Turn your dog into a bonsai: bark new ways to let your pet live beyond the grave

Scarlett, my stately 14-year-old Standard Poodle, had to be put down last year, and I miss her every day.

She was as much a part of our family as my husband and children. If I was sad or upset, a wet, woolly nose nudged my hand, then tilted her head to allow me to hug her.

She knew I would feel better. How I needed that comfort when she was gone. My grief was absolute. Yes she was frail and stiff and I believed the vet when they said it was time. But I wasn’t ready to say goodbye and cried unabashedly as she slipped away – and often in the months that followed.

Friends and family were forgiving – even writing me letters of condolence – and if they thought I was so emotional, well, we Brits have always been crazy about our pets.

Dakota Fanning (pictured) skipped the cremation stage for her West Highland terrier, Lewellen, and simply had the dog’s white fur pressed into a pendant

Since the shutdowns, I think people are more forgiving of grief, feelings of all kinds.

That’s why when I recently read TV presenter Gail Porter’s groan of sadness about the loss of her beloved cat, I wasn’t surprised by the chorus of sympathy in the comments below. -below.

Susannah Jowitt opens up about losing Scarlett, her majestic 14-year-old standard poodle (pictured) and how much she misses her

Susannah Jowitt opens up about losing Scarlett, her majestic 14-year-old standard poodle (pictured) and how much she misses her

When she told how she had the cat cremated, my first thought was, “Oh, I wonder what she’s going to do with the ashes?”

I have a daily reminder of Scarlett sitting on the fireplace in my home office. It is a beautifully decorated cardboard container containing his ashes.

Susannah (pictured here with Scarlett) says she wondered what she could do with Scarlett's ashes as she didn't want to bury them, in case the family moved

Susannah (pictured here with Scarlett) says she wondered what she could do with Scarlett’s ashes as she didn’t want to bury them, in case the family moved

For almost a year, I watched them every day and wondered what to do with them.

I couldn’t bury them in our garden because we may not live here forever and I won’t let a stranger dig Scarlett for a new rose bed.

So when I read Gail Porter’s Twitter feed, I felt like I had stumbled among kindred spirits.

His followers had hundreds of suggestions.

Celebrities have shared how their pets live with them, including putting their ashes in a glass bowl (pictured)

Celebrities have shared how their pets live with them, including putting their ashes in a glass bowl (pictured)

‘I had a Pandora [charm bracelet] bead made that includes some of my cat’s ashes,” one wrote. “Really helped when I lost it.”

Jennifer Aniston has had her German Shepherd’s ashes transformed into a diamond necklace. She does not share details but Heart In Diamond, a UK-based company which also operates in Los Angeles, is over £13,500 for a 1ct white diamond created from animal ashes, setting not included.

Some people have suggested including animal ashes in a glass charm for Pandora charm bracelets.

Some people have suggested including animal ashes in a glass charm for Pandora charm bracelets.

Dakota Fanning skipped the cremation stage for her West Highland terrier, Lewellen, and simply had the dog’s white fur pressed into a pendant.

“I’m a walking shrine to her,” the actress said in an interview last week.

Chef James Martin not only chose a custom-decorated treasure box for his dog Fudge’s ashes, but keeps it on his bedside table with one of his many culinary awards.

He says, “I have this nightly mantra where I hit the box and hit the prize and then I can go to sleep. It’s quite special.

London writer Susannah Jowitt has revealed she will save a handful of her dog Scarlett's ashes to mix in the ground under a bonsai tree

London writer Susannah Jowitt has revealed she will save a handful of her dog Scarlett’s ashes to mix in the ground under a bonsai tree

When I investigate the world of pet ash art, I am at first blinded by the choice. Then I realize that for most memories I only need a teaspoon of ashes.

It’s when my husband finds me putting together a list that reads ‘Resin letter ‘S’, keyring, light vase, ring and paperweight’, totaling almost £500, that he takes me gently by the hand and puts a stop there.

“Scarlett will be confused if she’s torn between so many things,” he says. ‘Choose one. Two at most.

And so I am now awaiting the delivery of a “living urn” – a double-walled pot, the outer part of which I will fill with Scarlett’s ashes, keeping a handful aside to mix into the soil under the bonsai that will in the main interior section.

Other suggestions include an ash-filled sealed disc to place on your wrist's pulse point.

Other suggestions include an ash-filled sealed disc to place on your wrist’s pulse point.

I also sent a teaspoon of ashes to make a ring. Secretly, I did the same for a glass Christmas ball, but I didn’t tell my husband.

I will wear the ring on the little finger of my right hand, while the flower pot will travel with us to whatever house we move to in the future. Every December, I will hang his ash ball on our Christmas tree.

Scarlett’s memory will never die – as long as I can keep the bonsai alive…

Keep memories alive with…

LIVE URN

£249, plant not included, thelivingurn.co.uk

Keep your pet’s memory alive by mixing their ashes with soil and growing a bonsai tree in this clever pot.

GLASS CHARM

£37.50 for a glass bead containing ashes, plus a silver bracelet, etsy.com

Called ‘Pandora’, but unfortunately not made by the famous jewelry company. I challenge you to tell the difference.

CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT

£75, Asheswithart.co.uk

A heart-shaped decoration with engraved name. Available in 16 colors.

GRAPHITE STRAP

£19, etsy.com

A sealed disk filled with ashes to place on the pulse point of your wrist.

RESIN PAW PRINT

£17, etsy.com

Ashes mixed with resin, molded into a paw to fit in your hand.

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