When a family dog passes on
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2948
    I read Dog Man on the plane to Japan. It's a narrative about the life of Morie Sawataishi, who was one of the men responsible for saving the Akita after the war. Something first struck me as odd and a little creepy, and then poignant and touching after I thought it over. He saved the pelts of his favorite dogs after they died. He would stroke the fur and bring back many memories of each individual dog.

    What do you think of this memento?
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • SangmortSangmort
    Posts: 5510
    I know a few people who do this, with reptiles & mammals. They either keep the skins / pelts, or have a taxidermist stuff them.

    TBH it kind of creeps me out, but that could be a cultural thing. In my culture, if something dies, you bury it quickly. Stuffing them or keeping the skins & stuff just feels "disrespectful" for "memory reasons" [ vs, needing fur to stay warm ].

    Of course, I don't judge people who do that sort of thing, It's their business to do what they want, it's just something I could never do, particularly to my own pets. ~
    Post edited by Sangmort at 2012-03-05 23:34:32
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2082
    It does seem a bit odd, but then again, I keep telling my dogs I am going to save their tails when they die... I don't know if I'll actually do that, but I know of someone who did. She did it for similar reasons as Morie Sawataishi, for the memories.
    I guess it's like keeping the collars, tags, or ashes in a box. Just, their fur instead.
    image
  • SangmortSangmort
    Posts: 5510
    Of course, if you think about it a little more...pictures weren't cheap & common as they are today. Maybe it was like "their version" of a picture ;) ~
  • renaerenae
    Posts: 174
    I love that book!!! It is so very interesting and the history of his life with his dogs is touching. About him saving the pelts, is a little different, but it meant something special to him and a way to remember them and all the adventures they had. What ever makes you happy and keeps u moving forward is what counts. That's how I see it anyways.
  • LosechLosech
    Posts: 2082
    @Sangmort You've got a point about the picture thing.
    image
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2948
    One of the lines in the book said something to the effect that Morie spent too much time working with his dogs to photograph them.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • SangmortSangmort
    Posts: 5510
    I know that feeling! hahaha ~
  • jellyfishjellyfish
    Posts: 1081
    First, that is such a good book.

    Secondly, I was rather put off at first when I read this, like a culture shock, But I felt like he was super connected to nature, that it only seemed fitting. I am sure it has to do with the Japanese culture back then, but Im not very knowledgable I'm this area. But I did wonder about this aspect of the dog pelts. I don't think I could keep Toki's pelt 10-15 yrs from now. I'll stick with pet graves like I always have.

    It's funny that you bring this up though. Just today I took Toki to half priced books and I looked at an Akita book. There was a lady with goromaru's pelt. I believe this dog was mentioned in the dogman. I wonder if it was common practice?
  • renaerenae
    Posts: 174
    He did have pictures of the dogs that he looked at, but something about keeping their pelts he had too do. I know the Three Good Lucks was a very handsome dog, but died at a young age due to poisoning at a show they attended. So he kept his pelt.
  • NekopanNekopan
    Posts: 869
    We had a couple of sheep pelts that we kept and turned into rugs/throws. I guess it doesn't seem too unusual to me coming from that sort of agricultural background.
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 302
    Maybe not so odd in a time when taxidermy-ing deceased dogs for public display was still done in the name of both personal memory and "science," and dog pelts of non-treasured pets were still used to line coats... Also a bit akin to keeping a lock of someone's (human) hair for sentimental value, no?

    But I don't think I could do this, and I would much rather hold onto other tokens like an ID tag, a collar, a leash, and of course all my pictures. Having been traumatized by videos of Chinese fur farms, I couldn't imagine that happening to my deceased pet. There's something more ritualistic and "clean" about cremation to me. However, I don't know of a local pet crematorium that allows you to deliver the body yourself. All the local vets deliver on your behalf, I think, which forces you to leave your pet's remains at the vet, which I do not like. I would want to be able to take my pet directly to the incinerators. That, I think, would be my most ideal end.
    image M.C. with Bowdu (Shiba Inu) and Bowpi (Basenji) at The House of Two Bows
  • SangmortSangmort
    Posts: 5510
    You know, keeping some fur wouldn't bother me. i think it's the actual idea of skinning them.

    Basically, I wouldn't do to them dead, what I wouldn't do in real life. [ outside of burying them! ] ~
  • jeffnkazukojeffnkazuko
    Posts: 295
    I read the book recently and had the same thought. A bit weird but I guess an Akita pelt must be nice, as stated in the book the dogs were being killed for their pelts during the war.
  • WrylyBrindleWrylyBrindle
    Posts: 3289
    I'm with Osy- having the coat would be treasured but the idea of skinning them feels too violating to me. I dont know if I could deal with the coat having a face either, and I would have a very hard time letting go if I could continue to stroke their fur and smell them, it would pick open the emotional scab. Our family dog from my childhood we buried, and it was always nice to know where Fred was. But it was sad to move away, now Fred is essentially buried in someone else's yard. :/ But thats the way it is. We put Fred's collar in a paper bag in a closet at the time, and rediscovered it a year or so later- it smelled just like her and brought her right back into the moment- that was difficult, but also kinda nice...once.

    A friend had her Dane cremated but never found a place to 'put' him, so she just has the ashes in a shoebox that she keeps packing every time she has moved. it's been years and years and she wishes she had put him in a more meaningful place back in Wisconsin or something where they lived then. She tells me "Learn from me-Don't do THIS! Make a freakin' decision, and move on."

    I am sure when Reilly passes (and I am afraid to say that I have actually thought way too much about this recently as she is a large dog and is 9 with two cancer surgeries in the past 8 months) I will have her cremated and hike out into the National Forest and scatter her in one of our best spots in the forest, then visit her every time I go that way with the rest of the dogs (well, okay, with Juno- Sage wont go). It will never be someone else's yard, and roaming the woods together has always been the thing we do. Her spirit can chase the resident snowshoe hare spirits- that'd be Pure Reilly! I'll put her tags on my day pack, and I Imagine someone we meet on the trail hearing the tags jingling and saying, Oh! heh-heh! I thought you had another dog with you! and me saying, But I dO! :)

    Sage will be more difficult - he wouldn't want to be scattered in the woods. He's a homebody and a mama's boy. I will probably build a container for his ashes, either of clay or carved out of wood, that is shaped like him (but smaller!)- vigilant. A Sage Foo-dog with a hollow box in the body for his remains. It can go on the shelf in my studio, Up High Like a Kai, and looking out the window. This will be a lot of work, but Sage has ALWAYS been a lot of work LOL ...and always a labor of love. My guardian spirit, when he is dead he wont have any fears, and he'll stay with me, where he likes to be, still producing a fierce visage to visitors. :) God, I'm going to miss that crooked, crazy old dog...
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 3016
    Wryly Brindle I like your idea!

    I don't think I could do that to Saya I'd want to bury her or cremate her.

    I'm pretty good at making half way decent small statues so maybe when time comes I'll make a life size Saya clay statue! Probably take me forever since I'm better at doing cartoony cute stuff, but I can do realistic if it came to it. I'll have her mouth opened so I can put a clay toy in it since she loves to carry toys and retrieve things.

    I can put the statue where I bury her as a reminder..

    Animal planet has a new show called American stuffers and they stuff people's dead pets.. The one I saw wasn't a good job the dog just didn't look good and I just don't get it..

    Guess different people have different beliefs which I respect that.

    Photobucket
    Nicole, 7year old Bella(Boxer), and 7year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • aykayk
    Posts: 1979
    "I'm with Osy- having the coat would be treasured but the idea of skinning them feels too violating to me."

    I'm with this feeling. I would have loved to keep a coat of my old male Jindo, especially since I hardly ever see coats of his quality anymore, but I wouldn't want to visual the skinning process in my mind. Instead, I just kept a clipping of his shoulder fur and a cast of his paw.

    I don't think I would ask for the cast of the pawprint anymore though. I think whoever did my last dog took it from someone else's dog.

    It made me also lose some of the connection to the dog's ashes as well since I couldn't be sure that the crematory took care to keep track of things.
  • CrimsonO2CrimsonO2
    Posts: 2215
    Now there's an interesting idea. Here's someone making custom cookie jars of dog breeds, but what if you requested them to make it an urn instead?

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/59392872/custom-dog-treat-jars-any-breed?ref=sr_gallery_16&sref=&ga_includes[0]=tags&ga_search_query=custom+treat+jar&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=

    Jesse
    Jesse Pelayo

  • ttddinhttddinh
    Posts: 1990
    oohh...it seems a bit creepy TO ME> But in all honesty, to each his own, if that is the way he's wants to remember his dog, who am I to judge??
  • *JackBurton**JackBurton*
    Posts: 1370
    Claire, I just read it. Only one of the dogs he didn't photograph. The rest he did and developed in his own dark room.

    I plan on making a pelt closet at the new house.....J/K
    www.akita-inu.com
    www.Japanese-Akitas.com
    pedigrees.akita-inu.com
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 302
    There's also the idea of making jewelry or sculptures from a pet's remains. Something like this comes to mind. Can't remember if I saw this linked here or on some other forum...
    image M.C. with Bowdu (Shiba Inu) and Bowpi (Basenji) at The House of Two Bows
  • InuRyuuInuRyuu
    Posts: 48
    I don't remember the name of the company but they spin and loom the collected shedded fur of your pet. Many different items can be made eg: wall hanging, scarf, etc.
  • I remember reading that in the book and just thinking, "uh, NO!" That said, one of my friends knows a dog musher in Alaska who made mittens out of the fur of his favorite lead dog. I couldn't do it myself. It would be like doing something with the body of a person you loved....just super creepy to me.

    I haven't even kept ashes. I thought about it when my GSD passed two years ago, but money was super tight at the time, and after having been there with him through cancer and then the last, final shot, I just knew he wasn't there, and I didn't feel the need to save any part of him like that, though I know it is comforting to some others. I just felt like he was gone, and what I had was photographs, and his memories (and a ton of GSD hair that is probably STILL in the house!)
    Lisa, Toby (Shiba), Oskar and Zora (American Akita), and Leo (Kai Ken)
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2012-03-06 13:59:05
  • *JackBurton**JackBurton*
    Posts: 1370
    You know its funny but I still have Kaede's baby teeth.
    www.akita-inu.com
    www.Japanese-Akitas.com
    pedigrees.akita-inu.com
  • WrylyBrindleWrylyBrindle
    Posts: 3289
    I have some of Rei and Sage's baby teeth too. Juno ate all hers. :)
  • In Japan, it was an honor to keep the pelts of past Akitas. I actually have one from one of the Akita Historians. It's tucked away safely but I have no intention of letting my dogs ever see it.
    For anyone interested I can photograph it, knowing that the pelt was an honor to show of Nikki's past dog.
    feel it's a privilege to own, but I am very careful with it and don't show it to anyone, unless they understand.
    Britain Hill
    Fenikkusu and Kalitan
  • I have an animal graveyard that is very beautiful. I will be buried there, too.
    This is in Spring, not in full bloom.
    http://gallery.me.com/isabaloo#100376
    Britain Hill
    Fenikkusu and Kalitan
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2948
    In regards to having a place to "put" the ashes, on another board where I posted a similar thread, some people mentioned keeping all of their dogs in cedar boxes with the intention to be buried or cremated with them when they themselves passed on.

    Where I live, despite having a huge yard, my options are limited. It's not legal to bury my own dog in my yard, nor would I feel comfortable burrying animals as big as Akitas. They practically need a full size grave or I would be worried about unearthing them and the trauma that would cause. There are pet cemeteries, but they are ridiculously expensive.

    Cremation is the best option, but again, there is almost nowhere I can legally spread the ashes; the few places it is allowed requires a special permit and of course money. It's not allowed in any of the city parks or national forests we take the dogs to, nor any body of water. Besides, my dogs are homebodies too. So I will be keeping the ashes in a nice box (I like the hollow statue idea!) along with the dog's collar, tags, awards, etc in some little display/shrine like thing.

    I guess I don't have as much moral objections to skinning as others do. I've skinned animals myself (rabbits we hunted with slings and traps and a snake that was run over on the freeway but only it's head damaged). It's delicate work, not barbarous butchery. The care it requires to get a good skin is respectful of the animal. I think the pelts themselves (especially if it has a face!) are creepier than the process it takes to make them. But taxidermy is far worse than a pelt to me.

    As for not doing something to the pet that you wouldn't do in life, I guess that would rule out cremation entirely....
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 302
    Hmm, just wondering... Does anyone know if there would be any ecological ramifications of, say, illegally spreading a handful of cremated remains onto a favorite dog beach or woodsy, secluded hiking area? *cough*
    image M.C. with Bowdu (Shiba Inu) and Bowpi (Basenji) at The House of Two Bows
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 12224
    I'd rather just tattoo their name or picture on me somewhere than to keep their remains.
  • CrimsonO2CrimsonO2
    Posts: 2215
    You're going to run out of body real estate Brad....
    Jesse Pelayo

  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2948
    Ecological ramifications? Probably none. It's just a matter of not getting caught. I'd do it if I felt there was an important place to spread my dogs' ashes, regardless of the rules.
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • SangmortSangmort
    Posts: 5510
    "I'm with Osy- having the coat would be treasured but the idea of skinning them feels too violating to me. I dont know if I could deal with the coat having a face either, and I would have a very hard time letting go if I could continue to stroke their fur and smell them, it would pick open the emotional scab."

    Yes, this! Couldn't figure out how to word it, but this is what I was trying to say. :) ~
  • deerparkdeerpark
    Posts: 12
    I have been collecting my dog's fur from the first comb after a bath since the first bath he's ever had. Eventually, I will have it weaved into something I can wear, like a headband or mitt. My husband thinks that's creepy, but when my family's dog died, I was devastated and I would have given anything to stroke her again. I agree with everyone that it's likely a cultural thing what the man did with his Akita, but I prob won't do that as it would be too grim for me to imagine skinning a part of my beloved pet. When my mother in-law's Great Dane died, the vet who administered her euthanasia put her paw print in clay for us and sent a card later that week wishing their condolences. I thought that was a very nice thing to do... I hate to think about loosing anyone I love, but ever since I lost my first pet, I feel like I never want to feel that sense of shock and sadness again. Like I should prepare myself. So collecting my dogs fur is sorta how I'm preparing myself.
  • TrzcinaTrzcina
    Posts: 331
    Does seem a little creepy--but I've heard of similar things before. I don't know enough about Japanese culture to speculate on the why, though.

    I can't imagine getting my dog skinned when she dies... then again, my family never even kept the ashes or anything of deceased pets or bought graves. They make fun of people who do.

    I'll try to keep a clipping of fur, though. Just a clipping, no skin involved.

    Trying not to think of it in terms of creepiness, though, I'm sure an Akita pelt is rather pretty... wolf pelts can be.
  • lwrothlwroth
    Posts: 161
    I "inherited" four Akita pelts when a friend died and the executor of her estate almost fainted when she came upon the pelts, probably from the 80s, in a back room. Hotarujishin has one of those; I couldn't keep any of them. There are several pelts on display in the AKIHO museum, and an Akita owner here (Bay Area, California) recently had her Akita turned into a pelt after the dog died. I found the faces with noses intact and the paws with toes and pads and nails intact particularly upsetting. I liked the idea of creating boxes from cedar wood from Akita Prefecture that a friend had planned to do but found importing the cedar wood too expensive. I keep all my dog's ashes in the boxes they come back in, usually cedar though not from Japan I'm sure, and hope to have them buried with me when I die. Several years ago, I cleared a small area in a corner of my yard to bury the Akitas' ashes in, but the landscaper moved in the three heavy rocks before I could bury the ashes, so they're still in their boxes.
  • I haven't distributed the ashes of 2 Akitas, a lovebird, and pot bellied pigs.
    Probably will; this summer. My father and 1/2 sisters are in the Pond I live near.

    I have the pelt. It's in a good bag, but I'm always around the dogs, and I don't want them to see it.


    Britain Hill
    Fenikkusu and Kalitan

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