Cradled in a white plastic casket lined with silky orange cloth and attended by his grieving owners, Skippy, the dog allegedly shot to death by an annoyed postman, was buried Wednesday in a Calabasas pet cemetery, surrounded by TV cameras, reporters and the graves of other famous animals.
The Brody family of Arleta said goodby to Skippy with a $685 funeral paid for by the Postal Service.
"This leaves us with a happy memory of the dog, rather than an unhappy one as of last Tuesday," said Tammie Brody, 27.
Brody and her son, Brian, 10, witnessed the shooting of the family dog the day after Christmas as Brody was about to give mailman Floyd Bertran Sterling his Christmas present, a bottle of vodka.
Sterling, who was arrested, told police the dog had bitten him earlier.
Investigators said Wednesday that an autopsy indicated Skippy may have been shot while fleeing from the postman.
Skippy, a 2-year-old German shepherd mix, was buried in a plot bordered by poinsettias and surrounded by trees at Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park.
Before the burial, eight members of the Brody family gathered in a shed to view the body of the stray dog they had adopted.
Tammie Brody placed three red roses in the open casket.
There was no eulogy. Brian Brody stood tearless and mute, flanked by his grandparents and best friend, as the casket was lowered into the ground. Family members walked quietly back to their car amid a swarm of cameras and questioning reporters.
"I feel OK," Brian said. "I don't want another dog."
Sterling, 34, was freed Tuesday on $5,000 bail after he surrendered to authorities. He faces arraignment Jan. 23 in San Fernando Municipal Court on one count each of cruelty to animals, carrying a concealed weapon and discharging a firearm with gross negligence.
Family members said they had not yet seen a report on the autopsy, performed at their request by a private veterinarian. However, Brody insisted to reporters that "Skippy was not attacking" when he was shot.
Police and district attorney's investigators appeared to confirm her account. They said Wednesday that the autopsy indicated the fatal shot struck the dog in the left side from the rear, indicating that Skippy was facing away from the gun when he was hit.
The cemetery, at the western end of the San Fernando Valley, is the resting place for some 40,000 animals, including pets belonging to such past and present celebrities as Rudolph Valentino, William Shatner, Gloria Swanson and Sally Struthers.
Skippy's tombstone was not ready Wednesday. Brody said family members were still undecided on what it will say, but favor an inscription reading: "We Love You and Miss You Very Much."