I didn’t have pets growing up. There was that stupid Irish Setter that was around for a time when I was a toddler who’d run circles around me and my twin brother and make us fall a lot. He kept jumping the fence and would be passed along to a family friend who had a much bigger yard than our own. Then some years later we caught a tadpole and raised it until it became a frog. One day we discovered the amphibian had escaped its cage. We would find it under the bed months later, dried up and lifeless. He was atop a Missouri Conservationist magazine which featured a pond on the cover —not unlike the one we pulled him from.
It wouldn’t be for several more years that I would adopt my first cat. I was talked into it by a friend I worked with who volunteered at a local animal shelter. I did not consider myself a “cat person.” I moved out of that apartment and bought myself a house. It wouldn’t be very long at all until I would bring another cat home. Even still, I was not a cat person. About a year later I found myself bringing yet another cat home. That’s when I realized that I was a cat person and perhaps I had been all along.
I’m certain that there are many people who don’t get fully emotionally invested in their pets. Then there are a great deal of people who consider their pets members of the family. Inevitably, like all living things, pets will eventually shuffle off this mortal coil. What options does one have in regards to post life pet care? Do you put them in a shoe box and bury them in the backyard? Cremation is certainly an option. You can leave your animal’s remains with the local Humane Society to be disposed of. I’ve heard stories of taxidermy in the most extreme cases. What about pet cemeteries?
In Twin Oaks, a suburb of West St. Louis County, you can find the Memory Park Pet Cemetery. It has been in existence for over 50 years and boasts over 2,800 pet graves on the 6 acre plot of land. Mere mention of a pet cemetery immediately reminds most of the book and 1989 film “Pet Sematary” by Stephen King. As far as I know, the Memory Park Pet Cemetery was not formerly a sacred Indian burial ground, but one never knows…