Animal Graves and Memorials (Shire Library)

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9780747806431: Animal Graves and Memorials (Shire Library)
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It is said that the Victorians were obsessed with death but tight-lipped about sex, whereas today the opposite is true. While ducking our own mortality, with the death of a pet we sometimes acknowledge our grief in a way that we seem incapable of expressing over the loss of our own kind. This is not new. Physical examples of such loss are everywhere - a statue in a park, a monument in the grounds of a stately home, a headstone hidden in the undergrowth of a cottage garden or a grave in a specialist pet cemetery. Each lichen-covered stone or decaying cross records a piece of history, a moment of loss or sadness.
Nor is this a peculiarly British habit. Prince Chula of Siam, a lonely student at Cambridge in the 1930s, donated a dogs' drinking fountain to commemorate the life of his dog Tony. In Belgium, Princess Mary of Croy rescued Jack, the pet dog of Edith Cavell, who was executed by the Germans during the First World War. When he died she presented his stuffed remains to the British Red Cross. American soldiers based at Alresford during the Second World War were depressed by the death of their adopted dog Hambone Junior, killed by a car. Years later the American consul unveiled a permanent memorial to him.
Animal memorials range from such celebrated monuments as those to the faithful terrier Greyfriars Bobby and the Duke of Wellington's horse Copenhagen to to the modest stone commemorating 'Goldie - God Bless Our Bunny'. Each underlines our relationship with animals. In celebrating their lives we enrich our own.

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About the Author:

Jan Tom's first pet was a black cat named Blackie. Begining her writing career as a historical novelist, she found herself obsessed by the research involved; this book has given full rein to that passion.

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