Doggy Funeral
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Huck 1992 - 2010 -- http://regex.info/blog/
Huck
1992 - 2010

Fumie's folks' dog, Huck, died last month, aged exactly 17 years 8 months, which made him one very old puppy. I think Fumie had just started high school when he joined their family.

He'd been in poor health for a long time, since prior to me getting any kind of photographic skill, so the best photo I could find was a blurry crop from an old snapshot.

I'm not sure what people normally do in Japan when a pet dies and they don't have a yard to bury him in (come to think of it, I don't know what people do in The States, either), but he'd been a member of the family for a long time, so Fumie's folks wanted to say goodbye in a meaningful way. So, we brought Huck to a pet cemetery the next day, where a mini version of the same kinds of Buddhist rites done during a person's funeral took place....

Pet cemetery -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 66 mm — 1/160 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos

Having gone through the real thing when Fumie's grandmother died two years ago, it was familiar, though this version lasted only a few minutes.

“Matsunaka Family — Huck Memorial” -- Pet cemetery -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32 mm — 1/160 sec, f/5, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
“Matsunaka Family — Huck Memorial”

The altar in the background is similar to that at a Buddhist temple (such as this), but filled with various pet snacks that were apparently favorites of some recently departed pets.

It was all slightly comical — the whole business was housed in mobile trailers, and the guy in charge wore a tie with puppies on it — and everyone involved understood it to be just a little bit silly, but at the same time, a beloved pet is hard to lose and so perhaps the mix of somber and silly were just the ticket Fumie's folks needed.

After the short ceremony, the wooden memorial and Huck went off in a special truck to be cremated in the mountains, and we went out for lunch at a wonderful place I'll write about some day. (Update: here). It was cherry-blossom time and beautiful out. It was at that lunch, at an outside cafe, that I took the photo featured in “Anthony Growing Up: the Tipping Point” that I like so much I'll repeat it here:

Sunainosato -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/1250 sec, f/2, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

After lunch, we returned to the pet cemetery where, just like at a human funeral, Huck's mostly-cremated remains returned still hot, and there were rites involving the bone fragments that remained.

The “pet cemetery” actually has no graves or burials... it's just a couple of trailers at a parking lot, with one large shared monument at one end.

Pet-Cemetery Monument -- Pet cemetery -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/2500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Pet-Cemetery Monument
Very Tall much taller than it looks in this picture -- Pet cemetery -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/3200 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Very Tall
much taller than it looks in this picture
Past Pets Anthony is pointing to a shitzu, like Huck, he found on the facing wall -- Pet cemetery -- Otsu, Shiga, Japan -- Copyright 2010 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 58 mm — 1/2000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Past Pets
Anthony is pointing to a shitzu, like Huck, he found on the facing wall

That was six weeks ago, and just like a human funeral, it continues after 40-something days for a placing-of-the-bones type ceremony at the shared monument (though in case, the pet cemetery's motives in pressing the service was likely more related to increasing the billables than to assuage grief). That was today, which reminded me that I wanted to post this.

Huck is, I'm sure, in Doggy Heaven enjoying all the non-dairy coffee creamers he can get his tongue on.

Continued here...


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