Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
December 12, 2023 ·  4 min read

Would You Get A Tattoo With Your Pet’s Ashes?

New tattoos offer pet owners a chance to remember their pets forever.  People are always looking for ways to commemorate the time they spent with their beloved pets, so why not do so with a tattoo? A tattoo shop in New Zealand is offering this service, and it is quickly picking up attention from interested clients. The shop mixes a small amount of your pet’s ashes into the ink.

A tattoo made from your pet’s ashes

For this type of tattoo, small amounts of the pet’s ashes are mixed into the tattoo ink and embedded into the skin with the design. Because the method is unconventional, a waiver must be signed for the service, but this has not deterred anyone so far.

Losing a Pet. Losing a pet is as devastating as losing a family member. The level of grief most people feel is soothed only by being able to remember their lost pet in a special way.

Commemoration Options. Currently, pet owners have a variety of options to commemorate their time with their beloved pet. Plinths, urns, caskets, posters, pictures, and even lifelike stuffed animals are all options. A lot of people actually choose to have a pet portrait tattooed in remembrance of their loved ones.

Tamara Cook. Tamara Cook is a tattoo artist at Dark Cloud Studios in Australia who receives plenty of requests for these type of specialized pet portraits. These are the pet portraits tattooed into the skin with a minimal amount of the pet’s ashes mixed in.

The Idea. The idea is clever, allowing pet owners to feel as though their pet is with them all the time. As this is a newer option, the normal health warning that people get with tattoos must have an additional addendum about using the pet ashes in the ink.

Sign a Waiver. If a client requests to have this type of pet portrait done, they must sign a waiver. The waiver is a requirement due to the use of the ashes. If the waiver is not signed, there is no way that Tamara or the other tattoo artists will do the tattoo.

The risk. “There can be an extra risk doing these sorts of tattoos because a foreign body is being introduced into the skin,” says Tamara. This risk has not hindered the number of people choosing to remember their pets this way.

Ink with Ash. Only the smallest amount of ashes can be mixed into the black ink, but this is usually more than enough for a mourning pet owner. Mixing a large amount is not advised under any circumstances.

The Effect. Mixing the pet’s ashes into the black ink, even in very small amounts, causes the color to look lighter. The tattoo does not heal the way a normal tattoo would which results in a final effect that is slightly faded

Restrictions. Even though some people may want to get large pieces dedicated to their pets, Tamara does not advise a piece that covers more than a small area. The way the tattoo heals with the ash mixed into the ink makes a larger piece inadvisable.

An Emotional Process. The entire process of designing and creating the tattoo can be a very sad and heart-wrenching ordeal according to Tamara. The client chooses the location and the most special part of the tattoo and the work begins.

Mixing the Ashes. “It can be really sad when I mix the ashes into the ink,” Tamara said. Just holding the remains of their pet can be enough to trigger tears.

An Emotional Process. When speaking about finishing a tattoo, Tamara recalls that “people often get really emotional remembering their pets. But when they stand up and look at it they’re so thankful.”

An Animal Lover. Tamara describes herself as an animal lover who can clearly understand the appeal of this type of tattoo. The demand for these types of tattoos has continued to rise steadily as more people choose to remember their pets this way.

The Price. The cost of getting a tattoo of your pet with their ashes mixed into the ink can vary based on the area the tattoo artist is located in. Tamara charges based on the size of the tattoo, which is recommended at mini portrait size. Mini portraits at Dark Cloud Studios start at $300 and go up based on the size of the portrait, regardless of the inclusion of the pet’s ashes.

The Memory. “I’ve always welcomed anyone who wants to remember their animals this way,” Tamara said. She added, in conclusion, that she loves that people trust her enough to create this personal memory for them.

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