by Theresa Krupa-Aiken
While most of us are not financially able to replace all of our items at once, the question is when you can replace something what do you do with the animal product that you once wore? There are many different opinions on this subject, such as selling the items and donating the money to an animal sanctuary, donating the item to the poor, and some people want to continue to wear the item as a reminder of the animal that they are now fighting for daily. Well, I thought about each of these choices and I didn't agree with any of them for my own personal reasons. I didn't want to sell the item to have someone wear it and cause another person to go and buy one just like it. This applied to giving it to the poor as well. As far as wearing the item? Well, I just could not do that.
One item in particular that was part of my wardrobe was a jacket. A leather jacket. A leather jacket made of lambskin. Those of you that know me are saying “What???” I did not purchase the jacket, it was a gift for my graduation from my Grandmother, but yes, I owned a lambskin leather jacket.
So after thinking and thinking about what I should do I came up with this resolution: I was going to bury it. Yes, I said bury it. I wanted this poor creature that died a terrible death for its skin to finally be put to rest. So the decision was made. The first thing that I had to do was give my friend a name. While I owned the jacket it was just that....a jacket, nothing more. My friend who died to make this jacket deserved a name. Now many of you are saying “This is nuts!” Growing up, my father's best friend was Cherokee. He taught me many things and one thing he used to say to me was "Every animal deserves a name." You can call it whatever you want to call it but it will then be known to you and you to it. I have never forgotten this. I decided to name my jacket Baba.
Baba was a beloved lamb in one of my favorite Christmas stories and I always wished I could hug him as a child. I didn't personally know Baba but he gave his life, a life that I had no right to. The least I could do was give him a name.
Now, how and where do I do it? I did a lot of research on this because I didn't want Baba’s remains to harm any other creature. Too much pain had already been in this poor animal’s life and his remains should be at peace. I found that I could make a home for other creatures and they would help in the decomposition of my dear friend (there are many specifics to consider when choosing the right site, especially concerning local regulations about burying animals around water locations both private and public, so if you make this choice you will have to research on your own for the perfect spot).
I removed the things that he was not born with and put them aside (buttons, zippers, etc.). I gathered the things I wanted to bury him with and we headed off to his final resting place. Once we arrived I let him lie in the grass, something he probably never got to do. I let the sunshine warm his skin, even if it was just for the briefest of moments. I dug his grave about 3 feet down, gathered some dead sticks and logs from the forest floor, put them in the grave, and laid a cotton pillow case on top of them. Then I placed him in the hole and laid flowers on him. I sat there with him for a moment. I thanked him and made a promise to him that I would fight for the rest of my life for him and his sisters and brothers to be free.
Finally, I told him to run and be free and that if someday he sees me I will gladly give him cuddles and kisses. Oh, and as many treats as he would want! I then dumped the potting soil that I brought with me on top of him, and plenty of water too. I wanted to encourage other animals to come and live there and be happy. I made a compost site out of Baba's grave. I gave Baba back all of the dirt that I took out when I placed him inside, and on the top I planted wild flowers.
In concluding, giving Baba his name, returning him back to the earth and acknowledging what he died for, and finally knowing that he was now at peace, I felt a little bit better. I felt stronger. I will continue to fight for him and all of the animals that die simply for our pleasure and vanity. I will not allow his death and so many others be forgotten. I wish you all well and hope that maybe this will help you make a decision on what you want to do with your items. Thank you for reading.