We just bought a Rainbow Bridge

Peoria, IL(Zone 5a)

I haven’t been in the pets forum for awhile because I had a hard time seeing the losses of so many peoples pets which upsets me.

I thought I would pass along what I have been up to lately. Recently there has been a local issue over a 50 year old Pet Cemetery here in Peoria Illinois. The previous owners let the taxes fall behind and the County took possession of the property. It went up for public auction and the newspaper article about it had interviews with a few elderly people who had pets buried there. They were all worried that someone would buy the property and tear out the cemetery to build on it. I don’t like to see people worry about things, especially at their ages. So my partner and I called about purchasing it since it did not sell at the auction. One person had made contact about it before we did and they were sent the contract and had two weeks to sign it and send in their payment of $645.00. We were in line after them. They did not follow through so we were mailed a contract, received it yesterday and have signed it and sent it back with our payment.

The paperwork for Pet Haven has been lost so the chances of ever being able to bury anymore pets is pretty slim since we do not know how full it is or who is where. My main objective in buying this is to protect it and give piece of mind to all that have their pets there. It is just under an acre in size with a small creek that runs through it dividing it. 2/3 is the cemetery and 1/3 looks like it has been used for many years as a soil fill dump site that is overgrown with tress that goes across the front of the property. You have to walk across a small bridge over the creek to get to the cemetery. We plan on restoring the cemetery by cleaning it up and resetting the sunken headstones. I will take from my garden to add to it.

This will cost us considerably down the road to maintain it and pay the property taxes on it but I think it is worth it for what we are giving to the community. Now I have to buy a riding lawn mower & trailer for it to cut the grass. I hate cutting grass! I have been removing all of the grass from our house so I wouldn’t have to mow it and putting in all flowerbeds. We will be losing 2 of our 6 dogs to old age this year which will be rough on me. My partner is a manager at one of the most respected cemeteries here so I hear all about it and peoples losses, which does bug me. So I take all of the things that I do not like and buy something that entails all of them just to do something good for others.

I will post some photos of Pet Haven starting with the bridge.

Frank

Thumbnail by franknjim
Peoria, IL(Zone 5a)

Looking in from the other side of the bridge.

Thumbnail by franknjim
Peoria, IL(Zone 5a)

Looking out from the back.

Thumbnail by franknjim
Peoria, IL(Zone 5a)

One of the older headstones.

Thumbnail by franknjim
Peoria, IL(Zone 5a)

Another headstone.

Thumbnail by franknjim
Peoria, IL(Zone 5a)

Headstone.

Thumbnail by franknjim
Peoria, IL(Zone 5a)

A grouping of headstones.

Thumbnail by franknjim
Lyndonville, NY

You my dear, have made me cry.....and they are good tears. I am so glad there is someone in this world....who really cares. Not just for our furbabies, for their owners....and to do all this above and beyond what you like and dislike. You and your partner, have wings!

That Bridge....should be painted gold...the path to a peaceful resting place.

Thank you....

Debbie

Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

I am in tears, too. Thank you, kind people.

(Arlene) Southold, NY(Zone 7a)

What a wonderful and loving gesture you've made by buying the cemetery. I applaud you and your partner for bringing such peace of mind to those who have pets buried there.

We've lost many pets and some are buried at the Bide-a-Wee cemetery. The headstones could make the most hard-hearted people break down in tears. Many had the following quote, which I found so very touching:

If love could have saved you
You'd never have gone.

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

Tears of Joy and a bit of Sadness mixed in for all the past pain. I really hope you can continue to bury pets there.

It is a wonderful thing you are doing!

Debbie how about a gold bridge and then somehow rainbow colored hoops attached to the top going the length of the bridge! Wouldn't that be wonderful! Entering into a lovely garden.

Jim Falls, WI(Zone 4a)

Okay this is going to sound weird but I posted this letter after eweed did something on another thread and we were all posting as him. Came over here and that is me talking about the bridge along with Debbie.

Vicki

Denton, TX(Zone 7a)

What a lovely thing you have done!

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

I saw that too Vickyi, guess we all have Ernie's name.some one has to fix that, just too funny

Maria

Jim Falls, WI(Zone 4a)

Maria log out and back in that will fix it! Or should I say Ernie! LOL

Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

No Vicki, I logged out and came back and I'm still Ernie.

If I haven't mentioned it, being Ernie is fun.

What a kind and lovely gesture to maintain this pet cemetary, I love the idea of the rainbow bridge. Want contributions to help defray the cost???

Sheila

Jim Falls, WI(Zone 4a)

I guess you are special then Sheila that you are still Ernie! ROFLOL

I was even thinking of maybe plant donations?

Coral Springs, FL(Zone 10b)

What an amazingly beautiful gesture. I think it might be something that could almost go on an historic register?

Since there are no cemeteries here for pets, all of my beloved dogs are in urns that my daughter has made for me- each one is very special. (Here she is, I'll share this, its from the pbs special, Craft in America. )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjDgl9eOnyk

I would love to know when you set up some kind of foundation to help defray the cost to you for this, it seems that most of us would like to do something even if it is only small, to honor the way it used to be...

Thumbnail by handbright
Everson, WA(Zone 8a)

I logged of it still tells me I am Ernie, ha ha ha

Maria

This message was edited Aug 24, 2010 8:27 AM

Peoria, IL(Zone 5a)

We will be able to afford it. I give up things that I want in order to be able to do things for others. I was going to buy myself a hobby greenhouse and I changed that to buying Pet Haven and a riding lawn mower. This way more people can benefit than just me getting something for myself. I grew up as a child very poor yet my mother still did everything in her power to help others. That is where I learned to do for others.

I currently have hundreds of perennials sitting on my driveway in pots. No matter how many I plant I still end up with hundreds more because I propagate constantly and pretty much everything I touch grows. Last year I donated 150 pots of plants to a local Memory Garden that was pretty bare. I filled their garden completely full.

Once the cemetery property gets signed over to us I am going to check into seeing how much it would cost to have the unused portion leveled out with a bull dozer so maybe that section could be used. I might be able to find an excavating company owner that is also a pet lover who might cut us a deal. We also have to set things up to protect the place once we are gone so that it can never be disturbed. I actually grew up near the cemetery but had never gone in it in my 45 years. What we are doing will be in our local paper so I have a feeling that local people will want to help. An elderly couple in their 70's currently take care of cutting the grass becuase their pets are there. They shouldn't have to do that but it shows a lot of love.

This is a link to the most current story in our local newspaper. http://www.pjstar.com/news/tricounty/x312166566/Peoria-pet-cemetery-unbid-upon

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

Here's hoping I'm not Ernie too...

Frank/Jim - what an awesome thing you have done, not only for the pets buried there but for the owners left behind! I applaud you guys and wish you the best in your endeavor! You have made the world a little brighter for people.

I too would be interested in contributing in some way to help defray costs. Please do let us know what we might be able to do to help!

Kelly

P.S. Love the bridge and the headstones - they made me cry!

Lyndonville, NY

I can see your little Haven being a beautiful park....for petowners to find peace of mind. Maybe some of your beautiful perenials can find a home there...to add to the beauty. A few bird houses/feeders.....a park bench here and there.

You have given your community a gift of love.

Debbie

(Zone 7a)

Bravo, Gentlemen...Bravo.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

Frank, we cross posted... You have a generous heart and as Deb said, you have given a gift of love. Please do keep us posted on what is going on. It's a beautiful story.

Peoria, IL(Zone 5a)

We also have another endeavor in process that we started in regards to the protection of pets and pet owners rights when it comes to airlines that fly pets. We have three US Senators helping us get the existing rules changed. These are links to the current letters that are going to the US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood who just so happens to be from Peoria and also knows my partner on a first name basis.

This was started by us just this past winter after Delta Airlines did some very bad things to us when we had been importing a Neapolitan Mastiff puppy from Belgium.

These are both links to PDF files of the letters being sent.

http://www.illinimastini.com/8-10-10_Letter_to_LaHood_on_Pets_on_Planes_PDF.pdf

http://www.illinimastini.com/Final_Petition_as_filed-FAA_to_amend_animal_transport_regs_to_include_all_animals.pdf

The USDA is also involved to help us hold Delta accountable for what happened. I am not a highly educated person and I usually speak my mind. I had written to the Board of Directors of Delta once they started doing bad things and we were catching their lies to us.

These links are copy of the letters I sent to Delta and then to their lawyer before we ended up hiring a lawyer to sue them. They are very emotional and detail what they did to us.

http://www.illinimastini.com/delta.html

http://www.illinimastini.com/delta2.html

http://www.illinimastini.com/delta3.html

Coral Springs, FL(Zone 10b)

Bravo!

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

How terrible about your puppy! Good for you for taking a stand. Best of luck with your pursuit of the airline!

Phoenix, AZ

Bless you ♥

Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

Are you on Facebook? You should create a page for your cemetery - so many people would be inspired by what you've done.

What a fun, fun project. So seldom in life do we get to make a decision that we KNOW for sure is the right one. Wonderful, wonderful!

I look forward to seeing more pictures and hearing about your progress.

Kathy

Coral Springs, FL(Zone 10b)

Yes! Please consider setting up a facebook page for this- I am on several forums that I would l like to link to some of the stuff you have presented here, but since this is a subscription service here at Daves, that is not possible. Please consider this avenue too, the face book thing.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Frank you have given a great gift to your community. Bless you.

ps I'm not Ernie

Saugerties, NY(Zone 5a)

You have given a wonderful kindness to so many people. Just for them to know their beloved pets will not be disturbed is a blessing in itself. Bless your precious hearts..
Christine

Peoria, IL(Zone 5a)

I just set up a Facebook page for Pet Haven under the name of “PetHaven Cemetery”. My email address for that account is [email protected] .We also do a lot for The United States Neapolitan Mastiff Club(USNMC), Neo Rescue Inc. and The Mastino Health Foundation plus are involved in numerous forums and groups to help spread the word about issues that affect dogs, foods, laws and everything else.

We currently have six dogs. Three Neapolitan Mastiffs, English Mastiff, German Shepherd Dog & Pitbull. Four Parrots. Greenwing Macaw, Scarlet Macaw, Bluefront Amazon & Ecclectus. Two cats. One Snake. Two Rats. All live together in the house. You might say that animals are in our blood so it is just natural for us to try and help them in all kinds of ways.

I often consider myself to be an oddball that is on the wrong planet because of the many things I do for as many people as I can. I do things often for complete strangers out of the blue for no reason other than to make their lives better even if it is in a small way. I never ask for anything in return because if I can make a difference in someone’s life for the better, that makes me feel good. I have been given more talent and skills than any one person deserves to have so I use them to help other people, usually always before doing anything for myself. I have been told often that I waste my life doing so much for everyone else instead of making myself rich but this is just how I am and I wouldn’t want to be any other way.

My partner and I discussed a few things this AM about finding a riding mower, trailer for it, I added on a chainsaw to the list for clearing the front of the property that is overgrown plus we talked about having an arched steel sign made for the entrance to Pet Haven with the name and probably a cast metal plaque on it. I have an idea for two arches that are mounted to the four existing concrete pillars at the entrance and connected to make a vine covered tunnel but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself until I get the basics accomplished first. We have contacts in different industries where we can get things for less than normal prices so that will help a lot. My partner is also very good at getting donations from companies to provide items or financial support.

The one thing I am very eager for more than anything else is for the word to get out to the people that have been worried about what will happen to Pet Haven. Putting their minds at ease is the one thing I want more than anything in this.

I took some more photos of Pet Haven yesterday and put them on Facebook. These pics show the front of the property and how overgrown it is. The entrance to the cemetery is small even though the lot is 200' wide. There are two 4' thick Oak trees at the front that are gigantic. The rear of Peoria's Glen Oak Park is just accros the street. The largest cemetery in Illinois is next door(Springdale).

This is a photo of our pets. We make many sacrifices to have this many but it is worth it. We just picked up our newest baby Persephone this past Saturday. She is a 10-week-old Neapolitan Mastiff. I have had little sleep since then.

Thumbnail by franknjim
Odenton, MD(Zone 7b)

What a great looking family! but where are the pictures of the snake and the two rats? Your food bill must be huge, love the mastiffs but they do get quite large. Their faces are so expressive.

Thumbnail by Catbird423
Fairfield County, CT(Zone 6b)

franknjim - did you call the reporter who wrote the original article? I bet they would LOVE a follow up piece. If the people you want to reach are elderly - they probably don't "do" facebook - but their grandkids do and maybe they will get the information back to them.

Peoria, IL(Zone 5a)

We are in contact with the reporter over both the pet cemetery as well as our getting the rules changed for the airlines through the US Department of Transportation. In her most recent email to us she stated that the next email in her inbox was from one of the concerned people about the cemetery. Word will get around before this even gets in the news.

I just got a text message that we now have an appointment this friday to meet with the reporter at Pet Haven.

I want to thank everyone here for their kinds words.

This message was edited Aug 25, 2010 11:20 AM

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Please post a link to the article if we can get it online Franks. Thanks muchly.

Woodinville, WA(Zone 8b)

At work, but peeking in the Facebook to "like" PetHaven. I believe that your actions will inspire others to do the same. How wonderful!

Columbus, OH(Zone 6a)

Cyber hugs for ((((((( Frank and Jim! )))))))))))

Peoria, IL(Zone 5a)

Thank you again everyone for the kind words. I will definately post a link to the new article that will be coming out in the paper. The newspaper does post them on their website so everyone will be able to see it. The interview is tomorrow! One local person that has kept her eye on the current story has been responding to my comments and has stated that she is spreading the word here. My username for leaving comments on the newspapers website articles is 5baddogs.

The link to the story that caught my attention: http://www.pjstar.com/news/tricounty/x312166566/Peoria-pet-cemetery-unbid-upon

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