Published by PETA.

Our cats and dogs are our companions, our confidantes, and, for many of us, our best friends. They come into our lives for a short time, and we “teach” them silly things like how to sit and “shake,” where not to scratch, and the meaning of words like “vet,” bath,” and “cookie.”

In return, they teach us the really important stuff—like finding joy in the simple things (e.g., a warm beam of sunlight on the floor, fresh-cut grass, a hug), living for the moment (no dog has ever been “too busy” for a walk or a trip to the beach!), and the meaning of unconditional love. In one way or another, each of the animals who have been a part of our lives has helped shape us and make us into who we are today.

Why not take a few moments to remember the special animals who have been a part of your life—and maybe even do something special in their honor? The following are some ideas:

• Bring joy to animals who don’t have a loving home by volunteering at your local animal shelter.

• Connect with other animal guardians. You could brighten an elderly neighbor’s day by stopping by to chat and taking over some toys and treats for their cat or dog. • Plant a tree, bush, or flowerbed as a “living memorial” to your companion.

• Donate to an animal shelter or animal protection organization. PETA’s True Friends Memorials program is a way to pay tribute to beloved animals while making a gift in their name to help stop animal suffering.

• Show your companion animals how much you love them by walking, hugging, playing with them every day. Are you missing a special animal friend?

Tell us about something you learned from him or her. If you’ve come up with a creative way to memorialize a departed companion animal, we’d love to hear about that too!

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