Meet The Dog Of My Heart, Gulliver

Gulliver’s Garden

When my Dalmatian, Gulliver, died in May of 2010, I had his body cremated because I didn’t know what else to do, and I didn’t want to bury him on my property because if we moved he would have to be left behind. There isn’t a pet cemetery near us, and he would have felt too far away even if there had been.

When we picked up his ashes at the vet’s, they were in a simple pine box with his name on a brass plaque. Back at home, I couldn’t figure out where to put it: a bookshelf or a mantel just didn’t feel right. A friend suggested creating a garden for him, and this seemed a brilliant idea—but then I realized I couldn’t put a wooden box outdoors, susceptible to the rainy Northern California winters where I live.

And so I found myself on the Internet, doing something I would never have anticipated back in those days when my sister and I held our noses while passing cemeteries: I searched for an urn, came up with one of green marble, and had Gulliver’s name engraved on it.

Very dignified. And when it arrived in its big wooden carton, I did not take it to a funeral home to have the ashes transferred from the plain pine box. One morning, very carefully, I used my own hands to place the plastic bag that now held my dearest friend into his final resting spot.

I’ll never pass a pet cemetery and hold my breath again.

Rhiannon and Tia were beloved, too, but I didn’t have the foresight to save their ashes after they were put to sleep. My good friend, Dawn Mauel, gave me the angels right after their deaths as a way to remember them. I have no doubt that they were waiting over the “Rainbow Bridge” for Gulliver as he made his way there in May of 2010.