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In 2010, Toon won Second Prize in the prestigious Hema-ontwerpwedstrijd (Hema Design Contest), a national design competition for Dutch students sponsored by one of the Netherlands’ leading department stores. The theme of that year’s contest—“Journeys”—inspired Toon to create “De laatste reis” (which he later developed into ByeByePet). While contemplating the many journeys that punctuate our lives, Toon found himself pondering the final journey we all must take, and ByeByePet soon developed into a loving, interactive way to teach children to appreciate the natural cycle of life and death.

Pets are not just furrier family members; they provide warmth, life, and unconditional love. Children respond in kind, which is why the death of a beloved pet is such a heartbreaking event. This is often a child’s first contact with death, and celebrating the rituals that help us say goodbye can help a child understand that life is to be cherished because it does not last forever.

To help families through this difficult process, ByeByePet gives children an opportunity to design and customize a ritual that comes from the heart. Kids can decorate their ByeByePet box inside or out, fill it with mementoes, and use it to bury their beloved pet in a special place. The box is made of heavy-duty recycled paper and is biodegradable.

ByeByePet is not meant to hide the tragedy of a child’s loss. Rather, it is a creative and sustainable way to say goodbye—while paying tribute to a much-loved pet that will live forever in their memory.

Identity by Jonathan Kraayeveld

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