Trail users exploring the trails around Royal Roads University may have noticed an unusual tree in recent weeks.
Instead of leaves, this little tree is decorated with memories of furry loved ones who have moved on from this world. Specifically, photos and ornaments of pets who used to enjoy walks along the trails before their death.
The memorial tree is the work of Colwood resident Cathy Fielding, and it has become a bit of a winter holiday tradition since she first put it up around three years ago.
“It’s just a little thing I like to do for the community, and I take it down after new year’s each year,” said Fielding. “It’s just a simple little thing, but it brings people a lot of joy.”
Fielding was inspired to create a memorial tree in the area after discovering a photo of someone’s dead furry friend along a trail in the Thetis Lake area.
She decided to do something similar for her past dog Chloe and cat Pooter, and the tree quickly came to be decorated with photos of other pets people have lost.
Every year she puts the tree up, just for the holiday season, people add a few more photos to it. So far this year, Fielding said there are 17 pets memorialized on the tree, and the photos were laminated by her niece to ensure they will weather the elements better and can be put back on the tree the next year.
”My dog now is named Irish and she is 15 now, but we still go walking by there. We still love it, and there are so many nice people who go there with their dogs, and it’s just a real joy for everyone. It boosts your mood for the holiday season, even though it is a bit sad at the same time.”
Fielding said anyone is welcome to add a photo of their furry friends to the tree, which can be found by entering through gate 14 near Colwood Elementary School and continuing straight along the trail until you come to the tree on your left. The tree is taken down in the new year, and the photos and ornaments on it are preserved to be put up again next year.