Quantcast
Latest Stories

Pets sent off with a bang at Australia’s firework funerals

By

AFP FILE PHOTO

SYDNEY – Warren Blackwell held onto the ashes of his beloved canine companion Gypsy for eight years, never able to find the right place or occasion to celebrate her life.

“I’ve never been able to part with them, I’ve never been able to come up with anything that was suitable to do with them that would make me happy,” he said.

The smart, loyal Staffordshire bull terrier was hit by a car when she was just four years old, shortly after Blackwell moved to the city from the countryside – a horrifying moment he said compounded his need to give her a proper farewell.

“I was giving her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and I tried to get her to the hospital, to the vet, but she didn’t make it,” he said.

“I didn’t want something that was all about her death. I wanted it to be about her life.”

So Blackwell didn’t think twice when friend Craig Hull, a trained circus performer and pyrotechnician asked whether he’d like to send Gypsy off in style, as the first customer of his fireworks funeral firm, Ashes to Ashes.

“When Craig suggested this I said ‘mate I want to be first cab off the rank’,” he told AFP, watching the sun set over the glittering waters of Sydney Harbour – soon to be Gypsy’s final resting place.

“I’ve seen the shell, and I’ve seen her go into the tube over there, she’s over there waiting. I know she’s going to make a loud bang, that much I’m sure of.”

The Ashes to Ashes story began almost three years ago when Hull’s two beloved dogs, German shepherd-Akita cross Zeus and Gyprock, a white labrador-cattle dog cross, died, leaving a “big hole” in the performer’s life.

He’d already scattered the ashes of a friend during an aerial routine at an opening ceremony for one of the Olympics – he won’t say which – and felt his dogs deserved something even more spectacular.

“I thought, ‘I’ll get a job as a pyrotechnician and I’ll send them up in fireworks’. So I did,” said Hull.

Instead of the “sad memory of scattering them into the water” Hull said he had a vision of colour and light as his dogs were fired into the skies during Sydney’s New Years Eve fireworks display in 2010.

“To be able to scatter someone’s ashes like that, scatter them over a huge area in the air,” was incredible, he said.

“To be able to look up to the heavens when you send your loved ones off is a pretty amazing feeling.

“And I thought this is so amazing, other people should be able to experience this as well,” he said.

For Aus$950 (US$990) Hull will send up the ashes of a pet in a fireworks display complete with soundtrack, catering and a bar.

Animals will be done in groups of four — Hull said “pet owners love to show photos of their dogs to one another, share the memories”.

And he wants to give humans the same opportunity, although people receive a solo show. No one has yet taken up the offer.

Prices start at Aus$4,800, and Hull said he planned to move beyond small shows to incorporating the ashes of the dead into large firework events such as New Years Eve.

He’s even investigating the possibility of launching ashes into space.

“It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I believe it will become a common thing one day,” he said.

“And people are so creative they’ll want lots of different things — they’ll want to be spread over four different cities simultaneously, to the second.”

A modest crowd gathered beneath the eucalypts to say farewell to Gypsy, murmuring in delight at the sprays of gold, silver and blue and erupting into applause as the last shell containing her ashes exploded.

Gypsy’s final moment was marked by a red love-heart firework slowly fading in the smoky sky.

Blackwell, tears in his eyes, leaped elated from his picnic rug, champagne flute raised.

“How was that?!” he exclaimed. “That was Gypsy”.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Animals , Australia



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. World bids Gabriel Garcia Marquez ‘Adios’
  3. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  4. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  5. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  6. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  7. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  8. Garcia Marquez left unpublished manuscript
  9. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  10. Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  4. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  5. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  6. This is not just a farm
  7. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  8. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  9. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  10. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer

News

  • Napoles tags over 100 officials in pork scam – Lacson
  • Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  • Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  • 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
  • Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  • Sports

  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • UST posts twin kill in Filoil pre-season cup opening day
  • Wizards beat Bulls in OT to take 2-0 series lead
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK
    Marketplace