The City of Sparks dedicated a new Pet Memorial at the Sparks Marina Park. The memorial, designed for the community to honor lost animals, is located on the south side of the marina adjacent to the dog park and includes a newly installed city art piece engraved with an original poem. Pet owners are encouraged to attach pet collars and tags in remembrance of their lost pets.
Last year the city held an open call for original poems about a loss of a pet to be engraved into the large steel structure. The winning poem by Stacy Gnall was selected from 33 submissions. A panel of local literary experts including poets, authors and instructors selected the top three poems, and Ms. Gnall’s poem titled “The Present,” was chosen as the winner by a public vote. The poem is the first piece of writing commissioned by the City of Sparks, and its dedication aptly coincides with National Poetry Month.
Ms. Gnall is the author of the poetry collections Dogged (winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry from the University of Massachusetts Press, 2022) and Heart First into the Forest (Alice James Books, 2011). A finalist for the Georgia Poetry Prize, her work has appeared in Pleiades, Massachusetts Review, New American Writing, and Third Coast, among other outlets. She currently lives in Sparks and teaches at the University of Nevada, Reno. The commission for her poem was donated by the Pyramid Veterinary Hospital.
The structure was designed by Paul Frenkel, a local draftsperson and City of Sparks volunteer. It was fabricated by local artist Jeff Schomberg, whose “Believe,” “Love,” and “Home” structures can be seen at Reno City Plaza, Renown Medical Center, and Greater Nevada Credit Union Field, respectively.
“Most of us can relate to the hardship of losing a pet,” said Francine Burge, City of Sparks Special Event Supervisor and staff lead on the project. “We feel this important project helps the community honor and remember their beloved relationships while also showcasing art in a unique way. The project came together beautifully.”