by Sybil Sage
There’s no song that captures what you’re experiencing when you lose your pet, no Sinatra to croon, “One less coat to untangle, one less water bowl to fill.” You’re not sure if others have felt the same grief and you don’t know how you’ll come to grips with the pain.
Minutes after our dog died, with her lifeless body lying on an examining table, the vet asked, “What would you like to do with the remains?” Neither my husband, our son nor I knew how to answer. We shook our heads and waved off the options of keeping or scattering her ashes, returning home with an intense emptiness.
For eleven years, I’d shared a queen-sized bed with my husband and a Tibetan Terrier named Z.C. Now there would be two of us, no bundle of warmth resting at my feet. For eleven years, I made sure to get home before she needed to be fed or walked. Now there was no excited greeting at the door. For eleven years, I had to make sure not to leave food on the coffee table as she would eat anything within her reach. I gave more time and attention to her coat than I did to my own hair. It was only after she was gone that I realized how much of my attention went to her and how large a role she played in everything we did.
The only comfort came from looking at pictures of Z.C. I took a particularly cute one and made it my computer’s screen saver. What I learned from losing my pet inspired me to add a new item to my online mosaic boutique, an urn designed to be warm and fuzzy. I include the pet’s name and photos in a mosaic design. The process and the object are intended to be personal and uplifting. For those not needing an urn, I create a vase with photos of the pet. The pet URN ity is for anyone wanting to embrace loving memories and keep the pet’s presence in the home.
After a career writing comedy for television, Sybil Sage brought her creativity to pique assiette, the French mosaic style that uses plates, designing functional art that includes vases, picture frames, planters, candlestick holders and her newest item, custom made cremation urns (for people as well as pets). The work is original, unusual and often personalized. She developed a process that allows her to include small photos in the vases and urns.
A piece from her Breaking News series — political satire on cremation urns — was selected by the Brooklyn Waterfront Arts Coalition to be in their Wide Open 2 exhibition. The pet URN ity, “Remembering Cinnamon,” was chosen by the American Juried Art Salon for their 2011 show.