The day you bring your dog home for the first time is one of the best days of your life. You have a new best friend to share your life with and the immeasurable amount of joy a dog brings is only just beginning.

But, unfortunately we know that for all of the good times there will come a moment when we have to say the final farewell. It’s not an easy moment to think about, let alone experience, but you can take consolation in knowing that whatever pain they may have been living with is now gone.

For however long we get with our dogs, there is no doubt that they leave an indelible mark on our hearts so it’s only fitting that we pay them an appropriate tribute. Here are some touching memorial ideas to help you remember and celebrate your dog’s life.

Plant a tree

Not all dogs love gathering sticks when exploring the great outdoors but if yours often went missing only to return with half a tree trunk in their mouth then perhaps a tree is a fitting tribute to them.

Even if your dog doesn’t love sticks, planting a tree in their memory is a great way to honor them and to give you an opportunity to reflect on their life while you place yourself under its branches. Particularly if you attach a favorite item of your dog’s to one of the branches, allowing you to watch it get higher as the tree grows.

This is a lasting memory that not only allows you and your family to remember your beloved dog but one that also will enrich the lives of the people who encounter your tree in the future. It may also be home to local wildlife like the birds and squirrels that so fascinated your four-legged friend.

Plaques and framed pictures

What better way to immortalize your lovely dog than with a plague or portrait that bears their face? Thanks to the camera quality on our phones, many of us are spoilt for choice when it comes to photos of our pets, but those images are likely to be ever more important to us when they are the only visual reminder we have.

With this in mind you may wish to think about planning the creation of an extra special image of your pet while they are still very much with you, using a high-quality camera, or even consider hiring a pet portrait photographer. For the perfect portrait of your dog, professional pet photographer Lea Heidt provides this tip: “I like to use beautiful evening light to create a romantic mood.”

Alternatively, Lea suggests, “If none of this presents itself, I also like to film the dog's natural behavior. Sometimes sniffing at a beautiful flower, licking their nose in anticipation of a great treat, or shaking because they’ve just been in the water”.

Create a memory box 

Perhaps you would rather not have a constant reminder about your loss and instead something like a memory box will act as a more discreet tribute. Inside the memory box you can place items like their leash, collar and tag along with their favorite toy, blanket and photos and other precious items. Then you can visit those memories as and when you wish, leaving your box on display in your home or safely tucking it away just for you to reflect on.

Commission a piece of art

The great thing about art is that it comes in so many different styles, so you can not only find something that suits your taste but that also is representative of your dog.

For example, you could commission a sculptor to make something three dimensional that you can place in the garden or a painter to create a portrait that you can hang in pride of place in your home. This also means that if you move house you can bring the memory of your beloved pet with you rather than leaving them behind.

Get a tattoo

Few commemorative tributes can be as permanent as inking a memorial for your pet onto your skin. While not for everyone, tattoos are much more popular than they once were and the taboo that once surrounded them has been removed.

memorial tattoo could range from a photorealistic portrait, to a simple line drawing that captures their likeness or it could be a metaphorical image that represents their character or spirit.

Pet memorial jewelry

Using your pet as inspiration for a piece of jewelry is a great way to ensure you will always have them with you, wherever you go.

Whether that’s using some of your pet’s ashes to create a diamond, another type of jewelry, something symbolic that has a paw print on it or, maybe their picture inside a locket. There are many options available when it comes to pet memorial jewelry so you can find something that matches your style with remembering your dog fondly.

Memorial park bench

If you have a favorite outdoor space to visit with your dog then a great way to treasure those memories is with a memorial park bench. It can be a place you come to that gives you a chance to remember all of the good things about your dog while also allowing other people to enjoy having a place to sit in the park.

Naturally there will be other dogs in the park where your memorial bench is situated so when the time is right you can sit here and watch them roam, sparking memories of when your dog did the same things.

A farewell ceremony

Dogs are a huge part of our family and we need to grieve their loss just like we would with any other relative or loved one. It is therefore important that we don’t ignore our emotions at this sad time and treat the loss with the weight it deserves.

Experts at Help Guide explain, “The pain of loss can often feel overwhelming and trigger all sorts of painful and difficult emotions.” “While some people may not understand the depth of feeling you had for your pet, you should never feel guilty or ashamed about grieving for an animal friend, “ they add.

One solution is to create a memorial service that allows you and your family to mark the occasion and come together to celebrate their life. It can be one last shared memory that your pet brings to your family and something to bond over that also allows you to move onto the next stage of the healing process.