Equine and pet memorialization options

Hi COTH friends! I work with some pet cremation providers, and we are exploring the possibility of expanding resources to assist with pet and equine loss grief. I feel this is an underserved area, as we are often made to feel “weak” for grieving our beloved pets and horses by people who don’t get it. We all know that pet grief is VERY real.

In addition to developing grief resources and material/counseling help as needed, I hope we might be able to connect grieving horse and pet owners with memorialization options. Any recommendations? From horsehair pottery to jewelry to shadow boxes, to something for your cat and dog you find special, please let me know your favorites! We are particularly interested in the most meaningful options, at all cost ranges. The more unique, small business/artisan, and personalized the better.

Thank you for any suggestions and for your thoughts! Feel free to PM me if you prefer not to post publicly.

My beloved German Shepherd recently passed away and I ordered some blown glass items that incorporate a little bit of her cremains. Perhaps you can network with artisans who could do something similar.

1 Like

I thought this was a lovely tribute using your horses real tail for a memorial painting.

1 Like

I had a local artist make me some beautiful vases (horsehair raku) this past fall. Between my mom and I we have three horses. The vases look lovely together or on their own. I gifted two to my mom, and I kept the one that was made with my horses hair.
I like that they are simple and elegant enough to be displayed anywhere.

1 Like

Ooooh, be really careful here. Pet loss grief is not neatly compartmentalized from other types of emotional wellness. For example a client may be reacting badly to her dogs death because it resurfaces long-buried pain from some other trauma. Anyone offering counseling should be qualified/trained, understand when to refer a client to a psychiatrist or social worker, etc… And they definitely need to have professional liability insurance-- there are potentially serious liability questions associated with emotional counseling.

At the therapeutic riding center where I taught, this is the reason we specifically limited our services to addressing physical or cognitive disability, and excluded emotional disorders. While we knew that our program could provide real benefits to that clientele, we also knew that none of us was certified or qualified (in a professional sense) to handle a client in serious distress. When we checked with our insurer they said it would be a hard No for coverage unless we had a licensed professional doing the work.

Don’t mean to be a buzzkill-- just word to the wise to make sure you cover yourself legally/financially.

1 Like

I just got a keychain made from two horses’ tail hair. I really like it. Just got them this week, so I can’t attest to the longevity/durability. (which is why I had her make two them)

1 Like

Thanks, that is a very good point. To be clear, our materials are more supplementary and are designed to assist professional grief counselors who then interact with and provide them to the public. We already have a robust product line used by funeral homes and grief counselors focusing on human loss, and have a basic pet loss brochure but see a potential need for more expansive offerings, including memorialization ideas.

I find that many pet crematories and cemeteries simply don’t know some of these amazing memorialization products even exist as options, and thus don’t know to suggest such options to clients who might take comfort in them.

Thanks for sharing, everyone! There are some really impactful ideas here!

1 Like

I have given specificially made prayer flags with the pets name on them to friends.

An animal cremation entity here will give you your pets ashes, or, if you choose not to have those back, will give you a flower seed packet that is in handmade paper shaped for that animal (a bone, a horseshoe) that you can plant. The paper holds the seeds and you just plant the whole thing. That was a lovely remembrance, I still have some of those poppies coming up 10 years later.

LOVE this idea! Thanks for sharing. What a beautiful gesture!

1 Like

I always liked the idea of a memorial tree. A living tribute.
I don’t really have a green thumb though, so I would be afraid that I would kill it…

3 Likes

That’s a good point! Maybe a memorial weed, like dandelions or morning glory? :grin:

1 Like

This lady is in the UK but I’ve been dying to get something like this ever since I saw them. The tree is made of the horse’s tail hair and wrapped around their shoe.

I may have a twisted sense of humor, but I think I would but a fake pile of manure right under that painting.

1 Like

There’s the typical horse hair products, but I think the Equinite jewelry is very interesting - made from hoof trimming: https://www.equinite.com/

These are so cool! Love it!

A local to me makes jewelry out of ashes. It’s stunning!

I almost forgot! Years ago when my horse was young he needed a couple teeth pulled. I couldn’t be there so my mom met the vet. She secretly kept a tooth and last year found a woman who carved it into a tiny horse.
I don’t wear jewellery so I turned it into a stock tie pin. It will get pulled out a couple times per year for derbies.

I’ve found the container/urn makes a big difference. My first cat was the toughest because it was the first time I had to put an animal down. The vet came to the house. It was the late 80s and he was in ugly square metal can. Same style for 2 more.

It changed when I moved to Maine. The vet at the nearby cat practice had a good friend who made beautiful little hand-thrown ceramic jars with a matching tops. No two were the alike. There were different sizes, colors, and little decorations. You chose what you liked and when you picked the ashes up they were in that neat little piece of art. Needless to say the prior generations moved out of the ugly metal cans. All six of my boy cats are lined up on the bay window. I lost another kitty a few weeks ago, but our vet wasn’t available and no more ceramics. I went to a nearby 24-hour hospital and of course you wait outside until a room is ready. Little Lily was in snuggly wrap. I picked up a beautiful carved wood box with a name tag. One of the cards has the Rainbow Bridge message.

I commented to the vet about the bill. I was waiting in the car when the phone rang. The woman was pretty harsh - she needed my card number. I pointed out that my cat was being euthanized. I’ve never been asked for payment first. She said she knew that but she had to get card number before could go inside. That made sense - it’s a large practice. But what a shock. She could lighten up some. Maybe say she’s sorry about my cat?