Farewell to “Old Stinky”
We had our memorial service for Penny today at the Children’s Village.. All the kids and most of the staff gathered at her yard, where the children had made a memorial stone for her. Inserted into the middle of the memorial stone, someone had put a one cent copper coin. Each of the kids held a small polished stone which they held in their hands. After a moment of silence during which the kids were asked to hold a memory of Penny in their hearts, one by one they placed the stones on Penny’s memorial stone.
Some shared their memories out loud. Francine recalled Penny’s first Thanksgiving when Francine had inadvertently left a large piece of pumpkin pie on the table. Given Penny’s considerable girth and very short legs, the girl felt her dessert was safe. The pooch would never be able to get up on the dining room table. Never underestimate a hungry basset hound.. Another kid recalled losing a plateful of pasta in the same manner.
Jackie, our program director, remembered the day the kids tried to arrange a “marriage” ceremony between Penny and her own dog, Cody. The kids had decked out the “groom: with a bow tie around his neck and Penny wore a white bridal veil. Unfortunately, neither bride nor groom liked the idea of an arranged marriage and ended up growling at each other. I recalled the day Sam and I went to pick up Penny from her foster home. Jo Ellen, an administrative assistant read a poem that remnded us that Penny was not gone forever and that we all would meet again some day at Rainbow Bridge.
While the ceremony was short, there was a lot of quiet sniffling and moist eyes. I imagine that there are people out there who think a funeral service for a dog is a little over the top but it felt right somehow to give the old pooch a proper send off. She asked little from us other than a good belly rub from time to time. In return she gave us lots of laughs and lots of love.
I am delighted that we held this little ceremony.Yes, it was sad but that is part of life isn’t it? There is not one of our village kids who has not experienced deep grief in his or her young life. Sometimes they suppress that sadness and push it down in their hearts but they don’t forget it. Having the opportunity to mourn for a pet allows them to express grief and bring it to the surface. Besides, isn’t it important to acknowledge in our own hearts that all who share the gift of life (even old basset hounds) are connected and worthy of reverence. So, it was good for us to come together as a village community and say goodbye in a dignified way to our first beloved village dog. Old Stinky, we’ll always love you.