Famous Pets Memorialized
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The world is filled with famous pets. Some of these furry friends owe their fame entirely to their owners, but others have come to glory for their own actions. Whatever the case, many of them have been special enough to the humans in the lives to justify their own special memorial. Here’s a summary of some of the world’s most famous pets memorialized.
Oprah’s Dogs : When television show host Oprah Winfrey announced in a 2007 press release that her two beloved dogs had both passed away, sculptor Daniel Edwards went to work on what turned out to be a controversial commemorative piece. The work entitled “The Puppies Memorial” has won plenty of interest, if not praise, from the New York City art world, and Edwards says he hopes that it will remind pet owners of the dangers that led to one of the dog’s death. The Golden Lab “Gracie” died after choking on a ball. Edwards and Oprah have both since been outspoken about the need for pet owners to “pet proof” their homes by gathering up loose items that could spell danger for their beloved friends.
The Puppies Memorial is a life-sized bust of Oprah depicted with her two dogs resting atop her head, symbolizing the heavy weight that Edwards senses Oprah has felt over the loss of her two pets. (The Cocker Spaniel Sophie died of kidney disease a few months before Gracie.) Some art fans have said the work is downright “creepy looking,” and Oprah herself has yet to publicly comment upon it.
Several statements from Oprah’s representative have pointed out, without further comment, that Oprah herself did not authorize or commission the piece.
MacCavity is the famous “mystery cat” forever memorialized in the poem by the same name from T.S. Elliot. That poem also inspired the Broadway Musical “Cats” and the song version of the poem. Little is known about the real MacCavity except what T.S. Elliot shares in his poem. (It’s even questionable whether or not he was a real cat.) But it’s fair to say that MaCavity’s memorial poem has made him possibly one of the most famous felines of all time.
Room 8 is a famous cat memorialized in front of an elementary school in Los Angeles, California. Room 8 jumped inside an open window of the school one day in 1946, and the children in the cat took to him immediately. After school, the teacher shooed him away for the evening, but Room 8 returned the next day. And each succeeding day for the next 18 years. Room 8 became Room 8’s permanent home, and generations of school children and teachers helped to make him one of the most famous cats in America.
Ashley Whippet may just be the only animal ever to be memorialized with her own sporting event. The wildly popular Ashley Whippet Invitational Frisbee Throwing Contest is held each year in honor of the dog who is credited for starting the tradition of tossing Frisbees to dogs. In 1974, Ashley Whippet’s owner, a 19-year-old- college student smuggled the dog into Dodger Stadium during a baseball game being televised nationally. In the middle of the game, the owner made his way to the field-side seats and released Ashley onto the field. Security guards tried their best to corral the dog, but she skillfully out ran them as the owner began tossing Frisbees her way from the stands, never missing one and performing some amazingly acrobatic moves. The game’s broadcasters initially tried to ignore the commotion on the field, but soon found that difficult as Ashley’s show became more and more impressive. Finally, camera operators gave in, and focused on the dog’s performance for a huge part of the 8 minutes that it interrupted the game.
Ashley’s nationally televised show earned her owner a night in a Los Angeles jail, but it also brought instant national fame. Dog owners everywhere began training their faithful friends to do complicated maneuvers with Frisbees, and, today, Ashley’s memory is celebrated every year with a national contest in her honor.
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