Pet cemetery opens in South Bend

These days the family cat or dog is more than just a pet. Many Americans also view them as a member of the family. That's why a new pet cemetery that is now open in South Bend.

At Palmer Funeral Homes they are now offering grief services after the loss of a pet.

“We are used to helping people experience death and grieve and getting them through the toughest times and pets are family members,” says Kerry Palmer from Palmer Funeral Homes.

It’s the area's first pet cemetery complete with crematory and burial services. In the past Michiana veterinarians had to rely on a Fort Wayne company for cremation.

“Two-thirds of the vets in St. Joseph County use a company in Ft. Wayne for their cremation options,” says Kerry.

The Palmers plan to partner with area animal clinics to offer more options for pet owners who often hear the sad news from the family veterinary.

So far Gilmer Park Animal Clinic has expressed an interested in referring clients.

“When it comes time and they've lost a pet and go through a grieving process, as they would to losing any family member, part of that process often involves burial or cremation,” explains Gilmer Park veterinarian Dr. Ken Kaucic.

Just like a typical arrangement pet owners can choose between caskets, urns and monuments that are offered with the burial or cremation service.

K.R. Palmer says the funeral home wanted to give people as many options as possible to make them comfortable. “They want to have choices as far as what they want to do and this is a choice for them and I think a lot of people will like it,” he added.

Although many people chose to bury their pets in their backyard it is against many city ordinances plus there is also a chance the owner will move away.

The Palmer's have a set-up a perpetual care fund to take care of the cemetery maintenance which is next to the Southlawn cemetery.

Prices for services range from forty dollars to around three hundred.

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