*Lyrics from, well, if I have to tell you then you didn’t watch Dirty Dancing for three weeks straight when it played at the Calvin Theater in 1987. In which case, I can’t help you.
When we lost our beloved pup, Bec, we knew we wanted to bury her in the yard. It was where she was happiest, where she longed to be during all hours of the day, all times of the year, and where she took her last breath. She belongs to this place, if for no other reason than that she loved it, and we wanted her to remain here, even if we don’t. Of course I couldn’t stand the thought of actually digging a giant hole and chucking her into it, so we had her individually cremated. We also knew that we wanted to give her some sort of marked spot, so we’d know where she was, and be able to know she wouldn’t be accidentally dug up by any future owners. So we decided to plant a tree. A dogwood, because she was a dog, and one with pink blossoms because she was a girl. (My 8 year-old niece figured that rationale in seconds, so we knew it was the right choice.)
We went back to Wanczyk Nursery in Hadley, where all of our other landscaping materials had come from when we got the yard completely renovated a few years ago, to choose a tree. They have a pretty large selection of mature trees, from three or four different types of dogwoods, to Japanese maples, birches, fruit trees, and, well, pretty much anything that’ll grown in zone 5. We hunted for two visits for just the right specimen that would fit the location in the yard where we wanted her to be planted. We ended up choosing a Cherokee Brave, which will have a pink to salmon colored flower, and which will end up at about 20′ tall.
We hired our good friends at Ladies Landscaping to plant the tree, cut in some new beds, and to extend the fence so that the composting area wouldn’t be in full view behind the tree. We also had them prune the plantings, including our Kousa dogwood at the front of the house (that had been looking like a contestant on the Biggest Loser just before the makeover week), and re-mulch the beds. Well, a day and a half later and our yard looks brand new again! Ok, except for the grass, which is getting overrun by weeds. (We’re doing an organic lawn care system, and the weed killers for that are our hands. We’re looking into mild chemicals because it’s getting bad.)
But the refresher on the exterior makes the work on the interior feel more finished (even if it isn’t quite done yet). And the completion of the infrastructure of the yard, complete with an area to add a garden, to add some new roses, and Bec’s tree make the outdoor space seem less sad to me. Less like the way it was when Bec was with still with us, and less like how it felt at the end of her time, but more like the way we felt when she was happy here, and healthy.
I actually want to spend time in the yard again. Up until recently I felt primarily sad to be out there, like someone was missing. Because she was. But she’s home now. Planted in the ground with her favorite toy, her collar and her leash that I couldn’t bare to donate, throw out, or lose. But buried with her I feel ok about it. As ok as anyone can feel about losing their pet, their friend, their companion, and their little love. I’ll always miss her, but I feel much happier knowing that she’s where she belongs.
I think you’ll forgive me my cheesy lyrics now. A proper mass of photos for your visual pleasure. Enjoy! xoxo