This will be our first Christmas in 10 years without our heart dog, Kota, as we said good-bye to her in August. As the holiday approaches, I thought I’d share with you the ways my husband and I are honoring her this Christmas. I hope that you might find some of these ideas comforting and helpful as you navigate through the festivities without your furry companion by your side.
For the past ten years I have done an ornament of Kota. This year will be no different. I chose an image of her from last winter to use.
Go through your pictures and choose a favorite from over the years. Choose one that makes you smile and hang it in that perfect spot on the tree. If you have a print already, cut out the image and paste it to a pretty piece of paper, punch a hole, and put a colorful ribbon through it.
Get even more creative and paint a picture of your pet, or even just their name. It will warm your heart each time you glance at your beautiful tree.
Did you hang a stocking for your pet every Christmas? Hang it this year, too! Keep the ritual going. There is no need for it to end.
Pet Loss Grief Counselor, Beth Bigler of Honoring Our Animals , gave me the wonderful idea of placing little notes of memories of my dog Kota, leading up to the holiday. On Christmas Day my husband and I will read each note in honor of her. This is a great way to trigger happy memories.
Yes, tattoo. I did it! This was the gift my husband and I gave ourselves this Christmas. Tattoos to memorialize Kota.
I had been stalking Cesar Perez, owner of Creative Ink in Keene, NH, for quite some time. I knew if I made the decision to do a tattoo, he was going to be the one to trust. His work is absolutely stunning!
Creative Ink is a two hour drive. The tattoo took just under 6 hours. The hardest part was actually sitting in the chair that long.
I highly recommend! I am over the moon with it and I can’t stop looking at my arm. Happy tears!
4. Purchase a Gift
I also give Beth Bigler of Honoring Our Animals credit for this one. Purchase a gift for your pet… then donate it to a shelter animal.
I came across a beautiful collar from Cody’s Creations, a local shop here in MA. I got teary-eyed as I thought, “this collar would be perfect for Kota.”
Beth: “Buy the collar.”
Me: “Really? Buy the collar?”
Beth: “Yes! Then gift it to the shelter – a way to honor Kota.”
I bought the collar…. which brings me to number 5
5. Foster…. or Adopt
Did you happen to catch my recent post about bringing home a foster dogs? (A Southern Fosters First Snow) Fostering or adoption is a great way to honor a pet that you have lost… but only when you are ready to open your heart again. You will never replace a lost pet, but you will gain a new companion with a whole new kind of love to share together.
Fostering gives an animal some time to decompress away from stressful shelter life. And you are a stepping stone to a forever home for them
If you can guess…. I have some exciting news about Halo!!!
6. Display A Holiday Themed Photo
Do you have any fun Santa with your dog photos over the years? Or maybe your dog wearing a festive collar. Or were you lucky enough to get your pet to wear a Santa hat? Or your dog opening a gift under the tree?
Put these pictures on display! If they are in your cell phone, print them! Make a cute collage or frame a doorway with them.
7. Light A Candle
LIght a candle. Share a story of your pet. Do this any time that you want to take a moment to remember your pet. It may provide some peace and connection to your beloved pet.
This Maple Syrup Candle from Beaver Pond is my choice this holiday season. I picked this up at one of the shops in Littleton, NH. Great place to visit!
Do what feels right for you! Cry. Laugh. Stay home. Journal. Take a drive. Share stories. Have some thoughts or ideas of what might be helping you? Please share in the comments!
I waffled on doing our holiday card with Kota. Why shouldn’t I make her the star of my card? She was with us for 11 years and was family.
I hope you find something in here helpful on your journey navigating this holiday season after saying good-bye to your best fur friend.
Around the Circle
This post if part of a pet photographer’s blog circle with this week’s topic being “Christmas.” Next up Nicole, of Pawtraits by Nicole in Las Vegas, Nevada shares her 5 favorite gift ideas for the senior dog in your life. Merry Christmas!!!
These are all such great ideas. Will you share where you got the ornament? I’ve not seen any like that before and I love it. (It’d make a great present for my dog walking clients!) Congrats on Halo and have a very Merry Christmas with her!!
Great tips on memorializing your dog for the holiday season. Ornaments are great and the notes in Kota’s stocking is very sweet. That collar is stunning and looks lovely on Miss Halo!
Great ideas! I have the ornament you gave me from Kira’s session hanging right where I can see it from the couch every time I sit there. LOVE the tattoo! It’s amazing!!
What wonderful ideas!!
Love your 7 ideas on honoring your pet!! The Holiday Photo of “Kota” singing is stunning. The Tattoo of Kota is so realistic & nicely portrayed !
Lovely ideas. Congrats on Halo – she looks so sweet and I am sure she’ll bring you a lot of joy!
The stocking idea is wonderful
These are beautiful ways to honor Kota. Thanks for sharing.