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The Ziggurat Urn

My neighbor Andy built a number of pet coffins. He did this first for a neighbor’s 19-year-old dog. Then he started more to sell on eBay. Then one fine day he had a stroke and was gone like that.

His widow, J., let me choose among the smaller boxes for Robbie’s ashes.

“Smaller” is a matter of perception. One box was a clear standout despite being only partially finished. That box I brought home. But small it’s not.


I filled the nail holes and cracks yesterday and now am contemplating its decoration. Andy would have stained and sealed it. I have something more elaborate in mind. Something along the lines of the Modigliani table (finished table here) or “Doorway to the Sun.”

Soon as I saw it in J’s basement, it reminded me of two things: the miniature stone pagodas in Japanese gardens and a ziggurat.

Stone pagodas not having much color potential, I proclaimed it a ziggurat and am now seeking out sources of ancient funerary art to inspire me. Ziggurats were Mesopotamian. What did Mesopotamian funerary art look like? Does anyone even know? (Yes, apparently they do.) Search engine time is ahead. If all else fails, I’ll end up with quasi-faux-Victorian-parody Egyptian. Never know, starting out, exactly where these projects will carry themselves.

The other thing that struck me about the Ziggurat Urn is that it’s not only large enough to hold Robbie, but also Jasmine. And … ulp, ultimately me. So there it is: the urn for my (hopefully long in the) future ashes, to be mixed with those of my heart dogs.

Is that weird, or what? But what could be better than to spend my immortality, or what passes for it, in a box made for dogs?


  1. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty July 27, 2016 11:55 am

    It will be interesting to see what it evolves to be… I can see it on a pedestal of some sort, surrounded by rocks from the beach or ?

    I have made it clear to my family that I’m to be cremated and my ashes strewn to the wind right here in Wyoming. Preferably in the same place I spread my mother’s ashes. And that will be the ultimate freedom. 🙂

  2. Claire
    Claire July 27, 2016 12:17 pm

    Cool ideas, ML. I like the beach rock touch.

    And I like your idea of being scattered to the Wyoming winds. My own preference would also have been being scattered. But as I did with Jasmine and will do with Robbie, half scattered, half in an urn would do. But definitely, absolutely cremated.

  3. Pat
    Pat July 27, 2016 12:19 pm

    I see it as gold, with bright blue, pink and purple flowers, bees and butterflies flying around, with black pawprints meandering around and throughout, and perhaps a Glock lying on top guarding it all.

    Did you ever show a picture of Jasmine?

  4. jed
    jed July 27, 2016 12:28 pm

    Not weird. My departed friend Chuck, his recently late widow, and Kagi the Akita will all share the same urn. Given the volume of said urn, that’ll be a neat trick, however.

    For stepped pyramids, there’s also Mesoamerican monuments.

    I did a web search for canine gods. Wepwawet is Egyptian. Well, so is Anubis, but that makes me think of Stargate SG-1. But didn’t find anything suggestive in the way of artwork. There are, at least, hieroglyphs for either.

  5. Claire
    Claire July 27, 2016 1:06 pm

    “Not weird. My departed friend Chuck, his recently late widow, and Kagi the Akita will all share the same urn. Given the volume of said urn, that’ll be a neat trick, however.”

    Oh, what struck me as weird (but I didn’t convey well) was putting a photo of my own future urn on my blog. Being urned with dogs and/or significant others … perfectly normal!

  6. Claire
    Claire July 27, 2016 1:10 pm

    Pat, I’ve never shown a picture of Jasmine because back in her day I didn’t have digital and therefore didn’t have a lot of photos. I did find some snaps of her the other day. They’re very poor, her images are very small in the pix (which were mostly of larger scenes, in which there just happened to be dogs), and she was already quite old when I took them. Still, she had what furrydoc called a “kind face,” and if I can do a decent scan and enlargement, I’ll post something.

    Your view of ziggurat decoration is very different than mine. But charming. 🙂

    My colors will be determined by the paints I have on hand, and I’m seeing stylized images of the dogs and me marching around the sides, along with symbols of life and infinity. But at this point, who knows? I might take some inspiration from the Commentariat.

  7. jed
    jed July 27, 2016 1:43 pm

    Without delving into the metaphysical, the best representation of infinity would be the stars, no? Maybe a couple of constellations?

    Shirley, I can’t be Sirius.

  8. Shel
    Shel July 27, 2016 7:14 pm

    I think that’s a great idea, Jed. I years ago, a good friend with a degree of dyslexia named a cat Sirius because she thought it meant God Star. After she realized the error, she occasionally would refer to him as “a good puppy.” Although he never, to my knowledge, achieved the feat of Edgar Allan Poe’s cat he still was incredibly smart with a great personality. I miss her a lot, too.

  9. LarryA
    LarryA July 28, 2016 11:11 am

    Oh, what struck me as weird (but I didn’t convey well) was putting a photo of my own future urn on my blog.


    My last job as a Veterans Administration resident engineer was to add 20,000 gravesites to Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, where most of my family was already buried. Of course if my wife and I are lucky enough to live much longer the ones I added will all be full before we get there.

  10. jed
    jed July 28, 2016 11:30 am

    I don’t think that’s weird either. Planning ahead? Good job.

    Naming a cat ‘Sirius’ is pretty funny.

  11. jed
    jed July 28, 2016 2:35 pm

    But it’s all moot anyways, because the world is ending tomorrow anyway.

    Too bad, I was really hoping to wait for SMOD.

  12. Karen
    Karen July 28, 2016 3:06 pm

    Ava looks jealous of the attention Robbie is getting.

    I have no doubt that you’ll come up with something artistically wonderful. and I don’t think it’s at all odd to plan ahead. As I’ve mentioned before, we have 5 small pottery urns on our mantle waiting for either DH or I to pass so they can all be mixed together. Not weird at all to be thinking about communal family urns.

    A local artist does wood urns made from the local aspen. He fills the natural cracks and small crevices in the wood with turquoise dust and bits, and it looks so elegant.

  13. jed
    jed July 28, 2016 6:45 pm

    > Ava looks jealous of the attention Robbie is getting.

    Not so sure. I think maybe she’s just expecting somebody to throw that tennis ball.

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