My interest in birds began when I was 9 yrs. old with a blue parakeet that flew down and landed on my grandfather’s car. I had asked for a bird for Christmas. I named him Charlie, my little blue bird from heaven, and that was the start of my love of birds. And in the years to follow I had chickens, ducks, and a variety of parrots throughout my life.
I first discovered the white dove release business when I was seeking a change from many years of custom sewing and I knew that this was my calling. Read my story in Western North Carolina Woman Magazine. In 2005, I purchased my first young Rock Doves (a variety of white homing pigeon) and a few breeding pairs and in my backyard built a loft to house them.
Now, as some of us may know, I was aware that white doves celebrated weddings however what I did not realize initially was that a very important part of this new business would be in the presentation, particularly for funerals and memorials. I found a deep connection in providing the releases for the families of the deceased. And I have written poems inspired by the experience of witnessing both the smiles and the tears of those who have suffered loss.
On the wings of a dove His spirit takes flight
Rising over and above It is an amazing sight
We may weep and we may smile
Our hearts fill with love
Imagine his spirit to fly
Wind catching beneath his wings
Flying higher and higher into the heavens and the sky
It is now both with peace and with love
We may offer our “good bye”
On the wings of a dove.
For me, there is a sense of “holding energy” for these families knowing that the dove release is the last part of their ceremony. I have been told time and time again that families find comfort in the symbolism and they feel as though their loved one is surrounded by escorts into the heavens.
Total strangers approach me with hugs and gratitude. They remind me that this is a special ministry and that I should continue in this service to our communities. I leave feeling blessed each time I present this ceremony and I am filled with gratitude for the gift of comfort that the white doves bring.
Since I began in 2005, my passion to present the doves to all kinds of special events remains strong. Writing and delivering personalized symbolic presentations is my specialty. And I for one, never tire of watching the beauty and grace of the white doves encircling in the sky forever, uplifting spirits and celebrating life for all witness them.
I am eternally grateful for such a fulfilling service the white doves have unfolded for me. And I thank you for your genuine interest.
Julia Gaunt, Asheville’s Dove Lady