It’s no secret that dogs live for an incredibly unfair amount of time on this Earth. Ten to twenty years isn’t nearly enough time with our beloved furry friends, whom offer us so much unconditional love and companionship. One thing I’ve noticed in the last six years or so of blogging is that pet parents tend to wait until their babies pass away to “honor” them. Some people don’t even realize how much their dog, cat or other pet meant to them until they are gone.
It breaks my heart, really. This is why I spend so much of my life dedicated to giving Wynston the best experience on this Earth as possible. For many years I’ve been stressing to people that it’s so important to honor our pets while they’re alive, not just when they pass.
I don’t want Wynston to die then have regrets about everything we could have done together. I want peace when he takes his last breath knowing that I did everything in my power to give him a phenomenal life. I want to look back at memories, think about experiences and tell people about all we did as a team. I don’t want to put myself through any of those “I should have done XYZ with him” thoughts. Instead, I’d prefer to reminisce about the traveling we did, crazy adventures we went on and tough times we got through together.
I have zero shame about my obsession with Wynston. I firmly believe that when the dreaded day comes, I will be somewhat at peace. Death, no matter how difficult it is to deal with, is inevitable.
Wynston is eight years old, and I’ve honored him in the following ways so far:
- Got a tattoo of his paw prints and name. Many people do this AFTER their dog passes away. I wanted to do it while Wynston is still with me so I can make memories of us together while I have the tattoo. I also have photos of him with my tattoo, so it’s a happy, positive tattoo, rather than one perpetuated by grief.
- Acquired several pieces of art portraying him, specifically an oil painting from Paint Your Life.
- Have done a plethora of traveling, just he and I.
- Included him in all of my life plans.
- Built my entire career around him.
- Thrown massive birthday parties for him.
Now, I’m not saying you need to completely build your entire lifestyle around your pet like I do (although I highly recommend it 😉 ). But here are some simple reminders that will help you provide the best life for your canine or feline friend:
- Your pet may not be your whole life, but you’re theirs.
- Allow your dog to get out of the house often. Can you imagine being sequestered to one place your entire life?
- Let your dogs and cats enjoy the furniture. Would you want to spend all of your days on the floor?
- Include them in family photos and celebrations.
- Never, ever, ever hit your pet or scream at them.
- Switch up your dog’s diet from time to time so they get to taste different flavors and textures. Consider adding fruits, veggies or other healthy meats to their meals.
- Provide proper care and veterinary attention.
- Spoil them – celebrate milestones, birthdays and other exciting events
- Take time for the little things. If you’re pup hasn’t been feeling well or you’ve had a few stressful days at work, get in the car and just go for a drive. Those small moments are priceless. Here is a list of some great dog-friendly drive thrus!
In reality, it’s super easy to honor your pet while they’re alive by providing them with love, care and a fun life. One day you’ll be missing the small moments that you had with your pets, even if it was a brief moment of frustration over some chewed up shoes. Don’t scold your dog if they exhibit a behavior like that – someday you’ll do anything to relive that moment.
In what ways are you currently honoring your dog, cat or other pets?