I was on my way to town last week and took a shortcut that brought me by our county’s old pet cemetery. It’s been there as long as I can remember; just around the corner from the elementary school I was riding the bus to when I first spotted it. I’ve often wondered whose pets are buried there. As I slowed down to survey the property, something pulled at me. I turned the car around and went back for a closer look, parking in the only place I could, someone’s driveway.
A very weathered sign at the entrance practically whispered Pine Knoll Pet Cemetery. The trees that intertwine one another around the gravestones seem to be broken down or dying. Even the fresh grass following the recent rains looks to have grown in half dead. Every fiber of my being wanted to start clearing away the dead branches, dusting off the gravestones – reading each one along the way – and setting the crooked stones back in place. But alas, I was on my way someplace and couldn’t just alter my day on a whim.
Well, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the cemetery. These questions haunt me: How did it come to be? Why was its specific location chosen? Who buried their first pet there? When did it begin sinking into its current state of dilapidation? What are the names of the pets buried there and the dates on the gravestones? The cemetery is so old I presume the owners of the buried animals and even their children have since gone to join their beloved pets at the Rainbow Bridge. Who remains now to keep the cemetery up?
The sign indicates that the cemetery is affiliated with the SPCA. I know that our SPCA is busy working with live animals, adopting them out to good homes, and saving others from high-kill shelters around the state. They don’t have time to care for pets that passed on years ago. That’s it! I have to do it. I’m going to organize a day, grab a friend or two, and perhaps I’ll even talk to the neighbor whose driveway I parked in. The lovely bones buried there seem to be asking me to honor their once-cherished lives and I’ll be darned if I can ignore them.
Please return for the conclusion of The Pet Cemetery – it’s sure not to disappoint.
To be continued…