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You left a paw print on our hearts


DIY pet memorials.

As a memorial to departed pets, team members at Pasco Animal Hospital in New Port Richey, Fla., take paw impressions with modeling clay. "We always make sure the owners want a paw print beforehand," says Marge Helton, office manager. "Some do, some don't." For those who do want a tangible reminder of their pets, team members use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to frame the imprint. Then they use lettering to inscribe a name or special message.

"The clay air-dries so there's no baking," Helton says, "but if you want clients to be able to hang their mold, put two holes in it before it dries. We learned the hard way on that one." After a day or two, when the impressions are dry, team members paint them, spray on a clear glaze, and tie a ribbon through the holes for hanging. This all costs less than $10 a month, Helton says. "We find all of the materials on sale at a craft store," she says.

The staff calls pet owners when their mementos are ready. "Clients feel like we care about them and their pets when they see the special paw print we made," Helton says. "They're really touched by the thoughtfulness and appreciate the extra compassion we show by making them."

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