Dogs aren’t only considered pets but rather part of the family. Dog owners who were able to adopt rescue dogs believe that they deserve much more love, care, and attention to help them heal from their past trauma.   

However, rescue dogs are also bound to leave the Earth. Their death can be just as heartbreaking as losing your human loved ones, especially since they’ve brought joy and purpose to your life for many years. 

One way to help you cope with the grief of losing your pet is by memorializing them. Here are eight meaningful ways you can honor your deceased rescue dog.   

  • Organize A Pet Memorial Service  

Arranging a memorial service is one of the best and most traditional ways to honor your rescue dog’s life, the same way you would do for a human family member. You can hold your pet’s memorial service in your own home and bury their remains at a pet cemetery. If there’s no pet cemetery available in your state, you can have your pet cremated with the help of a pet cremation service and place their ashes inside an urn to display in your home.   

You can invite your friends or family who were close to your pet or people who understand the genuine pain of losing a pet. Then, during the memorial service, you can also play a video or slideshow of your dog’s pictures from the day you rescued or adopted them and other photos of your dog’s best moments in life. 

  • Create A Memorial Garden 

If you’re permitted to bury your dog’s remains on your property or lawn, you can plant a garden around the burial site to create a memorial garden. Choose an area close to an open window or a specific place where your dog usually likes to lounge. Aside from plants or flowers, you can also incorporate a small water fountain, a pond, and a few seating options so you and your family can visit and sit near the area any time whenever you miss your dog. Lastly, don’t forget to put up a stone market with your pet’s name engraved to mark the site as a sacred space. 

  • Create A Memory Box 

You may find so many things that will remind you of your pet. It may be their collar, leashes, dog toys, dog jackets/raincoats, comfy beds, and other items you used while caring for your rescue dog. Gather all these things and keep them in a memory box. Then, you can have your dog’s name engraved in the memory box, specifically if it’s a wooden box. You can also have their picture attached to the box lid. Whenever you miss your rescue dog, you can always go back to your memory box and fondle the things that bring back amazing memories.   

  • Make A Photo Album 

Creating a photo album is another excellent way to honor your deceased rescue dog. Scroll through the pet pictures on your phone and have them printed or developed. Then, place all these photos in a photo album, or you can avail a photo book service to help you put together your dog’s photo book. For an extra personal touch, consider putting captions in every photo to describe the events or the happy memories you’ve had with your dog. 

  • Assemble Jewelry From Their Tooth 

Some jewelers can help you create customized jewelry in which they’ll mold your dog’s tooth and use it as a bracelet or necklace pendant. Some may also place your dog’s actual tooth inside a small glass or resin and attach it to your chosen piece of jewelry.  

  • Frame Your Dog’s Nose Print Or Footprint 

Like human fingerprints, each dog also has their own unique nose print. To honor your deceased pet, you can have their snout replicated by molding their nose. Then, you can frame their nose print and display it in your living room or bedroom as a memory of your furry friend. 

  • Personalized Your Coffee Mug 

It’s heartbreaking to imagine that your beloved rescue dog won’t be able to greet you with ‘good morning’ every time you enjoy your cup of coffee. To honor their memory, you can have your coffee mug personalized with your dog’s footprint or have their face drawn or printed on the mug. So, every time you enjoy your coffee, you’ll have your dog’s memory near you every time.  

  • Donate To Charity 

In memory of your rescue dog, you can donate to charity or the animal shelter where you adopted your rescue dog. Consider this as your way of showing your gratitude for the animal shelter or dog charity that cared for your dog before he became part of your life. You can either donate cash or dedicate your time to volunteer for the said charity.  

Wrapping Up 

Regardless of how you memorialize your rescue dog, remember that grieving for the loss of your pet may take some time. So, while you honor your dog with any of these methods, make sure you surround yourself with people who genuinely understand your pain and are willing to listen when you need to speak or share about your loss. Sooner or later, you’ll find peace and acceptance when you remember the best years of your life you shared with your beloved rescue dog.


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Cher P. Clancy is a pet enthusiast and an animal shelter volunteer. She has been volunteering to help rescue and take care of dogs for over 20 years. She often writes guest posts and articles about dog welfare and organizes talks and seminars for aspiring dog volunteers. You can see her playing with her four rescue dogs at home during her free time.