I am a wife, mother, animal lover, world traveler and a passionate artist who fell in love with design, while studying art at SACI, in Florence, Italy. I am Alyson Whitney. I design and hand-craft celebratory pet memorials and urns. My work is dedicated to my cat that was struck, and killed by a car one afternoon – right in front of me. He lost his life on April 11, 2004. I was devastated — my heart shattered into a thousand pieces.
From the first moment this stray strutted into my home, plopped down and adopted ME; it was clear that he was trouble. He was so funny and animated. He loved to show my other cats how to terrorize the neighborhoods’ cats, birds and dogs. He liked to go on walks with my dogs around the block. No leash required!
Cremated, he was returned to me in a small black urn. The fragments of my heart that I had just begun to pick up and mend had broken again. If you knew him, he was anything but dark and dull. He was full of life and a crazy cat.
I felt, I owed it to him to create a celebratory urn; full of bright colours and favorite past times. An urn that better represented his life and the joy he brought to mine. Desperate to put an end to the hurt, I painted his urn (my first) in tears but by the time I finished, I found closure and a smile returned to my face. There was a strange feeling of contentment in what I had created for both him and myself. My heart began to heal, and at that moment I knew I could help others ease the pain of grief and loss and find closure through my art- ultimately, returning a smile to their faces, as I had my own.
Creating original works of art has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I still recall when my mom gave me my first coloring book. I handed it back and asked for blank paper and crayons. I wanted to create my own, not color someone else’s. And that’s the way it has always been for me.
In 2004, I quit my job as a successful creative director for a public company to pursue my quest to combine my passions: art and animals – and unknowingly,a third passion – returning smiles to peoples’ faces.
As an animal lover and mommy to many furry munchkins, the circle of life is endless in my life. A few years go by, and I find myself grieving again. Most recently with the loss of my Great Pyrenees, Ordino on November 22, 2011. My gentle giant was only 6. One day, we were taking our long afternoon stroll and the next; I had to make the toughest decision of my life. Curled up on the floor, saying my good-byes in his ear – in utter shock – was the most devastating loss experience I have ever had to endure.
Instead of recalling the pain while talking to clients, I was reliving the pain first hand, again. I found that my healing could only begin as I closed my eyes and thought of our happy times and favorite places. It was in that moment that the ideas of a one-of-a-kind urn truly flourished.
My last whisper in his ear was that I promised to create the most beautiful, memorable urn, as his final resting place. Delivering on that promise took me a while, but I did it. See Ordino’s Urn. This time, my strange contentment was not so strange. It was dignified and pure. It reassured me that this is what I was meant to do, truly, from the bottom of my heart for as many people as I can.
I am never too far from connecting with what my clients feel or a tear rolling down my cheek as I stroll down memory lane or hear a clients last memory with their beloved pet. When I pick up the phone to answer a client’s call, I instantly know what they are going through. There’s an emotional connection one can’t deny and while I am not a healer nor therapist, by me just lending an ear and listening to what all they have to say – how small, silly or big – I believe the healing begins, the ideas flourish for an original work of art, and once the final piece is received, I hear how they smiled again. It warms my heart and is an amazing feeling to know I helped someone through one of the most difficult times of their life.
P.S. I look forward to creating an original work of art for you and your beloved pet, bringing some happiness, closure and peace of mind to you and your family, as your special pet is rightfully remembered always forever, right in the midst of your home.