Sunday, June 29, 2014

Paw prints

My HH and I went to Kanab, Utah last weekend for a little road trip. When I was still at Petrified Forest my friend Richard, who'd worked at Grand Canyon for a dozen years, marked up a Triple A map called Indian Country, to show us what we needed to see. This map of the Four Corners area - Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado - is worth every penny of the five bucks AAA charges, except HH has a membership so we got it for free.

Richard circled Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, west of Kanab; we saw that Pipe Spring National Monument was nearby; and my boss here, Robin, told us about Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, so off we went.

The state park is pretty but if you go don't pay the $8 to get in if all you want to do is look. There are a couple of pullouts on the road in that allow you to climb a dune and get expansive views of the dunes and the mountains beyond. Pipe Spring began its life as a holding area for livestock that the Mormon faithful tithed to the church. A house/inn/fort was built to enclose a spring and guard against Indian attacks, which wouldn't have happened if our gov'mint hadn't harassed them onto reservations. In any case, those pictures haven't been processed yet. I'm so far behind.

The animal sanctuary is spread out over many acres. Its buildings are miles apart and generally the first stop is the visitor center where you can catch a shuttle that tours all the buildings. There aren't any animals there; they're all housed in other buildings in really beautiful surroundings.

But I want to cut to the chase. We didn't take the shuttle but drove ourselves around and in taking the back, gravel roads we came across a cemetery. As I first glimpsed it through the fence that surrounds it I thought it was a beautiful park, which I suppose in a way it is.

The area the entire sanctuary is in is called Angels Canyon, and what I took to be a park is a pet cemetery called Angels Rest. I've seen people cemeteries that haven't been so lovingly maintained.

Niches in the walls are filled with memorabilia:

pet collars,

photos, notes,

and what I suppose to be cremated remains of beloved pets.

Many graves carry multiple names and most are marked by simple concrete squares,

but some are marked like these three, with professional-quality stones such as you'd see in any people cemetery,

while others have handmade memorials.

There are a few dozen wind chime trees spaced around the rows and arcs of graves.

Each chime is dedicated to someone's pet.

I looked up Reno Rabbits and found this blog that talks about some rabbits that the writer had adopted "from a crazy woman that lived in Reno; she had over 1000 rabbits in her backyard."

I've loved every one of my pets and, while I may not go so far as to bury them in a pet cemetery, I certainly understand the devotion people have. But these two puzzled me. Are the owners also buried here? It looks like that might be true.

I went through an interesting array of feelings about this place. I was creeped out (I did look for a synonym but nothing fit), amused, bemused, and finally touched by an overwhelming wave of others' grief and sadness. The tinkling wind chimes were an eerie sound as the shadows lengthened down the canyon walls and I found myself alone. 

We should all be so loved that we will be remembered like this.

Thought of the day:

Until one has loved an animal a part of one's soul remains unawakened. - Anatole France