29 Apr Losing a Pet is to lose a family Member
Losing a pet, I appreciated how intense an experience that is. Staring at the remaining kibble, the leashes and her little red raincoat, I was devastated that our adorable Tibetan Terrier had died. According to an article published in the journal Society & Animals in 2002, the death of a companion animal can be as devastating as the loss of a human significant other. When she was gone, I realized how large a part she’d played for eleven years there when we got up and pretty much always. We’d chosen dog-friendly hotels so we could bring her along on vacations. There are pictures of her biking and boating with us. A study in the Journal of Mental Health Counseling found that dog owners placed their pet as close as their closest family member.
Struggling with the sadness of losing a pet, I decided to make a picture of Z.C. my screensaver. Looking at her brought a smile to my face. For a time, I went online and read postings on Rainbow Bridge and other sites where pets were being remembered. She wasn’t the smartest animal, but none could have been sweeter (Z.C. is sweet in Yiddish) or more loving. She’d died in an animal hospital and we were offered her cremains, but my husband, son and I didn’t want a generic crematory urn to remember her. A mosaic artist, working in the French style known as pique assiette, I decided to make a small vase with photos of Z.C.
Using this process, I now do the same for clients – designing a memorial vase or personalized cremation urn – so others can remember their pets lovingly. Each project is special. I have fallen in love with the photos of cats and dogs, sympathizing with the people who’ve lost their adorable pets. But a customized urn seems to help with the grieving and is attractive enough to be in any room of the house.