There are no dogs at Cypress Lawn…buried, that is. But here is one for the ages.
This bronze statue was in the back yard of the Gentner home for years. When Anna Lenore Gentner passed away in 2002, her husband had a special tombstone constructed to accommodate the treasure. On the back of the memorial is this inscription:
NOW I MUST REALLY CLOSE MY STORY.
GOOD-BYE TO THE BOYS AND GIRLS WHO
MAY HAVE READ IT: AND IF NOT WRONG
FOR A DOG TO SAY IT, I SHOULD LIKE TO
ADD, “GOD BLESS YOU ALL.” IF IN MY
FEEBLE WAY I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO IMPRESS
WITH THE FACT THAT DOGS AND MANY OTHER
ANIMALS LOVE THEIR MASTERS AND
MISTRESSES, AND ONLY LIVE TO PLEASE
THEM, MY LITTLE STORY WILL NOT BE
WRITTEN IN VAIN. MY LAST WORDS ARE:
“BOYS AND GIRLS, BE KIND TO DUMB
ANIMALS NOT ONLY BECAUSE YOU WILL
LOSE NOTHING BY IT. BUT BECAUSE YOU
OUGHT TO: FOR THEY WERE PLACED
ON THE EARTH BY THE SAME KIND HAND
THAT MADE US ALL LIVING CREATURES.”
From Beautiful Joe, 1893
By Marshall Saunders
The memorial is located on Mound C, East Side campus of Cypress Lawn
The Foo dog is a very distant lost-in-translation cousin of our beloved domestic breeds. The Chinese guardian lions, which are called “Foo Dogs” in the West, are a common representation of the lion in pre-modern China.
Statues of guardian lions have traditionally stood in front of Imperial palaces, Imperial tombs, government offices, temples, and the homes of government officials and the wealthy since the Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). They were believed to have powerful mythic protective benefits.
The lions are usually depicted in pairs. When used as statuary the pair would consist of a male leaning his paw upon a ball (in imperial contexts, representing supremacy over the world) and a female restraining a playful cub that is on its back (representing nurture).
We have several such examples at Cypress Lawn. And in the midst of a group of them, we find this pair of unlikely dogs guarding a Chinese memorial.
Terry Hamburg, Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation
2 thoughts on “Fidos and Foo Dogs At Cypress Lawn: The Dog Days Of Spring”
Cypress Lawn is one of my favorite waks in the whole world. It’s natural beauty and the art of the stones and curiosity it peaks about their owners. Ms. Gentner’s is one of my favorites. I’ve always wondered what the story was behind this unique monument. Thanks to Mr. Gentner for his unique tribute to his wife and his unique sense of humor. I bet there’s was a happy marriage.
Thank you for your comments. That memorial is one of my favorites, as well. The statue came from the Gentner home, and the memorial was built around it.
Terry Hamburg, Director of the Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation