediately. The doctor’s best guess was that when she was young she came into the shelter with chemical burns on her mouth and tongue–they think that maybe whatever she got into affected the development of her systems and presented later on.
My way of honoring her is in the way she was treated during life. I honored Raina by never giving up on her and I ultimately honored Raina by being able to make a quick on-the-spot decision about euthanizing her to end her intense suffering. Euthanasia means “good death” and although I wish she could have enjoyed a giant heap of good food and toys before passing, that “good death” is the best thing I could have given her, given the situation, at her end of life.
I am still extremely heartbroken over losing my sweet Raina, but another way I am planning to honor her is by getting a tattoo with her ashes in it soon. Raina was brilliant. The tattoo is going to be of a dopamine molecule because of the way it relates to reward based learning (among other things).

~ Jessica Stone

When we have pets that pass away in our home, we bury them and plant a flowering tree where they were buried to honor them.

~ Jaz End-Bsl Gray

My mother-in-law helped us pay tribute to our beloved pitboy Mack by making a donation in his honor to Villalobos Pitbull Rescue. He always loved snuggling on the couch, watching their show with us, so it was quite fitting.

~ Stephanie Beckwith

We brought our sweet boy Jasper home and buried him in our garden in a spot the squirrels run by often. Over him, we placed a gorgeous piece of stone, big enough that we can sit there with him, and planted flowers and vegetables all around. We have photos of Jasper all over the house, little altars everywhere, and I had his name tattooed on the inside of my wrist the very next day.

~ Ariane Trelaun

We buried our dog Sinbad under the tree at my grandparent’s.

~ Michelle Price Gnodle

Both of my Bostons are cremated and in carved sealed wood boxes with their names and pics on the bottoms. They sit next to me on my side table. Our big bubba wubba dog, Heinz, was laid to rest in his yard under our birch tree for shade. His carved box sits on top of a scrap book I made of just him, with his collar in it. It sits on the credenza where we see it every day.

~ Cindy Rae Mundy-Eno

Lazarus was 7 years old when he was diagnosed with lymphoma. The disease was so far along by the time it was found, there was no chance for a cure. He was buried in a quiet spot on the farm under a huge cedar tree. His grave is marked by a cross, a headstone that reads “If tears could build a stairway, and memories a bridge, I’d walk right up to Heaven and bring you home again”. He also has a footstone that reads “If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever.” I visit his grave anytime I need the quiet of his spirit. He was the calmest, most loving, and grateful dog I have ever known, and the one who set me on a path towards animal rescue. He was 5 years old and covered in mange when I adopted him from a pound. You could see the gratitude in his eyes. Lazarus’ poster size photo hangs in my office where I can see it across my desk every day at work. He was my best friend and will never be forgotten.

~ Sandra E Fields

I have her ashes in a cedar box. It’s on the mantle next to a picture of her.

~ Natalie Kayl

All of my now-deceased pets have been cremated, so that they can still be part of our home (in fact, I have a shelf of them that I look at every day). Additionally, various family members made contributions to various charities in our pets’ names. I also do pet memorial videos, using photos and add music. (When my beloved Sydney, for example, passed, I made a video using Queen’s “You’re my Best Friend”).

~ Stephanie N. Rotondo

Our sweet Scarlet who passed on in January at the ripe old age of 14, is buried at my in-laws. My father made a mahogany cross with a brass plate (her name engraved). Since my in-laws live 40 minutes away, we have a memorial garden in our yard with a “grave stone” and flowers (we know that we will be moving in a few years so burying her here was not an option). Also our new pup and our children will be walking with us in Scarlet’s memory in the 2 Million Dog 2 Miles walk against canine cancer. Many of our friends have donated money in her name, as did our vet. We have pictures of her in just about every room in the house including the bathrooms! She is always with us.

~ Eileen Enright Gromlowicz

I lost my last one to lymphoma. I have her ashes and I might keep them or spread some at her favorite place, like the beach. I still miss her badly!

~ Chris Winicky

Our Max is buried in the backyard with a large stone over the spot. We had our vet come to the house to put him down. Max hated going anywhere in the car and he would have been all stressed in his last hours. He went to sleep on his big comfortable bed with his family all around him being petted and kissed.

~ Katie Bujnowski

My husband and I will be getting Mack’s paw print tattooed on our legs. Mine will be on the back of my calf, where he would always snuggle up when I was laying on my side.

~ Stephanie Beckwith

My dog Polo went to the Rainbow Bridge two months ago. He died from cancer at 12 years old. The vets office “forgot” to get his paw print. (I’m looking for a new vet) which breaks my heart every day, so I’m having a friend of mine do a painting of my favorite picture of him.

~ Joni Moore

When my Irish Setter Casey lost her five-year battle with epilepsy, I found a poem “Solace” by Lisa Singer, and posted it next to my computer. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t read it, nor a day that goes by that I don’t think of her and shed some tears. It’s been almost five years now that she’s been gone.

~ Nancy Patch

I keep Bailey’s photo on a top shelf at home, which shows him in the car with the sun shining down on him, one if his favorite things to do.

~ Anna Barraza

I have the same poem on stone for my pug Maggie, who now has a statue of St. Francis on one side and the Buddha on the other to watch over her. I also have a little shelf with her pictures, collar, footprint, and rainbow bridge poem.

~ Christine Cifelli

After our McCain died, we had him cremated and a friend created a memorial which we keep next to his urn. We keep his pictures posted all around us still.

~ John-Misty Glenn

My Penelope was an Elderbull. She was around 9-11 years old. I rescued her on Aug. 20, 2008 and she was with me until July 20, 2010. She amazed us all that she survived heartworm treatment in the beginning and then fought cancer for five months despite her heart being too damaged for any serious treatment. She loved two things, me and the beach. Half of her ashes are with me and the other half were spread at the beach. I now have a “House of Dog” wall in my home covered in pictures of all the dogs I have rescued or that are a part of my life, which was all inspired by my love for Penelope and her ability to renew my faith in making a difference.

~ Angela Keith

When we realized that the kindest thing we could do for our dog was a trip to the vet to help her pass, we had a family meeting. As difficult as it was, we agreed that the best thing we could provide Foxy, was a unified, calm, and positive environment. She always mirrored our demeanors; we didn’t want her last moments to be sad and filled with anxiety. We held her and praised her and surrounded her with smiles and love. She was such a joyful, sprightly dog; she deserved to leave the way she was made. Such a good girl.

~ Cristina Falcon-Seymour

I had my girl Chessie cremated, and then spread her ashes and buried her collar at the dog park she loved so much. And since that dog park is also a cemetery, it was fitting. I wanted her to be in a place where she had fun.

~ Susan Fariss

Our dog Shadow was put down unexpectedly at the age of 7. We were so distraught I couldn’t bear the thought of bring her body home with us, even though we lived on acres and acres. I work night shift and while driving home after work that night, I decided that I really did want to bring my dog home to the yard that she loved. I removed her body from the shed, where she was tagged for the crematory. My husband and I buried her at dawn. I didn’t want to call the vets to tell them I stole my own dog, but I did since it was the right thing to do. Now when I go to the vets they still call me “the lady that stole her own dog.” I’m glad that I had the opportunity to bring her home. Now she has a headstone, a concrete dog that I painted with her colors. RIP Shadow….you’ll be in my heart forever.

~ Pattie Talarico

I had my girl Zoe cremated after we had her put to sleep last summer and I chose a cherry wood box for her to be returned to me in. We have her on the mantel with a wolf statue on top of it (she did like to howl a bit herself!). I still miss her terribly every day. I’m also doing a cross-stitch of a picture of my Zoe, the smiley girl with her big tongue hanging out.

~ Kristin Post

My first dog as an adult was a lab/cocker mix named Blackie. I Called the SPCA and made arrangements, then I called a very gentle, loving man who does cremation on animals. He met us there, and after she passed, he gently lifted her with all her blankets and took her. He returned her about a week later with the plaque and urn. I have her and my second dog, Tipsy, together.

~ Jo Ann Gardner

My baby Raven was 13 when she died from mammary cancer on Dec 14, 2010. I paid tribute to her by putting a tattoo on my back with her name, paw print, and date of birth and death. I also have a paw print engraved necklace with her name.

~ Renee Gainey

When Storm, our Boston who came to work with me at the children’s center passed away, the kids took one of her carrier purses and collected fancy coats, collars, and other doggie items. They donated it all to a rescue in Storm’s name, because fabulous shelter dogs deserve to go to their forever home with fabulous accessories!

~ Tess Purvis

I brought Sugar home, wrapped in a white blanket, in a white cardboard casket that the animal hospital gave me and when I got home, I phoned in arrangements to have a private cremation. I painted a pink rose on the lid with her adoption date, and date of passing. My doggie day care surprised me by bringing over some other dogs, Sugar’s friends, to visit and my dog sitter and her kids brought her flowers. The kids wrote beautiful notes inside the cover of her casket and I gave them a lock of fur. The woman who does private cremation came and I ordered impressions of Sugar’s paws. I still have the dried flowers, her collar, coat, pictures, and urn inside a small cabinet. Sugar was a Chihuahua from West Virginia who was very sickly, but she lasted five years…she was my love.

~ Deb Graham

The three dogs we have lost in death have all been cremated, and their ashes travel with us in our RV. My wife has dictated that the ashes of Molly (a Springer Spaniel, our first dog) be scattered with her own, and has even chosen the spot.
We lost Louie (a standard poodle) at the age of 13, when an advanced cancer suddenly became symptomatic. When the vet sent his ashes, they came along with a sweet hand-written note and a paw print. This was the first I’d ever known of paw-printing dogs as a memorial, and it struck me how gently the vet technician must have handled him postmortem, trimming the fur between his footpads and trimming the nails to produce a good print.
The worst loss of all has been Annie, our little three-legged wonder dog. She was riding with us when we wrecked our truck and travel trailer. She escaped through a broken window and ran from the scene. This happened nearly two years ago, and we’re still looking for her.

~ Stan Modjesky

When I had to have my dog Cadbury euthanized, I scattered his ashes into the wind at his favorite beach. Then, my good friend and I bought a Japanese maple tree. I took the box his ashes came in, plus a note talking about my love for him, and a few other odds and ends. We went to one of his favorite parks and at night (because we were worried that someone would call the cops when they saw us digging) we planted the tree, burying the box below. Being new to the whole tree planting thing we found we got really tired really fast and didn’t dig the hole anywhere near the size we should have. In the end the tree didn’t make it, but last I saw it, though, it still had a ribbon tied on it, and as far as I know the box is still buried, to be discovered by someone in the future.

~ Lauren Axelrod

I got my Kit Girl at 8 weeks old, she was 13 1/2 when she was put down. I had her cremated and have her in a cedar box with her name on it on my fireplace along with her pictures and the sympathy card from the vet with the Rainbow Bridge poem on it. On the year anniversary of her death I planted a weeping cherry tree in the front yard. I miss her every day, she was my dog of a lifetime, she was my spirit guide. Because of her, I went to Villalobos, made a donation in her honor, and started a non-profit for bully breed advocacy and rescue. Because of her I am now a pit bull activist. Her memory will live on in whatever I can accomplish in the future. I’m not going to let her down.

~ Misfit Pits

Cancer claimed my lab mix at age 13. Her ashes are at Chickies Rock so that she may forever run free and be my “wilderness dog.”

~ Elizabeth Diem

I made a scrapbook, a wall collage and calendars for both my girls with pictures from pound puppy to old guy.

~ Joanne Lilienstein Allen

When we had to euthanize our pit Sadie almost 6 years ago due to cancer, we had her cremated. Her ashes are in an oak box that matches the headboard of our bed. She sleeps with us every night. We put a picture of her and a dog toy heart that reads “Queen of the Castle” on top of the box. We say goodnight to her every night before we go to sleep. We honor her by being the best parents we can to the dog we now have. Sadie taught us a lot of lessons and Fawnie is the beneficiary of that knowledge.

~ Sandy O’Dell

I see Gillian in every dog I meet, and I love them all.

~ Lin Beckett

I had my pit bull/husky, Sarfina, for nearly 15 years. When it was getting close to the end of her days, I took an ink paw print and had it tattooed on my forearm. She was laid to rest on 10/10/10, but she us always with me.

~ Kristy Lynch

My pitty, Butch, was 13 when I made the terrible decision to end his suffering from cancer. The day of his appointment I took him to the park. We walked as long as he could then sat under a tree for a bit while I tried to hold back the tears. I have his ashes in a box with his name and my favorite picture. I had him since he was 12 weeks old and was the only family he ever knew. He was a great friend and I know I will miss him every day. RIP Butch 3/22/97 – 8/28/10

~ Tamara Tarbell

All of my pets are cremated. I spread half the ashes on their own trees and the other half are put into an urn. Someday, I will have a memorial diamond made from all of the ashes, so I can have them with me at all times.

~ Kirsten Thompson

We took a photo to a marble place and had his image engraved on a marble tile, so I can always see him. Then I started an animal rescue to help animals that had been hurt like he was.

~ Laura Cloose

For my last Shepherd mix, Maggie, it was horrible, just like losing any of our babies. Someone gave me a “Rainbow Bridge” card. Ever since then, if a friend of mine loses their baby, I give them a Rainbow Bridge card, in honor of my Maggie girl.

~ Tina Hedges

We just lost our Elderbull Noel today. She was nearly 17 and had lived with a variety of health issues for the last couple of years. We tried to get our vet to come to our house, however she was out of town, so we had to see another at the vet hospital. They were all so caring…we stayed with her and saw her last breath. One of the techs took a paw impression in plaster for us. We’re lucky to live on acreage so we have our own private pet cemetery. Noel was laid to rest with her favorite bed and blanket. I kept her tags, to be hung on the wall with a photo. She is still wearing her collar. Taking off the collar always signified a bath, and she hated those. She also has a special headstone, a river rock with her name, birthday and day of passing written on it. And lots of crying.

~ Crissy Wilson Tadlock

The vet gave us a print of their paw in cement. We then mixed their cremated remains with cement to make a stepping stone, and laid the paw print into the stone. Now we can take our pet with us when we move.

~ Brenda M. Bentley-Ten Cate

My best friend passed away three years ago and I miss him so much. We had him cremated and he is where his favorite place was… the fridge! We have him sitting on top of the fridge with his collar and his favorite chew bone. Every year we light his candle on his birthday and the day he passed. I miss him every day.

~ Chris Thomas

On Oct 15, 2008 our vet was kind enough to come to our home to help us send our beloved Frost Doggie on his way across the Rainbow Bridge. He was a magnificent White GSD that we rescued from a local shelter nine years prior, but he quickly succumbed to cancer of the spleen at only 10 years of age. That December, we opted to begin fostering rescued pups in Frost’s honor. During the next two and a half years we fostered and found good homes for 64 adults and puppies! Although our resolve was strong not to adopt again, we were totally charmed by #43 – a beautiful boxer/lab/pit mix mom dog name Lola. This past March we began a focused campaign against “Roverpopulation” on


I’ll never forget Sept 6, 2008. My Elderbull Spirit’s suffering from lymphoma became too great. I knew the day was coming. The night before, we took him to the drive-in, something he loved to do! That night he took a turn for the worse and we took him to the emergency room at 2am. He was in immense pain. The staff was wonderful. He died in my arms. I have his ashes, paw print and the drive-in ticket on the mantle at home.

~ FITABULL – Bully Tested Tough Neck Gear

(All photos, except top, by Melissa Lipani)

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6 Responses to “How Do You Pay Tribute to Your Dog?”
  1. MargaretFinkel says:

    when my pinkee got her wings this past easter heart was absolutely shattered,we all get that once in a lifetime.pinkee was mine.i am a rescuer here in new york and although my heart was literally aching i immersed myself in sharing and posting dogs and cats in need of homes.i came across “shayla” an 8 year old cane corso,with a mammary tumor.arthritic legs and a tongue that doesnt stay in her mouth.(we found out later it was from a broken jaw that her previous owners never got her help for-which i wasnt surprised because they left her at the city shelter to die..) so here she was sitting on death row,,heartbroken and waiting to die.i missed pinkee terribly and continued my crying and begging god for a sign that pinkee was ok and i did the right thing,for some reason i kept going back to shaylas post..i saw by the evening that nobody was coming for her,,,surely people looking to adopt a dog bypassed her cage.totally overlooking this old dog with the arthritc legs…in favor of the wiggly ..i thought what better way to honor my pinkee,a dominant dog aggressive american bulldog that still accepted any lost soul that came through our door…than to save a life,save a dog taht had the least chance of being adopted.i thought of pinkee at 8 years old ..and thought..what would her chances have been if she was handed the same fate as owner that felt she ourgrew her purpose and left her to die? probably not i honored my beloved pinkee by saving shayla.and im glad i did..and even though pinkee never cared for other dogs..i am hoping and praying she approves too.

  2. leessheltie says:

    I lost my male sheltie at the age of 14 years of age in March of last year. He would have been 15 years old in may. He lost his ability to stand on his own on slick floors he had no he was just skin and bones over night. So i baried him on a friends property next to a horse and a cat. I know that he is waiting over the rainbow bridge for me along with all my other animals that i have lost over the last 50 years.

  3. StubbyDog says:

    @MargaretFinkel We’re sure Pinkee would approve. 🙂 Sorry for your loss, but it’s wonderful how you are honoring Pinkee by saving Shayla, a dog that nobody wanted. We can’t think of a better tribute to your beloved Pinkee.

  4. StubbyDog says:

    @leessheltie We are sorry for your loss, and we are sure he is waiting for you over the Rainbow Bridge.

  5. snuggles says:

    We had a three night wake for my dog, Kai, she one of a kind… a little puddle who slept next to me everynight.and following a church service. My neighbour Renee poison the dog n was granted a two months inprisonment. I morned n wept sorrowfully for months I made her a glass tomb that represent her kennel n plased he to rest at my backyard. Every year only the 1st of May I leave flowers for her… n she will always be considered my dog though we r far apart she will always have apart in my heart… rip kai!

  6. snuggles says:

    We r sorry for your lost, I no how u feel right now but the only way to get over a old pet is to get a new one n since u like homeless pets u can start by takin in mine