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  • Writer's pictureSacha Packer

Honouring Their Memory Without Creating Shrines

Pet parents who keep the ashes of dearly departed dogs may end up with a bit of problem on their hands when urn after urn starts collecting and becoming an unintentional shrine. Sometimes it's simply a case of not having the space to cater for the urns and sometimes pet parents can start to feel a bit down when the collection keeps growing. Those of us with large-giant breed dogs will often live with more dogs than those with smaller dogs and we can end up with a lot of urns and they're big urns too especially those giant breeds. Some cultures as well as some families find a lot of comfort in shrines whilst others find shrines emotionally hard, so if a shrine is right for you, you do you! If you're looking for alternatives to a shrine, here are a few options available, some of which you may not have heard of before!

Memorial Glass This Australian company takes your loved ones ashes are make them into beautiful pieces you can touch and feel close to and even wear. Website

Eternity Memorials Another Australian company that takes the ashes and turns them into a work of art. Website

Cremation Rings An Australian company can take your loved ones ashes and turn it into beautiful jewelry Website

Planturns These are more modern looking urns which having a living plant, whilst I couldn't find any companies in Australia who offer this, you could make one yourself or have one made or even buy one from overseas. Website

Cremation Tattoos This is where the tattoo artist mixes a small amount of your pets ashes into the ink.

Eternal Reefs An American company produce 'Eternal Reefs' which are permanent living legacies that memorialise the passing of a loved one by helping to preserve and protect the marine environment for the benefit of future generations. Website

Australian Outback Resting Place Australian company Global Gypsies provide final resting places of loved ones ashes through their Dust to Dust program. Website

Go out with a bang Australian company Ashes to Ashes imbed your loved ones ashes into Fireworks! Website

Let them keep alive through new life Australian company 'Soul Trees' produces the 'Bios Urn' which is a fully biodegradable urn designed to convert humans and pets into a TREE after Life. The urn has two separate sections: a bottom section for the ashes and the top section with a special growth medium where you plant your seedling. When the urn is buried the seedling grows in the top section and its roots grow down through the ashes, as the Bios Urn biodegrades. This is one I'm going to bookmark for the future! Website

Send them high Shoot the ashes into the air but I warn you....don't do this on a windy day...I remember scattering Grandma as a child and getting her in my mouth. Website

Keeping it simple There's so many things you can do with ashes these days but maybe you just want something simple, this is our personal choice after our collection of urns was getting me down. I had this beautiful healthy succulent and I simply mixed the ashes in with the dirt, it's been many years since I did this and the plant looks beautiful and healthy which goes against all the gardening advice you would read as apparently ashes are high in salt which would be detrimental to the plant. There's 3 Great Danes in our succulent....go figure. How does it work with the Bio Urn then? Apparently companies who make Bio Urns claim that the soil is formulated to counteract nutritional imbalances and harmful pH levels.

How to get started? First you need to get the lids off your cremation urn, I use a heat gun or blow drier and a screw driver to pop the lids - some are tricky! You may even need to carefully break them to get the ashes out.

I have 7 urns of dogs from a friend who passed away - as a side note, it's important your family know what to do with your dogs urns if you have them so they don't get binned because in reality, they don't mean anything to most people other than you and those who live with you. When my friend passed away, I choose a potted plant from her house that hadn't been watered in probably weeks and was still doing well whilst everything around it was dying, so I took it home with the vision of it holding the ashes of her dogs.

A bit of water was needed and mix so there wasn't going to be a lack of moisture in the pot.

Then soil on top and then the plant and then soil to cover.

When the sun goes down, I'll add some Seasol to address some of the stress we've put it through and hopefully all goes well. What happens if it doesn't go well and the plant dies? Then we'll try and plant another plant into the pot, probably a succulent off cut from our other plant which is super hardy. If that doesn't go well then we'll simply integrate the soil into yard somewhere, effectively scattering the ashes.

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