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Posts Tagged ‘dog’

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The most visited graves at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio, are, not surprisingly, those of the brave early aviators Orville and Wilbur Wright. The Wrights are world-famous for their accomplishments, and countless people travel to see their final resting places. But if you ask the Woodland Cemetery staff to name the most visited grave of a person who was not famous in life, they will point you to the famous statue of a boy and a dog that marks the grave of little Johnny Morehouse. In 1860 (so the legend says), five year old Johnny, a cobbler’s son, was playing when he fell into the canal. He drowned, and when he was buried, his faithful dog refused to leave the graveside. The dog stands forever immortalized in stone, guarding over a peacefully sleeping little boy, a paw extended to shield him from harm.

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The statue is hard to photograph for all of the trinkets left over and around it. Most are children’s toys or books, things that Johnny left behind all too soon over 150 years ago.

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Morehouse

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And now, I imagine, the caretaker of Oxford Cemetery hates me.

Sunday morning, with the time change, I assumed that I would be the first person awake in my friends’ house.  So I got up, got dressed, and went over to Oxford Cemetery to get some more photos.  Even though there is an inhabited house on the ground for the caretaker (I assume), neither my car nor the act of photography is very loud.  What I didn’t know at the time is that the caretaker has an excellent guard dog, if guarding the cemetery is one of her duties.  The dog barked for fifteen straight minutes after I drove through the gate.  She quieted down after that (or was shushed) but sounded the alarm again every time I moved the car.  If a cemetery doesn’t have a good parking area, I tend to move my car as I go through it so that I’m always close by if someone else needs to get through.  And Sunday morning was pretty cold, so I used the car to warm up my frozen toes twice.  There were at least four different barking outbursts.

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This is a photo of the dog as I got in my car to leave. Considering this is also the cemetery where I startled a caretaker so much he backed his truck over a tombstone, I am probably not his favorite person right now.

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Spire of St. Patrick's near sunset

I heard another tale of a ghost dog from across the ocean that seemed fitting for this month’s series of tales. St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin (as well as Glasnevin Cemetery) are haunted by a ghostly dog. The black Newfoundland belonged to John McNeill Boyd, who is buried in the cemetery but memorialized inside the cathedral with a statue. Boyd, a sea captain, died trying to rescue sailors on the Irish Sea during a storm in 1861. His body was recovered, and following his funeral, his dog refused to leave the grave, eventually starving to death in the cemetery. Since then, the dog has appeared both at the grave at and the base of his master’s statue inside the cathedral.

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Louis Bromfield, the conservationist and writer who created Malabar Farm,
told his own ghost story about the property during his life time.

Louis Bromfield grave slab

After his beloved dog Prince died, Bromfield woke up during the night to the presence of an invisible dog lying next to him and then to the sound of a dog pulling with his paw on the frame of the stuck door to let himself in, as Prince did in life. Of course, there was no dog there when Bromfield opened the door. Bromfield related this experience in his book about the property, Malabar Farm. If Prince is still there, perhaps he visits his master, who lies buried in Olivet Cemetery on the farm. Visitors today sometimes report seeing or hearing a ghostly dog.

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Cleveland’s Woodland Cemetery has a firefighter section, guarded by this little guy. I am assuming that he is a replacement. If you look very carefully under his body in the first photo, you can see a hole that used to hold a monument in place over the base. It saddens me to think that the original monument was damaged or destroyed, but the puppy is so sweetly touching that he seems a worthy memorial. He sits, perhaps too young yet to go to fires himself, with a lantern in his mouth and an expression of concern about his masters on his face. His body is poised in a perpetual state of anticipation, ever watchful.

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Apologies for the more superficial posts this week. We are preparing for a vacation and I am trying to put some content up every day, but I am too preoccupied to put together some of the more thoughtful posts that I usually manage. Instead, I’m going to present you with things I find beautiful or which intrigue me.

First of all, we have this monument from Fort Meigs Cemetery:
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So far, most four-legged animals sculpted in stone that I find are lambs, but this seems to be a dog. If it is a dog, the symbolism associated with that animal would be faithfulness and loyalty.

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The only reason I am doubting my impression of it being a dog and not a sheep with odd ear flaps is that the monument is for children, a group with which lamb imagery is heavily associated.

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