Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pet Funeral

Mr. Spock lays on his wooly blanket with a slipper snuggled against him. He looks like he is sleeping.

His "mama," Julia Giles, bends over the casket that holds him, crying and telling him how much she loves him and how much she’ll miss him.

This is her chance to say goodbye to the 11-year-old long-haired German shepherd that has been her companion since he was 8 weeks old.

She knew he was sick. She knew his time was coming, but she hoped she would be there when it happened. Instead, she received a call from her husband Randy on a recent Sunday when she was in Argentina.

Randy knew it was time. Mr. Spock hadn’t really moved all day. He wasn’t himself. Randy called Julia, held the phone to his friend’s furry black ear and let Mr. Spock hear his mama’s voice one more time.

Shortly after, Mr. Spock died in Randy’s arms.

"What do I do now," Randy thought to himself.

He found Pet Reverend Arlene Ponack through the Internet.

"Arlene took control of the situation and handled it for me," Giles says. "It was the best thing that could have happened to me at the time."

She contacted Pets at Peace, a pet funeral home affiliated with Fuller Funeral Home in Naples, that just opened on Tamiami Trail East. Licensed funeral director Brian Laurent arrived at the Giles’ Golden Gate home to take the dog in less than two hours.

"We’re handling your pets the same way we would handle a member of your human family," Laurent says.

During the service (the first at the funeral home), Ponack reads a poem: "With my pal gone, my side is bare. Just looking down, he is not there."

Randy and Julia sit in on a bench in front of the casket. They lean on one another and occasionally bend down to pet Tribble, the 7-year-old female German shepherd that was Mr. Spock’s mate.

She whimpers and then lays her head on the ground.

After the service, the Giles’ spend some time remembering Mr. Spock. He was plagued with illness for most of his life, but made up for his physical problems with a sharp mind.

He knew how to unscrew the caps off of soda bottles. He knew how to unlock and open the door. And he knew how to make his mama do something by grabbing her most expensive pair of shoes.

"The thing we enjoyed most about him was how he learned to love us and how he made us feel so content when he was around," Randy says. "He had sort of a magical affect on people, especially his mom and dad."

The funeral gave Mr. Spock the send off his parents felt he deserved and the time they needed to say goodbye.

"It helped my wife and I somehow get through the grief we’re still feeling," Randy says. "It is a Godsend."


Kahuna said...

That story made me sad and think about the animals that we have had by ourside through the years. It made me think about the way they touch us in the most unsuspecting ways. The funny thing is that when I was remembering all of them I realized that I could probably feel a short book with memories that involved our fury friends. It is nice to know that there are places out there that consider our pets as important as we do. This was a very touching story Lexey. You have an unbelieveable talent for telling and showing the stories that most of us take for granted, the ones that matter most. I love you. I love your talent.

Lisa said...

this story is so touching. and the photograph is fantastic Lex, you captured it so eloquently. and Tribble with her head resting on the casket makes me want to cry!

Jakob Schiller said...

I agree, the dog resting its head on the casket as the owners say goodbye makes me love this photo