Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Turtle Funeral

Yesterday, I looked into the turtle tank in my older boys' room and discovered that Zippy, a little female box turtle, had died. My older son had already left for school, but my middle boy was home. So the tears started. He managed to pull himself together in time to catch the bus, but only after making me promise to bury Zippy in a place of honor in my garden. (By "place of honor," I mean a location under a statue, prickly plant or some other garden ornament where her resting place is less likely to be undisturbed by our insane cat.)

I gave the turtle tank a thorough cleaning just in case Zippy died of illness - it looked fine, though. She and her tankmate, Shellshocker, are the Felix Ungers of the turtle world, apparently. Zippy came into our lives in June 2004 when my husband came home from walking the dog and claimed the turtle "followed" him home. I figured any turtle that could keep up with a grown man and a greyhound must have the kahunas to survive in our house. ;-) We adopted Shellshocker a couple of months ago. She's bigger than Zippy, and much more sociable, but the two got along well.

I broke the news to our oldest son when he got home from school. He too got a little teary eyed, but handled it well in general. I got my garden shovel, dug a nice deep hole, placed Zippy inside, and we took turns replacing scoops of dirt before saying a prayer. She's buried in the very front of the garden in front of our porch, in a gravesite marked by a wrought iron cross on a stake. (If you double click on the righthand photo in yesterday's blog entry, you'll see a tall ornamental tree -- slightly in front and to the right of it is a clump of plants. Zippy's buried among them, but you can't see the cross in the photo.)

It occurred to me that there are a number of animals in my two gardens. Our parakeet and numerous lizards are buried in the garden in front of my living room window (the photo on the left in yesterday's blog). Zippy is the first to be interred in the newer garden; however, the cremated remains of two dogs were mixed in with the garden soil.

So rest in peace:
  • Zippy (box turtle, came into our lives 6/04, died 8/22/05)
  • Buddy (parakeet, adopted 1999, died 2002)
  • Lizards 1-4 (summer of 2004)
  • Cherie (toy poodle, born 12-7-81, died 4/15/95)
  • Annie (small mixed breed dog, adopted 1979, died 1996)
  • countless tree frogs who unwittingly crossed paths with my cat (2004-)


~d said...

RIP, Zippy...
My mother once told me that Guinea Pigs were guarding the gates to Heaven...maybe Zippy and others are too.

~d said...
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Elle*Bee said...

That's a nice thought. Zack doesn't really seem to understand the concept of death. Drew and Sam seem to have come up with their own idea of animal heaven a long time ago, but they don't really talk about it much anymore. Drew's really into science so he appreciates the lifecycle. Whenever anyone comments on how well a particular plant in my garden is doing, he'll say, 'yeah, that's Buddy' (or whoever).