Pet urns keep memories alive

By Marge Woodfin, Pilot staff writer December 29, 2010 04:00 am

Brookings sculptor Luke Thornton creates a unique product: one-of-a-kind wooden urns to hold the ashes of departed pets.

His special talent was recently recognized by a group dedicated to elite show dogs.

Thornton said he is one of only 70 vendors invited to participate in the Rose City Classic Dog Show, in Portland, Jan. 19 through 23, where approximately 4,000 very well-bred dogs will be showing off.

To make an urn, Thornton carefully selects woods such as Pacific maple or myrtle, and more exotic varieties like purple heart and yellow heart, or bubinga, which comes from Africa and is a member of the rosewood family. 

Even when using a relatively common material like maple, Thornton crafts his urns with such artistry and expertise, each one possesses a completely unique look.

He said his work is displayed in over 40 funeral homes throughout the west, including Weir’s Mortuary in Crescent City.

Locally, the urns can be purchased directly from the artist.

In addition to full-sized creations, Thornton also makes smaller ones for those who wish to save only a portion of the ashes.

He said some clients choose companion urns to match their pet’s.

Oregon leads the nation in the percentage of the population that opts for cremation, he said – around 90 percent.

For those who desire a memorial that is truly unique, Thornton said he can sculpt any size, or shape, including any breed of dog, or specialty request.

“I can even make it look like the ocean,” he said.

For more information, or to make an appointment to view Thornton’s work, call 541-661-0671 or 800-813-1394, or see www.Custom-Wood-Urns.com.