Memorials in Ink – 4

I sat down indian style on the floor, watching my friend Pinky kneel by her dog, Bracket. She had been trying to get a good print of Bracket’s paw so that we could head out to Eloise Woods Natural Burial Park.  The ink smudge kit I had brought from my office wasn’t working for her as well as it had for me and Bella (my cat), when I took her post-mortem paw print for a memorial tattoo. After several more swipes with the ink strips, and several more attempts at pressing Bracket’s paw to paper, Pinky Rae grabbed a brush and jar of acrylic paint from her nightstand.  “Got it,” she sighed.  Bracket had lost her battle with cancer the afternoon prior.  Six month’s earlier, Pinky, my incredibly talented tattoo artist, forever inked Bella’s jelly bean toes as my 2nd Momento Mori tattoo, in the colors of the shades of her fur, on my inner ankle. She planned to do the same with Bracket’s paw for herself in the near future.

Many of you will all agree, our pets become our family. It’s no wonder we would choose to immortalize them on our skin with Memorials in Ink.

Christina ~ Gwendylan (Gwennie) ~ Jack (AKA Cracker Jack, AKA Jackie Rotten)

Christina was in kindergarten when she acquired her first puppy dog, Gwendylan, from her Uncle. Gwennie was a long haired dachshund with big, floppy ears. They became inseparable, like 2 peas in a pod, never apart. As a kid, she recalled dressing Gwennie up in baby clothes and pushing her  around in a stroller. She even pushed her out of a tree once because she was convinced Gwennie could fly with her Dumbo ears! Typical romp and adventure between a girl and her pup.

Screenshot 2016-02-20 22.00.21“She was my protector when times were scary, my secret keeper when I was worried, and my partner in crime when it was time to have fun. I told her when I was young that we would go to college together,” Christina recalled. “Three months after I graduated from Mortuary School, she had a massive stroke and passed.” Christina was convinced her best friend Gwendylan held tough to that pinky swear they had made so many years ago.

After the devastating loss of Gwendylan, Christina was unsure about getting another dog.

“My MotheScreenshot 2016-02-20 22.05.34r’s good friend was having a new baby and (their dog) Jack was not adapting well.” The friend was at her wits end with a new infant and a jealous dog, and was ready to turn poor Jack loose on the streets. Christina’s Mother told her friend to hold onto Jack despite the troubles,  because she knew Jack would be the key to mending her daughter’s broken heart. She agreed to meet Jack and instantly they fell in love. He was a love bug, and just wanted to be somebody’s one and only baby. He was just what she needed to recover from the loss of Gwendylan.

“Jack lived through multiple moves with me and was always close by. Being a senior when I got him I only had him for 9 more years, but it was the best 9 years of his life.” Jack was later diagnosed with a brain tumor and she had to make the difficult decision to let him go without suffering. “He helped me through a lot of rough times in his life with me,” she recalled. “He was awesome.” Jack was also known fondly as Cracker Jack and Jackie Rotten.


Screenshot 2016-02-20 22.25.02Dawn ~ China Cat Sunflower

“His name was China Cat Sunflower, China for short. He was named after a Grateful Dead song of the same name. Pinky used a photo I had and some inspiration of a painted cat for the portrait inked on my right forearm.”

Dawn’s sweet cat was 22 when he passed away a couple of years ago. She commissioned our friend Pinky Rae of the world renowned Zulu Tattoo here in Austin to help commemorate him with a fitting memorial in ink.

When Dawn initially made the appointment with Pinky, she inquired about the possibility of mixing some of China Cat’s cremated remains into the tattoo. “She was also able to use some of my cat’s ashes in the art of his fur.”

Lyrics to China Cat Sunflower by The Grateful Dead

Screenshot 2016-02-20 22.43.18

If you would like to have your Momento Mori tattoo featured in a future Memorials in Ink blog post, please email me at



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