Tombstone Tuesday-Animal Tombstone Art

Occasionally you will see an animal that is part of a tombstone.

I’m not talking about live animals, like squirrels, which I often see scurrying around in cemeteries and jumping up on tombstones. 

Woodland Cemetery, Van Wert

I am referring to an animal that is sculpted as part of the monument. Animals are not commonly used as tombstone symbols.

Although many squirrels live in cemeteries, squirrels are rarely seen as a tombstone symbol. So this grave marker was a rare find. The deceased evidently enjoyed squirrels as well as the outdoors. 

Squirrel, Gethsemane Cemetery, St. Marys, Ohio

Squirrels are sometimes used on totems. Because these rodents are so active, they symbolize that we should not waste time as we go through our life journey. In Native American myths squirrels symbolize fertility because they give birth to many babies at one time.

I have seen a dog incorporated on a tombstone just a couple times. Dogs are loyal, faithful, vigilant, and watchful. They symbolize love and family affection.  

This dog, Mage, was most likely a beloved family pet.

Dog, Greenlawn Cemetery, Wapakoneta

A dog is carved on one inner wall of this unusual tombstone and a lamb is carved on the other wall.

Dog, Elm Grove Cemetery, St. Marys, Ohio

Dog & lamb carved, Elm Grove Cemetery, St. Marys, Ohio

Lamb, Elm Grove, St. Marys, Ohio

Lambs are probably the most common animals seen on a tombstone. I have written about them before and they are usually found on a child’s tombstone. They signify purity and innocence.

There are also pet markers for pet cemeteries.

Darke County, Ohio


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