Tag Archives: Pet Loss for Children

10 child-friendly ways to remember your pet on special days

After your pet has died, you may find there are special days during the year when you especially want to remember them or they’re in your thoughts a lot.

You might want to celebrate your pet’s birthday or do something special to mark the anniversary of the day they came to live with you or the day they died. Perhaps you want to include them in your Christmas celebrations or a day that has special meaning for your family.

Here we have put together 10 child-friendly ways to remember your pet on special days. Really though, these activities can be done on any day of the year – just pick the one that has the most meaning for you.

  1. Set up a special area to remember your pet

One lovely way to remember your pet is to set up a special area in your house or garden as a tribute to them.

It’s up to you what you put in this area. You could include a photo of your pet, some of their belongings, a letter you’ve written to them, or anything that reminds you of them. 

You could sit in this special area for a while and let yourself remember happy times with your pet or even invite your whole family to sit together and share memories.

  1. Light a candle

In lots of cultures around the world, people light a candle to remember a loved one who has died. It’s a way of saying that the memory of them lives on and still burns bright.

Why not light a candle for your pet and think about your happy times with them while the flame burns?

Just make sure you ask a grown-up to help you with this and the flame is not left unattended.

  1. Make or write a card

If you enjoy creative activities, you could make a card for your pet or choose your favourite shop-bought design to write in.

Tell your pet how much you miss them on this special day and add it to their memory box

Alternatively, you could pop the card on a shelf for everyone to see or take it to where your pet is buried or where you sprinkled their ashes. 

It’s completely up to you what you do with the card, so just go with whatever feels right.

  1. Ask your friends and family to write down their favourite memories of your pet

Your family and friends may have their own special memories of times they shared with your pet. 

How about asking them to write their favourite memory on a piece of paper for you? You could then fold up the memories and keep them safe in a pot or jar.

We love the idea of creating these origami hearts and writing a special memory inside each one.

Here are some fab examples of memory jars on Pinterest.

  1. Make a memory box

A memory box can be a beautiful way to keep all the special things that remind you of your pet in one place.

If you haven’t already made one, you could spend the special day devoted to remembering your pet doing this activity.

We wrote a separate article about things you might want to include in your pet’s memory box.

  1. Create a digital memory board, box or book for your pet

Do you like using the computer to be creative? You probably have loads of pictures of your pet on your phone, in the cloud or on the hard drive of your computer. 

One activity idea is to find your favourite pictures and turn them into a digital collage, board, memory box or photobook.

There are many different tools you can use to do this. Canva, for example, has some photobook templates or you can use a blank Canva template to make a collage.

You could also use a free service like Kindeo to turn your photos and videos – including those sent to you by other people – into a special message for your pet.

  1. Listen to music, watch a film or play a game

Doing something you enjoy like listening to music, watching a favourite film or playing a video game can help you to remember your pet in a positive, fun way.

Is there a particular song that reminds you of them? Is there a film that makes you feel happy (or even makes you cry)? Or maybe a video game that helps you think about your pet or takes your mind off your loss?

If you’re finding a special day without your pet tough, doing something you love might make it easier for you.

  1. Do something special with people who loved your pet too

If you have other family members or friends who are grieving for your pet too then how about arranging to do something together for the special day on which you want to remember your pet?

You could go out for a walk together, head to the park, enjoy a meal/picnic, do a new activity, visit a special place, or try something else entirely. 

The only rule is that you all agree it’s a day to honour the memory of your pet.

  1. Plant a tree

One of our favourite ways of remembering a much-loved pet is to plant a tree, bush or some flowers for them.

It’s wonderful to see something live and thrive and to have a special place to visit that reminds you of your pet. Plus, plant life is great for the environment.

  1. Help a local animal shelter

There are so many animals that end up living in shelters and rescue centres. Depending on your age, you may be able to volunteer as a helper – perhaps walking dogs or cleaning out rabbits or guinea pigs. Sometimes, you need a grown-up with you to do this.

Even if you’re too young to do something hands-on at a shelter, how about trying to raise some money by making and selling cakes, doing a garage sale or even writing to local businesses to ask for their support?

You could donate any money you raise in the name of your own pet as a way of using their memory to do something good for animals in need.

Be kind to yourself

Grief is different for everyone. 

Some people find special days like a pet’s birthday, the anniversary of the day they died or the first Christmas without them really tough to get through. Other people are surprised to find that special days are okay.

There’s no right or wrong. Sometimes an anniversary day is fine and other times, it can be upsetting. Your feelings may change from year to year, depending on what is going on in your life at the time.

The most important thing is that you are kind to yourself. 

If you’re finding an anniversary or special day without your pet difficult, then try to talk to somebody about it. 

Finding something to do to mark the day can be helpful and turn a sad occasion into a good memory.

Which of these activities would you like to try?

Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support

Video games that can help you cope with pet loss grief

Do you enjoy playing video games? Do you find they’re a fun way to connect with your friends or use your imagination? Perhaps playing a video game helps you escape from the real world for a while?

A recent article by Wired explained that more people of all ages are turning to video games as a safe space to process difficult experiences such as bereavement.

From our research, there are even some video games that can help you cope with pet loss grief.

We’ve put together a list of popular titles for you. Have you played any of these games?

Apart of Me 

Apart of Me is a beautiful quest-style game that you can play on your mobile phone (it’s free from both the iOS App Store or Google Play). It was designed by grief experts and young people who have experienced loss.

Explore the island, take on real-world quests, learn things you can do to help you cope and hear other young people talking about grief, all in a calm and safe environment.

Rated suitable for all ages

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a gentle “tend and befriend” style game where you look after an island and meet animal friends in real-time (24 hours on the game is 24 hours in real-life).

One feature of this latest title from the Animal Crossing franchise is that you can buy and craft a tombstone in the game and design your own memorial garden or space for the tombstone to sit in.

As it’s not always possible to have a funeral for a pet, lots of players have a virtual funeral for their loved one and create a memorial space that they can visit within the game. 

You can read more about players who have done this here.

PEGI 3 (Suitable for all ages)


Journey (exclusively available for the PS4) isn’t a game about grief but many people have said it has helped them to cope. Explore a strange and mysterious desert world with the help of other players. This game is peaceful, uplifting and gives you a beautiful online space to escape or think.


Life is Strange

Life is Strange is an episodic adventure game about characters experiencing loss, death and grief, as well as vibrant life. Although the game hasn’t been directly designed to help players cope with grief, many young people who’ve lost someone they love say this game helped them. 

There is some violent content in this game.

The original game in the series is rated PEGI 16. The newest release is PEGI 18.


In Spiritfarer, you play Stella (accompanied by her faithful cat, Daffodil), the ferrymaster who collects the spirits of the dead to take them to the afterlife. As Stella, your job is to help the people who have died to finish the tasks they didn’t complete when they were alive. This is a surprisingly sweet and uplifting game about saying goodbye.


Death and Taxes

Death and Taxes tackles the subject of death head-on with a fair amount of humour. You play the role of the Grim Reaper (Death itself), assigned an office job with the task of deciding who lives and who dies. Every choice you make has consequences. 

It may sound like a tough game to play when you’re grieving but the makers say they created it to help people talk about death and their experiences with it, and to make it a less “awkward” topic.

(Graveyard Keeper is a similar type of game).

Rated suitable for teens


In this visually stunning platform and puzzle game, Gris is a hopeful young girl lost in her own world, dealing with a painful experience in her life. Her journey through sorrow is manifested in her dress, which grants new abilities to better navigate her faded reality. As the story unfolds, Gris will grow emotionally and see her world in a different way, revealing new paths to explore using her new abilities.

Suitable for all ages

Are there any other games that have helped you with your grief?

Playing video games can be a great way to cope with pet loss grief. Many people find it easier to talk – or think – about their feelings in an online space. Maybe it’s because you can do or say things as a game character that can be harder face-to-face.

You may know of other games that tackle the subject of death or allow you to create a memorial for a loved one. 

It’s a growing tradition in games like World of WarcraftFinal Fantasy and Eve to host in-game funerals and memorials for players. This can be a helpful way to go through some of the rites and rituals surrounding death and think about how they can relate to your pet.

If there are any games that have helped you, why not mention them in the comments below to help other young people who are also grieving a pet who has died?

And, remember, you’re not alone.

Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support

Write a letter to your pet (pet loss activities for children and young people)

If your pet has died or gone missing, you may feel like you have things you wish you could say to them.

One of the brilliant things about our pets is that they’re good listeners. When they’re no longer here with us, it can feel strange not having them to talk to anymore.

Something that can really help is to write a letter to your pet, telling them all the thoughts and feelings you’re having.

Things you could include in your letter to your pet

There isn’t a right or wrong way to write a letter to your pet, so you can say anything. Also, you don’t just have to write one letter. You can write to your pet whenever you feel like talking to them.

To help you get started, here are a few ideas.

Tell your pet how much fun you had with them

Can you think about a time when your pet really made you laugh or you did something special together? Try writing about your favourite memory or the favourite things you did together every day.

Tell your pet how they made you feel

Did they make you feel safe, calm or loved? Did you see them as one of your best friends or a member of your family? You could write all about those feelings in your letter.

Describe the best thing about your pet

Because you lived with your pet, you knew all the things about them that made them special, even what they were like when they were sleeping or eating.

In your letter to your pet, you could tell them what you thought was the best thing about them. We know it can be really hard to pick just one thing, so how about writing a list of all of your favourite things?

What you miss about your pet

Your letter to your pet could be a good place to talk about what it is you miss about them. Maybe you miss walks with your dog or your cat falling asleep on your bed at night. Maybe you had a guinea pig and you miss the sound of them “wheeking” for food every time you open the fridge.

Again, there’s no right thing to say. All that matters is how you’re feeling.

If your pet was here now, what do you wish they were doing?

If your pet could be here with you right now, what would they be doing? What would you wish for them? What did they like to do when they were happy?

You could share those wishes in your letter.

Some prompts to help you write

If you’re still not sure what to say in your letter, we’ve put together the start of some sentences for you.

Try picking one or two and seeing what you can say to your pet to finish the sentence:

  • I want to say that…
  • I miss you when…
  • I want you to know that…
  • I am feeling…
  • You were…
  • My favourite memory of you will always be…

Grief for a pet can cause us to have lots of different thoughts and feelings. It’s okay to talk about these in your letter, even if you feel angry or sad at the moment. The great thing about your pet was that they loved you whatever mood you were in and that will never change.

If you don’t enjoy writing letters

You may not have written many letters in your life, so writing a letter to your pet might feel strange and a bit too much like something you’d do at school. Some people love writing while others don’t!

You could try one of these activities instead as a way to share how you feel about your pet:

  • Write a short poem
  • Draw or paint a picture
  • Create a comic book or graphic novel about your pet
  • Keep a diary
  • Make a photobook about your pet

When your letter is finished

If you do write a letter, what you do with it once it’s finished is up to you. You could put it in a memory box for your pet, seal it in an envelope and put it away somewhere special or even bury it in your favourite spot in the garden.

All that matters is that you are able to say whatever you want to say.

You could ask another member of your family (or a friend or teacher) to help you write the letter or read what you’ve written to them when your letter is finished. This can be a great way to get everyone talking about your pet and share happy memories together.

It’s okay to smile and laugh and be happy about your good times with your pet. We guarantee that they loved it when you were smiling and they wouldn’t want you to be sad.

If you do write a letter to your pet, we’d love to hear more about it. Feel free to leave a comment below to tell us what you included. Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support

After your pet dies: pet loss information for young people, age 7-13

Are you a child or young person whose pet has died or gone missing? You may have lots of questions about what has happened and your thoughts and feelings.

We’ve put together some pet loss information that we hope will give you some answers.

Why do pets die?

Pets, like people, die when they are very old, very sick or because of an accident that stops their body (including their heart and brain) from being able to work anymore.

Sadly, most pets don’t live as long as humans. This means that when we welcome them into our families, we know there will come a day that they die and we will have to say goodbye.

What is bereavement?

Bereavement means losing someone through death. It could be a person or a pet – anyone who is important to you.
Here on The Ralph Site, we support people when their pet has died.

Is bereavement the same as grief?

Bereavement and grief are slightly different but they also have lots in common. 

The best way to explain it is that grief is a response to any kind of loss. You might feel grief about moving to a new house or a new school and leaving your old one.

When you experience a bereavement, you feel grief that’s been caused by someone you care about dying.

What does bereavement or pet loss grief feel like?

People often think of grief as feeling very sad all the time but it isn’t really like that. 

Grief can make us have all sorts of feelings. We can feel sad, angry, guilty, worried, shocked or relieved, bouncing from one feeling to another. You might wake up feeling OK and then suddenly feel very angry or like crying later in the day.

You may even feel numb, which means you find it hard to feel anything at all.

You can be grieving but feel happy sometimes. It doesn’t mean you don’t care.

Grief can make you feel tired or like you don’t want to do the things you normally enjoy. Even talking to your friends or doing your schoolwork can feel too hard.

You might want to talk about your pet all the time or you might want to keep busy so you don’t have time to think.

We can also feel grief in our bodies. You may get aches and pains (perhaps a stomach ache or headache) or find it hard to sleep.

You might want to eat more or less or feel butterflies in your tummy, like when you’re nervous. 

These physical symptoms will go away with time.

There is no “right” way to feel when a pet dies. Everyone experiences grief differently.

Will other people understand how you feel?

Some people will understand how you feel. Other people won’t.

A hard part about losing your pet is that people outside of your family may not understand or know how much you loved them. 

Even people in the same family can feel grief about losing a pet differently. 

Some people don’t have pets so they don’t know how awful it can feel when a pet dies.

You might be worried about how upset you feel about your pet dying. Some people say they feel “silly” for being so sad. But it

isn’t silly to be upset about losing someone who was your friend and who loved you.

It’s OK to feel grief.


What can help you to feel better?

It can help to talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. This might be a teacher, a grown-up or some of your friends.

If people know what you’re going through, they are more likely to be kind and understand if you act differently to normal. 

When a person dies, we say goodbye to them by having a funeral but that isn’t always possible with a pet.

You might find it helps to do something special to remember your pet and how much you loved them. This is called a “memorial” – you can find nine ideas for memorials for your pet here.

Sometimes, it’s easier to write about how we feel than talk about it. You could try writing a letter to your pet and tell them everything you’re thinking about.

How long will it take to feel better?

It’s impossible to say how long you will feel grief about your pet dying.

You will probably always have a piece of you that loves and misses your pet. As time goes on though, you will gradually start to enjoy new things and your life will grow enough that you’ll think about more than your grief.

Feelings can go in circles. 

It’s completely normal to have good and bad days for a long time. You might feel like you’ve “got over” feeling angry and then suddenly feel really cross again. You might suddenly burst into tears even though you didn’t realise you were feeling sad.

Don’t worry, that’s a normal part of grieving.

Most people find that things do get easier in the end. 

Always remember that you are allowed to laugh and have fun. Your pet loved you very much and would not want you to be sad. When you were happy, it made them happy too.

Is it really OK to talk about grief and about your pet?

Yes, it is!

Sometimes, grief can be a hard thing to talk about. It can also be hard to talk about the pet we miss.

You might be worried that if you talk about your pet, it will upset someone else in your family or make them feel unhappy.

People who know lots about grief say that talking about it can be one of the best ways to feel better. Sharing your memories can make you feel like your pet is still around and can help you to remember all of your favourite things about them.

Definitely tell someone you trust if you want to talk. If you don’t want to talk though, that’s OK too. 

What if I can’t stop worrying about death?

When someone we love dies, it can make us think about something bad happening to other people and pets that we love.

If you’re experiencing these worries, it can help to talk to a grown-up you trust. They’ve probably had the same thoughts too at some time in their life.

If you have other pets, remind yourself that they are alive and well. They have lots of living to do and you can help to make every day happy and fun for them. Even when people and animals get sick, most get better. With animals, vets are people who help pets stay healthy.

We are so sorry that your pet has died. You will always remember them and how much you love them. We’re sure they loved you very much too.

We would like to create some more blogs and activities to help children and young people who are grieving a pet. If you can think of anything that you think would be helpful or you would like to know, please ask a grown-up to leave a comment below to let us know.