By Stephanie Di Traglia

I’m not sure about you, but I don’t like to think about things that hurt. So, it goes without saying that thinking of the day I lose my soul pup Ruby is something that I, like many pet parents, avoid at all costs. A recent emergency vet visit however, made me acknowledge the heartbreaking reality, that one day it will happen.  I also realized that when that day comes, I need a plan for what comes next.

My heart still grieves for past little loves who shared different chapters of my life. I remember the chaos and the devastation on those days, the sorrow and the confusion. I was in no emotional state to think at that time about what was most important to me in memorializing them and paying tribute to their stories. But because it hurt too much, I never let myself think about it before their times came, and so sadly I didn’t get to have my perfecting ending for Guard or for Dora. This time, I owe it to myself, and to my sweet girl Ruby to think about what’s important to me. This time, I have a plan. I know I want permanent prints of that big beautiful nose that I smooch before bed each night and the paws that have kept her faithfully by my side. I know I want a ceremony around her favorite swimming hole, and a garden for the butterflies that are her favorite to frolic after. What I found was that my planning wasn’t morbid, but rather a sense of comfort in knowing that her legacy will live on in a way that reflects our special bond. Things I never would have thought of, had I waited until that day. It was also an excuse to cuddle her close, tell her all my favorite things about her, and cherish every moment she continues this adventure with me

Few pet parents wake up on a bright Sunday morning seeking education on the practically endless options and opportunities to honor the life shared with our beloved pets. But today that is exactly what I did using The Pet Loss Center’s Guide to Planning Ahead. Our loving professionals at our Tampa Pet Loss Center can help you navigate through these steps. As my Mentor and our Pet Loss Pioneer says “you don’t know what you don’t know” Let us help you bridge the gap between “I know I want to do something, but I don’t know what.” and the perfect way to honor your pet.  Yes, it’s hard to think about, but take it from me, it’s harder if you don’t.

We always welcome visitors and families at our Center located at 6091 Johns Road Tampa, FL 33634 . You can also request your own Guide to Planning Ahead by emailing us at