Saying goodbye to a beloved pet can be difficult and heartbreaking. Many faced with this painful reality want to commemorate their four legged family member in a significant way. There are several creative ways to do so including turning a pet’s ashes into a diamond however, this can be quite expensive and impractical for most people.
There are a number of practical, affordable and meaningful options available in which to memorialize a beloved pet. A community of artists from the online marketplace Etsy offer various hand spun objects using a process called chiengora. Chiengora refers to yarn spun from dog hair. These artists offer everything from hand spun yarn to pet fur teddy bears, scarves, hats, socks and other objects. They take pet fur from cats and dogs to create yarn which is then spun into a beautiful custom keepsake.
Katie Jane Thomas of Lynchburg, Va., wanted to find a special way to commemorate the life of her husband’s dog, Yobee, a Labrador chow chow mix. Her search led her to chiengora artist, Theresa Furrer of Nine Lives Twine. Ms. Furrer spins cat and dog hair into yarn and other woven keepsakes. Viewing her enterprise as a ministry, Ms. Furrer said, “If I’m able to help someone’s heart to heal, that’s the goal.” According to Ms. Thomas, receiving the yarn spun from Ms. Furrer using Yobee’s fur was a “reverent process,” she went on to say, “The unboxing was a gift in itself. I’ve only seen my husband cry twice, and this was one of those times.”
Many of the artists who make yarn and keepsake objects using chiengora believe their endeavors give them a meaningful purpose. The keepsake objects they create provide healing and comfort to those mourning the loss of a beloved pet. Kim Hines, the proprietor of Simply Handspun Yarns located in Crossville, Tenn., began spinning chiengora nine years ago. Ms. Hines gets a lot of satisfaction from the work she does because it helps make meaningful memories for people. She said, “I want people to be able to have something of their pet.”
Having something made from yarn spun from a beloved pet’s fur can be quite comforting. 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.” What a beautiful thought when considering a way to honor the life of a beloved pet.