Special resting spot for pets proposed - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Special resting spot for pets proposed

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Menomonie (WQOW) - An area community is working on a plan to create a cemetery for pets alongside one of its historic lakeside cemeteries.

Those behind the idea say it is every bit as practical as it is a way to commemorate your pets.

The assistant sexton at Evergreen Cemetery in Menomonie says they're struggling financially. That's mainly because more people are being cremated and the cemetery isn't associated with a church, so it's funded completely on its own. The pet cemetery could create an extra source of income. 

If you take a walk down the winding paths of Evergreen Cemetery, one moss covered memorial in particular could catch your eye. Pat Thibado, the assistant sexton, says, "It's such an iconic little statue here, that everybody loves"  

The stone dog stands watch over the Graven family, who had it created in memory of their furry friend. Thibado says, "The pet isn't buried here, you can't mix human remains and animal remains together."

But a new plan could put pets nearby. "We need the revenue and we thought this would be a great way to do that, to reach out to the public," explains Thibado.  

Sofi Doane and Thibado are working together to create the Companion Addition. It would be located right alongside the current cemetery.

Doane says, "I've always loved genealogy, I love to visit cemeteries and I had read about a cemetery in New York, it's one of the largest pet cemeteries in the state, and I thought, wow, we need to have a pet cemetery around here." Doane says there are only a handful of pet cemeteries in the state, and the closest is over 200 miles away.

Jamie Wagner, the kennel manager at the Dunn County Humane Society just recently heard about idea. "These days a pet isn't just a pet, it is a family member. So when they pass away, it's part of the family that's passed away. So it's really important to have somewhere you can go and visit talk to them and just feel close to them," says Wagner.  

Thibado says, "I want my pets here; I want my pets near the water in the woods, where they can feel natural, where they can run wild for the rest of time."

Rules for pet burials can be confusing and there are a few hoops that have to be cleared. The first was with the DNR, because the location is so close to the watershed and on an island. They say that's already been cleared.

Also, because the cemetery is on the Wisconsin State Historical Register, those behind the project are requesting the portion that would become the pet cemetery be an exception and taken off the registry, which would clear the way for burials.

They also need to make sure there aren't any zoning issues with the city.

The hope is, pets will be able to be buried at the Evergreen Cemetery as early as this coming spring. The cost to clear the trees and get everything ready to go will be about $2,400.

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