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Memorial Gardens for Beloved Pets

Updated: Feb 7, 2019

I write this Blog with a heavy heart.

We very recently freed two of our elderly kitties to go to the Rainbow Bridge. They were two old-timers; both were almost 20 years old. One, Zeppi, belonged to me and the other, Marti, belonged to my partner.

We had a veterinarian come to the house and it was a very beautiful release. The hardest thing I will ever do is end the life of a sweet, beloved pet.

We made the decision to bury them both in the backyard, rather than cremating them. After walking the yard, we finally decided on the perfect place. Beneath a vine maple that we planted a few years ago. This tree is a special tree in that it has the potential for maturing into a beautiful, properly branched tree that will filter the light coming into our bedroom window. There will be perennials planted beneath it, coming this Spring.

Pet Memorial Garden Portland Oregon
Pet Memorial beneath our Vine Maple

As our little tree grows, it will expand with the essence of Zeppi and Marti; I will always feel them when I admire this tree.

If you are so inclined to bury your pets at home, if you have some real estate to be able to do so, I want to suggest creating a Memorial Garden. We happened to have a young tree that had not yet spread its roots to bury them (almost) directly beneath. Planting a new shrub, perennial or tree provides an opportunity to choose from a wide variety of plants, one that you love and one that somehow reminds you of the joy your pet gave you.

If you are burying your pet in the warmer months, it is fitting to find a plant that will flower during that particular time. How wonderful to enjoy the fragrant blooms of a lilac, or the lacy blooms of a hydrangea, or maybe a lovely rose in their memory. In our case, our cats left us in January, and our choices are a bit limited for blooming plants. If we were planting new, I might consider a Camellia japonica or a grouping of Hellebores. A sweet smelling Sarcococca would fill the air with sweet vanilla in Winter.

I plan on placing a memorial rock, over where they are buried. By visiting a local nursery you can also find lovely garden art that reflects meaning for you. I may think seriously about some shade-appreciating Hellebores beneath the tree, as they are blooming so beautifully right now.

If you choose to be left with some ashes, spreading them in an area where your pet loved to walk and play is so very fitting. Of course, working them into the soil beneath a piece of art or a plant is fitting as well.

Pet Memorial Garden Portland, OR
My noble and peaceful boy

In my tree, I plan to hang a small wind chime. Zeppi is short for Zephyr, which means "warm wind". When it rings I will think of my Zeppi. I have also thought about hanging some colorful green votive holders on the branches

(his eyes were lovely celadon green). Attaching some little messages or quotes to the branches will feed my soul, too.

My boy was noble, serious and hesitant in all that he did. I believe that he was contemplative, almost a Zen-like spirit. He taught me much.

As time goes by, we think less often about our departed pets. It's just like that. We might even forget their little quirks and nuances, the little details of a life well lived.

However, whenever I am in the backyard, on a lovely summer night, I will sit nearby with a glass of wine, listen to the warm wind play the chimes, revel in the glow of the green candlelight and think of his sweet soul. My boy. A part of him here with me forever.

Pet Memorial Garden Portland Oregon
Marti, lover of a warm lap. Feisty. Defended her food bowl with determination.

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Karla Kramer
Karla Kramer

Thank you Keslie!


Beautiful beautiful tribute to your beloved baby Karla. I love following your journey on so many levels and have been thinking about you more than usual lately. Keeps those furry memories wrapped around your tender heart!

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