Losing a beloved pet is difficult and heartbreaking. When faced with this painful reality, many of us want to honor our four legged family member in a lasting and memorable way. There are many possibilities for doing just that. Options include choosing a more traditional object such as a garden stone or something more creative like turning our pet’s ashes into a diamond. Unfortunately, for most of us the costs associated with having our pet’s ashes transformed into a diamond is too expensive and impractical.

There are several practical, affordable and meaningful options available thanks to a community of artists from the online marketplace, Etsy. Using a process called chiengora, these artists offer everything from hand spun yarn to pet fur teddy bears, scarves, hats, socks and other objects. Chiengora is a process from which yarn is spun from pet hair. After creating yarn from cat and dog fur, these artists spin the yarn into beautiful custom keepsakes.

One of these artists is Theresa Furrer of Nine Lives Twine. Ms. Furrer takes cat or dog fur and spins it into yarn from which she creates woven keepsakes. Katie Jane Thomas of Lynchburg, Va., wanted to find a way to meaningfully commemorate the life of her husband’s beloved dog, Yobee, a Labrador chow chow mix. Her online search led her to Ms. Furrer who says, “If I’m able to help someone’s heart to heal, that’s the goal.”

Ms. Thomas found the entire process to be a reverent one. According to Ms. Thomas, “The unboxing was a gift in itself. I’ve only seen my husband cry twice, and this was one of those times.”

The artists who make yarn using chiengora feel their endeavors give them a meaningful purpose in life. The healing and comfort their keepsake objects provide to those mourning the loss of a beloved pet gives these artists a true sense of satisfaction. Another artist, Kim Hines is the proprietor of Simply Handspun Yarns located in Crossville, Tenn. Ms. Hines began spinning chiengora nine years ago. She finds tremendous contentment from creating meaningful memories for those mourning the loss of a pet. “I want people to be able to have something of their pet,” Ms. Hines said.

Having a keepsake object created from yarn spun from a beloved pet’s fur can provide tremendous comfort to those in mourning. As Ms. Furrer of Nine Lives Twine noted, “Brushing and grooming your pet is an intimate ritual. What I’m able to do is a continuation of that ritual. If a pet has passed on, it closes that loop. The yarn becomes a part of their circle of life.” This is a beautiful option to consider when searching for a meaningful way to honor the memory of a beloved furry family member.

Source for content:  Oswaks, Molly, “Here’s How to Keep Your Cat Forever,” The New York Times, 13, January, 2020. 

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