Finding the Perfect Pet Grave Marker
When I first brought “Sam” the puppy home from the animal shelter, I could hardly wait to see the expression on my 5yr old daughter’s face. Upon my arrival, I bolted out of the car and scurried up the front porch steps with a somewhat frightened six week old beagle tucked under my good arm. As I reached for the screen door Sarah greeted us with a priceless look of excitement no parent could resist, and gleefully declared: “He is perfect”.
That one simple word, “perfect”, was validation that I had done well and it was reinforced with the years of joy that Sam had brought to my daughter and the family. Now 14 years later and with Sarah as a sophomore in college, we are faced with the loss of our beloved family member Sam. Sarah chose to have him cremated, yet she still wants a grave marker to serve as a permanent memorial tribute to the life he spent with us.
Learning About Options
Pet grave markers have been used by many pet owners to mark the resting place of a cherished pet whether in a pet cemetery or in their backyard. Yet, they do not necessarily have to mark an actual grave as many have been purchased to serve as a memorial marker. It used to be that monument dealers would simply take a small grave marker suited for an infant, carve it with a design and the pet’s name and dates.
The love that pet owners have for their four legged companions has fueled the demand for more pet marker options. Here are some popular pet grave marker markers available to the general public:
Sandblasted Pet Headstones – Usually made from granite, they are available in a variety of natural colors such as pinks, reds, browns and the ever popular gray and black. These markers are engraved by means of sandblasting in which the design and lettering are carved into the granite’s surface with sand and a high pressure air supply. The cost for these is usually in line with baby or infant headstones as they are in the same size category.
Laser Engraved Pet Markers – As the name implies, these markers are engraved with advanced laser technology which enables a laser beam to lightly etch the personalized details onto the surface of a highly polished black granite surface. In fact this method only works with black granite as it is the only color that provides the rich contrast needed. The design is made with a special computer program which feeds the data to the laser engraving machine. A unique benefit of laser engraving is that you can have an actual photograph of your beloved pet incorporated into the design. The cost is normally in the $90 to $300 range depending on the size.
Upright Pet Monuments – These memorials consist of two components, the upright tablet (also referred to as a die) and the base that it rests upon. They are modeled after traditional cemetery monuments. Upright pet monuments can be engraved either by sandblast engraving or laser etching. You can usually find them small enough for one person to carry and install on the grave space. Cost is usually in the $300 and up range.
Natural Rock Pet Markers – This variety is made from large natural river stones or any other stone that retains its natural appearance. They are engraved by sandblasting the details into the surface. The smaller stones may limit the amount of information that can be engraved. Their natural appearance makes them a popular pet memorial for those pet owners who wish to place them in a garden setting. They are fairly economical on the account that the stone does not need any additional finishing and are priced in the $70 – just under $200 range.
Pet Cremation Markers – A new concept, these markers are engraved in the same manner as laser engraved pet markers, but have the addition of a special compartment. Usually accessible by a removable top or bottom, the compartment will store and preserve the cremated ashes of a departed pet. They are very practical for pet owners who want an outdoor cremation memorial yet anticipate moving in the future. You will find them priced in the $170 to $400 range.
Bronze Pet Grave Markers – Consisting of a small cast bronze plaque mounted to a granite base, this type of memorial is very similar to the bronze memorials seen in memorial park cemeteries. They are often manufactured by the same companies who make the bronze markers for people so you can expect excellent quality in the finished product. The personalization is done by means of bronze casting – the lettering and emblems are raised from the surface and polished for a contrasting effect against a darker background. You can usually find several plaque shapes for this type of memorial and the price range is in the $250 to $800 range.
As you can see there are a variety of pet grave markers and the task of choosing one is a little easier once you know the differences and benefits of each.
A Permanent Tribute to Your Pet
In the end Sarah decided to go with a pet cremation marker and keep it at our house until she graduates and settles into a home of her own. She had it engraved with Sam’s name and life dates plus a picture of Sam laying in the backyard under a shady tree for an afternoon nap – her favorite photo.
When the finished product was delivered it was amazing how the details came through with the laser engraving. As we both sat on a backyard bench admiring the marker in its place under the same tree in the photo, she turned to me with a tear running down her cheek and whispered, “It’s perfect”.