I was a bit taken aback by the vehemence of the response it received. After all, it was hardly cruelty. The poor creature had been run over. His owner, Bart Jansen, could have buried him and left him to rot, or had him stuffed and displayed in a glass case. That he chose to let him fly like the pigeons Orville - for that was his name - used to watch seems to me to be the gift of a tenth life and a great way to honour his memory.
I can't help thinking that much of the outrage expressed stems from a fear of looking death in the eye. It reminded me of seeing the embalmed corpse of Edwin McKenzie - aka 'Diogenes' - in the fantastic exhibition of Robert Lenkiewicz's work at the Royal West of England Academy last year. Although it was unsettling, I didn't have a problem with the morality of that either. McKenzie's dying wish had been carried out by his friend. He was displayed in a dignified manner as a counterpoint to his immortality in paint, and was certainly the most effective memento mori I've ever encountered. Death is, after all, the stuff of life - or the stuffing, in Orville's case.
Difficult to be sure, but I can't help thinking that Orville's dying wish, had he been able to articulate it, might well have been to fly amongst those plump and juicy pigeons. Orville is dead; long live Orville!