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Valencia Family Resource Library Guide: Healing Activities

Healing Activities

Healing Activities

These activities can be done individually or together as a family. Some will feel appropriate to do as a family, others can be performed solo by you or your child/ren. While there may be suggestions for ages that are most appropriate for each activity, do not let this information stop you from using the activity if you know it’s the right one for your family. 

Have a Memorial Service for your Pet

rainbow

Dealing with a pet’s death requires tough decisions such as what to do with the pet’s body, how to commemorate the pet, and ultimately how to say goodbye. A memorial service for a pet is one way to address these issues.

Common memorial services include burials, scattering of ashes, or releasing them into water. Regardless of the ceremony you choose, make sure to include your child in the decision making, as this helps the child with the grieving process.

If you are having a burial:

Preparing your pet may include:

  • Spending time with your pet’s body individually or as a family
  • Choosing items to bury with your pet
  • Decorating a box in which to bury your pet

Remembering your pet may include:

  • Reading poems
  • Sharing stories
  • Writing letters to your pet that are read aloud

Finalizing their resting place may include: 

  • Creating a marker to show where they are buried
  • Planting flowers over their grave to show their final resting place

If you are scattering their ashes:

Preparing your pet may include:

  • Spending time with the ashes before they are scattered as a family or one on one

Remembering your pet may include:

  • Reading poems
  • Sharing stories
  • Writing letters to your pet that are read aloud

Finalizing their resting place may include:

  • Creating a marker to show where your ceremony took place
  • Planting flowers to show where your ceremony took place
  • Planting flowers to honor your pet and have a physical place to visit when you’d like to remember them

If you are releasing the ashes into water:

Preparing your pet may include:

  • Spending time with the body or ashes before they are released as a family or one on one.

Remembering your pet may include:

  • Reading poems
  • Sharing stories
  • Writing letters to your pet that are read aloud

Finalizing their resting place may include:

  • Creating a shore marker to show where they were released
  • Planting flowers to honor your pet and have a physical place to visit when you’d like to remember them 

During this process there may be lots of tears. It’s important to reassure your child that tears are okay but they should remember that their pet’s love for them will always be there, just like your love.

Get Planting

 Suggested Materials

  • An easy-to-grow seed such as a marigold
  • Growing instructions

Creating a physical space of beauty to honor your pet can provide your child with a place to go to remember your pet. Are there plants that were significant to your pet? A particular tree, bush, or flower you have memories of with them? You can also relate to your child that caring for this new plant or garden is a way to continue your love for your pet, to continue caring for them even after they’re gone. 

Create Charm Art

dog tag

Suggested Materials

  • Embroidery Floss
  • Instructions on how to create friendship bracelets
  • Lobster clasps
  • Jump rings
  • Zipper pulls
  • Fishing line

Working together, use your animal’s tags or charms to create a bracelet or necklace for your child to wear. The charms can be added to a preexisting bracelet or necklace, or you can create a new bracelet or necklace that you make yourself. If your child does not want to create jewelry, you can use the charms to make zipper pulls for their backpack. Finally, you can use the charms with items from a nature area your pet enjoyed to create a wind chime to hang. 

Thinking About Heaven

dog and sky

Suggested Materials

  • Sketchpad of art paper, card stock, or oversized paper
  • Variety of markers, crayons, or colored pencils

If your family does believe in heaven, you and your child can draw pictures about all the wonderful things in your pet’s heaven. While you draw, be sure to talk about memories of your pet and how they relate to the heaven you and your child are drawing. 

Make a Memory Book or Memory Box

Suggested Materials

  • Tissue paper
  • Markers
  • Colored pencils 
  • Cardstock • Glue
  • Stamps and a stamp pad, especially individual letters
  • Scrapbook papers
  • Scissors that cut interesting edges
  • Ribbon scraps
  • Stickers (especially hearts, stars, happy faces, and pet items)

These days our phones are filled with pictures along with our social media sites. Printing these photos and taking the time to make an album in memory of your pet will spark discussion and creativity while creating a memento your family can use to remember your pet, or when they feel sad and miss your pet.

In addition to the photos, you can include:

  • Pieces of fabric from favorite toys, bedding, or collars
  • Written poems, stories, or memories
  • Drawings of your pet, of memories, or of funny stories
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