For the millions of Americans who love and are loved by their pets, an animal friend's death is a heartbreaking event—for some, as sad as the passing of a human family member. Many pet owners in the United States, in memorializing their animal kindred, create all manner of tributes and "memory spots," simple or elaborate, religious or secular, traditional or creative, or downright eccentric. Americans remember pets who have enriched their lives with their honesty, loyalty, love, even sense of humor. As we honor our humans that die, we feel compelled to pay tribute to our furry, feathered, and scaly companions. Memorializing our pets brings us lasting comfort and closure.
Rob and his fellow travelers arrived in Tibet on July 2, 2007. At Jokang, the oldest Buddhist monastery in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet and most revered Buddhist holy site, Rob opened his knapsack, took out Diane’s Aveda Face Mask jar, which at one time held exfoliation cream, and unscrewed the lid. He shook some dust into the palm of his hand then flicked it into the air where a light breeze carried it away. “Be free, here, Wools. Let your spirit be free. You’re in a good place here.” The culmination of the trip was climbing to Mount Everest’s base camp. While the others were photographing Her Snowy Highness, Rob walked back to his sack and took out the Aveda jar. Holding an 8 by 10 photo of Wools’, Rob walked over to a rocky out-cropping punctuated by scores of pink and yellow wildflowers. He gathered snow from the mountain into a pile. Then he opened the jar. Filtering Wools’ ashes between his fingers, and looking up at Everest, he spread them over of snow. “We made it, Wools—you and me—together. This is the highest hike we’ve ever done, ya know? Seventeen thousand feet we climbed.” Rob placed the rest of Wools’ ashes atop a pile of snow with her picture next to them.[Rob] had witnessed a simpler, purer, and more honest life in Tibet—one reflective of Wools herself. Wools had found fulfillment simply by sharing life with her human companions. She hadn’t needed material things to be happy; she simply had been content to be.