If you’re looking for a smaller, yet still incredibly meaningful, tattoo, then consider getting a paw print inked on your body. Though simple, these tattoos are also incredibly personal to the wearer and can symbolize a variety of things: from a favorite pet to an individual character trait to a representation of an entire culture, paw print tattoos are a great choice for many people.
One of the ways paw print tattoos can have an especially personal meaning is if the prints memorialize a pet. Whether you had a cat, dog, rabbit, or even a bird or lizard, it’s possible to get a paw print of that animal tattooed in remembrance of your pet. As you get older, these paw prints of past pets can become a linked design, such as a pattern on your shoulder or rib cage. If you have a lot of foresight, or if your beloved pet is still alive, you can actually personalize your tattoo even more – simply make a print of their paw by dipping it in paint and then placing it on a sheet of clean white paper, and take that in to your tattoo artist. They should easily be able to work from this design, and can make multiples of it if you want the paw prints to make a trail along your back, thigh, or other part of your body.
The paw print of a particular animal can also symbolize certain characteristics of that animal that you see within yourself or wish to embody. For instance, in many Native American cultures, individuals are associated with their totem animal, many of which have paws that are ideal for tattooing. The wolf is especially notable in Native American culture, in which it is believed to be the first animal to have understood and experienced death, making it a symbol of the afterlife. Wolves are also notable as protective parents, as well as some of the most communicative and expressive animals.
For members of the gay community, a bear paw print can symbolize the ‘bear’ culture. Gay men who belong to this culture are often characterized by their facial and body hair, and many are quite muscular or stocky in build. Though bears the animal are often regarded as fierce and fearsome, gay bears are often quite kind, polite, and friendly – but they will react when provoked!
More generally, a pattern of paw prints on your body can indicate that you are trying to move forward, embrace change, and reach your goals in life. Having a series of paw prints along your foot can indicate your passion for running, while tattooing a paw prints over a scar can demonstrate that you are moving past that particularly painful time in your life.
Paw prints are also a great way for mothers and fathers to represent their children. Getting a single paw print for each child, along with their name or initial, makes a cute design around a wrist or ankle – especially if the paw prints are cub-sized! You can also let your children have some input by having each paw print be a child’s favorite color.*