When I was 19, I got a small tattoo on the inside of my ankle. I got that tattoo to feel grown up. I had always followed the rules and this was a chance to break the rules. I was so proud of my little flowers and heart. Over the years I often forgot it was even there. About two years ago, I wanted to get another tattoo. I had considered it for years but could never think of what I would want on my body forever. After a lot of thought, it came to me. I wanted something to symbolize our pets.
I love our pets. Our world revolves around them. We do not have human children, we have animal children. When I was thinking of getting a tattoo, I wanted something with meaning, something I knew I would never regret. A tribute to our animals fit those requirements.
For about a year, I had been paying attention to other people's tattoos. When I saw one that I really liked, I would ask them who did their tattoo. The answer was always the same - Atlas Tattoo. I'd say there were 4 or 5 people who we asked. They all saw different artists, but all at the same place. I made an appointment with the owner, Dan. Then I just needed to find reference material and figure out exactly what I wanted.
I decided that I would do flowers - one for each of the pets. I searched for just the right ones. I am very happy with what I chose. When I got the original tattoo, we had seven pets - Gus, Roxie, Wookie, Opal, Daisy, Norwyn (whom we call Tuna) and Maggie. Last year, I added Buster and just this past weekend I added Asha. When I first got the flowers - they were all seperate. When I added Asha, we added some leaves to tie them all together. I am just as in love with my tattoo as I am with our pets. Here's how it looks.....
Gus/Roxie and Buster: Gus is the orange lily - lilies are my favorite flower and Gus was orange. He is surrounded by baby's breath - that's for Roxie. We call her baby and she LOVED Gus. She thought he was her mama. Then the venus fly trap is Buster. Buster chases flies every where and sometimes when he smells something great, he make this chomping noise.
Opal: We always called her the "tan dog they call red" - she was a Red Heeler, but she was really tan. We believe that Opal comes to visit with our current pets - they always say "a little red cloud told me..." This red rose has a little ant on top of it - that is for DJ, a mouse we had for a very brief time. As silly as it may sound, we loved that mouse and I cried when she died.
Daisy and Norwyn: Daisy is the blue daisy - her flower covered up the tattoo I got when I was 19. Norwyn is a tuna cactus flower - because we call him Tuna.
Maggie: This is a Maggie Rose
Wookie and Asha: Wookie is the purple fluffy flower. One time I drew a picture of Wookie and I used a purple crayon and made him super furry. We always called him the furry purple dog. Wookie visits our current pets too and they tell us "a big purple ghost said..." Then, there is Asha - a pink Asha flower with a blue center for her blue eyes.
Saturday night when I was getting my tattoo, I thought a lot about the pets who are gone - Gus, Wookie and Opal. Tattoos hurt, no matter what anyone says, they hurt. While I was trying to keep my mind off the pain, I thought of our sweet babies. It made me really sad to think how much I miss them and how long they've been gone. It always makes me feel incredibly glad that I will have a part of them with forever. Tattoos aren't for everyone and if you don't like them, don't get one. I love my tattoos. I love looking at them and thinking about our babies and I really love when people ask what my tattoo means. It gives me the chance to talk about our pets - past and present.
I am hoping that I don't need to add another flower for at least10 years. I want the ones we have now to live long healthy lives. And as Trevor and I grow old, I want to look down at my leg, remember all the ones who came into our lives and how lucky we were to be able to love them.