Remembering those we’ve loved and lost

There are few things as painful as losing a dog that we have bonded indelibly with. Not every dog is the same, we have as many different experiences and relationships with our dogs as with our humans. Sadly, we will more likely lose our 4-legged best friends before they lose us (see below for more on that topic). Dealing with the grief can be overwhelming at times and all too often we feel alone as we attempt to cope. Here are a few ideas for coping with your grief and for commemorating a life so dearly  and closely held in your heart.


Samantha, my 15 year-old wing girl.

This info is also invaluable if you are a friend to someone who is grieving… more than one of these things was done for me when I devastated by the loss of my “wing girl” Samantha – it truly warmed my heart to know that people understood and cared enough to acknowledge my loss.

Make a donation to commemorate his or her life. All of these options not only offer the donor a tax receipt, if you are donating on behalf of a friend they will send a card or letter on your behalf to let them know that you made a donation:

  1. Jack Russell Terrier Rescue of Ontario can accept donations through Helping Homeless Pets (a registered charity which can hold funds in an account for us and pays veterinary bills as we submit payment receipts – note: donors must put JRTRO in the memo area in order for the funds to be put in our account).
  2. Consider The Ontario Veterinary College Pet Trust Fund, where your dollars go towards cancer research (you can actually control where you’d like the dollars to go to a degree).
  3. A donation to The Farley Foundation is another lovely way to memorialize your pet. Donations go towards helping people who require assistance to pay for veterinary costs to help their sick or injured pets.

Plant a tree (or bring a friend a hardy tree bush or plant that can live on)

Memorialize. If you choose to cremate get an urn that you think is pretty or can be placed outside in a favourite spot

Create your own little memorial garden with painted rocks, this would be nice to do with kids, to help them deal with their grief as well

Frame a photo… or two, or three, or…

Cry (a lot, and don’t feel weird, you aren’t alone)

Post on the JRTRO facebook page, we’ve all been there and can help make you feel less alone

When you’re ready, explore the idea of getting a new little buddy – but maybe look for a new love that’s a little different – different size, different colour, different coat, different ears. Just so that you aren’t comparing. If your previous dog died at a ripe old age and was “perfect”, remember that getting a young dog means you might have your work cut out for you to get him or her to a new idea of “perfect”.

Remember the good times regularly, don’t dwell on what you might have done differently, you did the best you could for your best buddy and he or she knew it. Your love was what mattered and took them through to the end.

Email JRTRO your story and photos and we’ll post a memorial on our Memorial Wall that you can come back and visit whenever you like.

If you have some more ideas, join the conversation and please add them in the comments box below!


Have you got your dog’s back?

One last thing that we want to ask you to remember. There is always the off chance that something could happen to us before we lose our pups. Have you made provisions in your will for your pets in the event something does happen to you? All to often we hear tales of pets that are left out in the cold while family members are dealing with the estate and funeral arrangements. Don’t let that happen to your pets. Identify who you think would be the best fit for your pets and ask them if they would be willing to care for them in the event of your death. If you are able, you could even create an allowance in your will that would go towards your pet’s care. You want the best for your fur kids, the right person will ensure that they continue to get the best… in your memory.


Karen Black
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.
– Will Rogers


4 responses to “Remembering those we’ve loved and lost

  1. Kris Stapleton November 22, 2013 at 7:51 am

    A friend of mine (Steven Potje) specializes in counseling and assistance for people experiencing grief over the loss of a pet. He has specific training and is a compassionate man. The site is called Potje Pet Loss ( and he offers various avenues of support.

  2. Lorri November 22, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    HI, What I did when I lost Molly was gathered up the things that were most special to her and put them into a box. I then downloaded all of her pictures on a stick and took them to Walmart. This CD has all of her pictures and put to the song of My girl. I was getting a new dog Lady and didn’t want to see Molly’s pictures on the computer. To this day, I still think and miss Molly ( tears are running down my face now ) But Lady Reigns over the house now, this time I think it was best for me to get another dog. Lorri

    • jrtro December 2, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      Lorri, I’m so glad you found Lady! and how lucky you were to have Molly. I never managed to take my photos of Samantha down, even with my new rescue, Indy, arriving. It also took a while before I could tell him I loved him without feeling guilty – but now I know that Sammy intended for Indy to come into my life and shake things up 🙂

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