Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Another Uplifting Post about Death to Brighten Your Day

I think I have started to emerge from the dog-themed funk I was in for a few weeks, as Star's adopters are clearly committed to her. 

Lady's relaxed, happy, low-stress style, the ease of walking her, and the abundance of kisses she bestows in exchange for a bit of attention have certainly helped. 

She does this thing though, where at night the place she really wants to be is in the back yard. Probably fed up with Lamar snapping and snarling at her as long as she's in the bedroom, and not wanting to spend the night alone in the living room--or maybe just in search of a cooler, fresh place to snooze in peace--when I leave the dog door unbarricaded she slips right out there. 

And when I followed her with a flashlight, what I found was kind of magical, kind of beautiful, and a little bit haunting. Of all the places she could find to rest in the great big backyard, she chose the slightly hollowed-out nook under the azalea bush where Tashi died, almost exactly two years ago. The bush is in bloom just like it was then, and I found Lady resting under there just like Tashi did her last two days on this planet.

It is haunting because I miss Tashi, and I wish I had taken that day off from work so that I could be there with her when she passed on. 

Lady reminds me of Tashi in a lot of ways. Even though she is reportedly only 6-7 years old, she moves like Tashi did when she was near death. When she gets up from lying down, or comes up stairs, she moves with a hobbling, bouncing gait probably due to her obesity and long nails--although on walks, she trots along like a happy, healthy girl. 

Then there's her chow-shepherd-brown dog looks, and her spotted tongue. 

Lady's similarities to Tashi are a huge comfort, and I've been enjoying each chow-flavored kiss and taking time to remember what a special girl my crazy dingo-chow was. 

I've brought Lady to visit Tashi's grave, where a beautiful peach tree has been in blossom. 


I've been talking to Fozzie and Lamar about Tashi, making sure that they remember her too. 

Remembering the dead serves an important purpose for the living. I would like to make death rituals a more important part of living, rather than denying death and trying to forget it. 

On a related note, I read an article recently about Green Burial, which told about a man who knew he was dying so he resolved to make his death meaningful; he produced a documentary to raise awareness of the alternatives to the toxic way we bury people now. Maybe I can get someone to just put me under a peach tree when I kick off. 

And if I haven't thoroughly bummed you out, don't forget to VOTE for the picture of Fozzie impersonating an elephant in the NOVA Dog cover dog contest!

What better way to affirm life?


  1. Some things just make you wonder.

  2. Interesting that Lady found that spot as comforting as Tashi obviously did. I'm glad this reminder of your old friend has been a blessing to you.

    We have a natural cemetery very close to Ithaca. I love the idea of my body composting some day. It just makes sense. I've never understood people's desire to have a "place" to visit a loved one (just my personal quirk). But natural burial where what's left when we leave this earth nourishes the earth is just beautiful.

    Hope you continue to hear good news about Star as her family works with her.

  3. I find that picture of Lady in her little flower covered den so sweet and touching. I'm heading over to vote for Fozzie.

  4. That is a bittersweet story. I don't think you should feel guilty about not taking the day off work for Tashi. She probably would never have left you if you had been there. If it was her time, you made it easier. :)

  5. Okay Kirsten, we'll slide you under a peach tree in the Okanagan (it's where they grow lots of peaches in British Columbia). My peeps remember my uncles every year on the day of their passing by leaving the porch light on throughout the night until the next day.

  6. Kirsten, what a sweet, gentle reminder of Tashi from Lady...and I like the idea of a green burial; my church does this.

  7. It's beautiful, actually. I can't think of a prettier place to be when that moment happens. Maybe Lady feels her presence there?



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