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A Place to Mourn: Waukesha Pet Cemetery Progresses Forward

Humane Animal Welfare Society is partnering with Prairie Home Cemetery to build a place for pet owners to grieve.

When a person loses a beloved pet in Waukesha, there are limited options if they want to have a place of mourning for that pet. The city’s cemetery has looked at the issue for years, but a pet cemetery is finally moving forward at the Prairie Home Cemetery.

The Finance Committee approved Tuesday night a contract to begin the first phase of planning. The contract will ultimately have to be approved by the Waukesha Common Council at an upcoming meeting.

While the $2,000 contract had to go before the Finance Committee, the funding for the contract with CPRA Studio is being funded by donated funds. Further donations will be used for more design work and construction.

“At no time do I want to use public funds,” Cemetery Manager David Brenner told Waukesha Patch. “I want to use donated funds.”

But without a contract to begin work on a cemetery design and cost estimates, Brenner said he can’t begin fundraising. Brenner needs a specific fundraising target to solicit donations from the community.

Donations have already started coming into the cemetery, he said, and he expects more people to react positively to the new plans.

Pets will not be buried at the property; however, the city would work with Humane Animal Welfare Society to place cremated pet remains at the site.

Pet lovers sometimes have trouble grieving, explained HAWS executive director Lynn Olenik, because they don’t have a place to mourn. And sometimes they feel guilty because they are mourning a pet.

“The grief is real grief and the grief can be devastating,” Olenik said. “People who are in need of that quiet place of remembrance would benefit greatly.”

Olenik applauded the cemetery for using private funds instead of tax dollars for the implementation for the pet cemetery.

“Not everybody is a pet person,” Olenik explained. “Not everybody understands it.”

Not everyone on the Waukesha Common Council is in favor of having the pet cemetery in the Prairie Home Cemetery. Alderman Duane Paulson voted against the contract because he can’t fathom putting pets in the same cemetery as people.

“I can’t do it, I cant do it,” Paulson said. “I can’t get there.”

Keith Worst February 14, 2013 at 03:09 AM
I support it only if the cemetery is for-profit. Otherwise it's a marxist conspiracy.
marie February 14, 2013 at 03:17 PM
I would absolutely love this and would even pay to bury some of my pets ashes here...what a wonderful idea for showing respect for our best friends and companions....
@-;-'---- Rose March 21, 2013 at 04:41 PM
Are they talking about a mausoleum type structure separate from the present one for human remains? I can't believe they'd put them in the same one [even in a separate section]. I even like the way the "baby hill" is separate from the others as I can go to my grandson's grave without going through the whole cemetery....making the visit more cheerful than saddening.

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