Online Pet Memorials — a wonderful way to honor the life of your beloved pet.
At WestVet, we could share hundreds of stories each month where an animal receives veterinary care, heals, and goes on to live a long, happy, and active life. However, there are times when pets pass away from old age, an accident or an extreme illness. Our employees are all pet owners, and we feel the heartbreak each time a furry friend is lost. In addition, many of us have had a pet that has passed and we are very sensitive to the grief that accompanies the death of a pet.
So we were inspired, delighted, and amazed by the kind efforts of one local pet owner who wants to help others during the difficult mourning process. Greg Koehler designed and launched Paws4Memories, a free website that enables pet owners to upload a picture of a sweet pet that has passed, and write a little biography about their furry family member. Memorials can be shared with friends and family who may add their own comments and favorite memories with a furry companion. It’s a win-win and in today’s digital and connected world, we love this idea!
When we asked Greg what prompted him to share his computer talents and skills with other pet owners, his answer was pretty straightforward—his was inspired by the relationship he has with his own dog, Bear. “She is one of my three dogs. As I began thinking about how I would cope with her passing,” Greg wrote to us, “I compared pet loss to how we cope with the loss of a loved person in our life…we celebrate the moments we shared and typically write a memorial about those experiences and their life. The life of our pet companions should be celebrated in the same ways.”
Such a simple idea, but a truly wonderful way to begin the healing process after the loss of a pet—and an idea that has resonated with other pet owners. “Paws4Memories has been up for a little less than a week, and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive,” Greg told us. “People love the idea and enjoy remembering their beloved companions.”
It’s important to note that this is free, the website is 100% not-for-profit. In addition, there will be no advertisements running on the website. Another bonus, this is not an overly difficult or time-consuming endeavor, in a few minutes anyone can memorialize a pet they have lost.
“Remembering and sharing the happiness our companions brought us is the least we can do to embrace their life and the love we shared together throughout the years. Honoring their lives can bring a lot of joy and sharing their story with others in the community can help with coping with the loss. Visitors can also post a comment to the memorial and pay their respects.”
Greg says his three dogs, Bear, Smokey and Boots bring him joy and happiness every single day. Bear, a Shar Pei mix, Boots, a mini-Dachshund, and Smokey, a German Shepherd mix are certainly considered part of his family. He says that he and his fiancé love taking their furry family members hiking in the Boise foothills, on annual road trips to the Oregon or California coasts, and watching them play and interact with one another. He describes them as his “friends” and “companions.”
We are always delighted to meet fellow pet owners who cherish their animals and that relationship. Thank you, Greg, for sharing your talents with us— we know that this website will be a place of healing and celebration of the furry people that we all love so very much.