5 Tips for Surviving Pet Loss

The second Sunday of every September is National Pet Memorial Day, created by the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories to remind us to honor or pets, both past and present. I’ll be taking some time to light a candle in memory of my heart dog, Byron.

He was my first dog that really brought me into the “dog world.” I often say he turned me from a dog admirer to a Dog Lover. It all began on a beach as an arranged date by his family that wasn’t able to keep him. He had me at “Woof,” as they say. From age two to nearly 14, he was my rock. He was with my support through a divorce, lied by my side every day when I played the piano and took countless vacations with me, where we enjoyed swimming together in lakes and rivers for hours on end. After his passing, his picture stayed on the piano in the recording studio when I made my first album to calm dogs. In the acknowledgements, I wrote… “In memory of my beloved soul-dog, Byron. You remain forever in my heart.”

In Loving memory of Byron

In Loving memory of Byron

It’s been 12 years since his passing. He still lives in my heart and often feels like my rock. And, I know he’ll be there to welcome my 12-year-old Lab, Sanchez, when his time comes. In preparation of that time, I’ve been reading Heart Dog, Surviving the Loss of Your Canine Soul Mate by Roxanne Hawn. She offers invaluable tips for surviving pet loss. Here are a few of my favorites:


1. Grief Candle

Lighting a candle reminds us to be still and take time to recall cherished memories with our pets no longer seen. For me, it’s a time to slow down, bring in calm and nurture our connection that remains, even though Byron is now in spirit.


2. Photos or Artwork

I have cherished photo albums of Byron. On National Pet Memorial Day, I’ll be enjoying looking through every picture and recalling memories I may have forgotten. Some will make me laugh, others cry, and all will fill my heart with a reminder to honor our connection.


3. Ashes

I chose to spread Byron’s ashes in several areas that we frequently visited. One was our favorite local beach. Taking some time to walk on the beach with my current dogs, Sanchez and Gina, will remind me that Byron is a part of their life too, even though they never met. My time with Byron actually helped prepare me of the unseen gifts ahead with Sanchez and Gina.


4. Remembrance Music

All of my dogs have a special piece of music that is unique to our relationship together. Byron’s was a Chopin Etude that I played every morning on the piano. As soon as I started, he’d always take a front row seat (or bed) to his private concert ahead. It wasn’t unusual to find his nose on my pedal foot. He was a Golden and loved being close.

5. Do Something

After Byron’s passing, I wasn’t ready to make a life-time commitment to a new dog for quite awhile. So, I decided to pet sit, foster, and then became a volunteer puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind. On National Pet Memorial Day, do something that helps other pets in need. It will improve the life of a pet in need, make you feel better and is a great way of honoring your pets no longer with you.

What pets are you honoring, past and present? Thanks for telling us about them in a comment below.

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William C
William C11 months ago

Thank you.

W. C
W. C11 months ago

Thanks for caring.

Debra Tate
Debra Tateabout a year ago

Thank you.

.2 years ago

This article has some vast and valuable information about this subject.Motivational Tips to Keep You Healthy

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran3 years ago


Tony L.
Away L3 years ago

TY... lots to discuss.... but basically any loss of life destroys the mind

Ake Lindberg
Past Member 3 years ago

Ruth C, you are absolutely right:

"Losing someone you love is one of the hardest things in life."

Deborah Servey
Deborah Servey3 years ago

I always thought I'd be able to immediately get another cat, but when my beloved Chancey died, I just couldn't. I knew when I'd be ready, and 3 months and 3 days after his death, I dreamed of a dark cat. The very next day, one of my room mate's co-workers told her about a black cat that had shown up at his barn, did we want to see him? See him? We fell in love at first sight and will be celebrating 6 years together come December 5!

Amy Thompson
Amy Thompson3 years ago

My approach has always been that the cycle of life means that with one death, new life is born.
This correlates to pet loss, in that adopting a grateful shelter pet not only aids in dealing with grief by focusing on saving another life, but is a fitting tribute to the one you lost.
Although you won't ever find one exactly like your lost pet, they are all ready to give you the same unconditional love and devotion.
I still miss you every day, Zeke and Zeebo, you were the best:(