Read on if your 4-H Club is looking for a community service opportunity!
From Joe Downs, Cemetery Director at Pet Heaven Cemetery:
A brief explanation of who we are; Pet Heaven was purchased by The Basement Doctor in 2018, and is now one of their many sister companies. In the years prior to the purchase of the cemetery, it has been pretty neglected and overgrown. Since purchasing the cemetery in 2018, the employees at The Basement Doctor have been volunteering their time to mow, meet with families, dig graves, and even set monuments. Finally this year, they realized the cemetery has too much business to keep running on volunteer capacity, so they hired me. I am a former dog groomer and humane agent, as well as a current funeral director and crematory operator. I am now THE only person responsible for everything related to the cemetery.
Over the past few months I have contracted with casket suppliers, monument artists, and a lawncare team.
My final big task before re-opening the cemetery and accepting new burials; is landscaping!
Pet Heaven dates back to the 1950’s, and is home to hundreds of companions final resting places. Being that we have headstones from the 50’s and up, many families don’t make it out to care for the graves anymore, and I really want the grounds to be clean and welcoming before reopening.
Some of the biggest tasks I have include:
- Washing off headstones with soap and water
- Pulling weeds around headstones – we do not use a weed-eater around the headstones because the string contains metal reinforcement, and can damage the stone ☹
- Leveling stones – Many of the headstones have settled into the ground over the years and shifted. Since our headstones are sized for pets, they are fairly small and lightweight. Most of the stones just need to be re-centered on their slabs, so the rows are in nice straight lines.
- Gardening and landscaping – I have been reaching out to local nurseries and garden centers for donations of mulch and stone. Right now, the cemetery is just lawn and trees. I want to have a nice eye-catching entrance with bright flowers and dark mulch. We also have a large empty area in the center of the cemetery where I would like to add a “Pick-your-own flower garden” – growing a variety of flowers and greenery, offering a unique experience for visitors to pick their own arrangement of flowers to place on their loved ones grave.
I am reaching out to see if your 4H community would be interested in helping us complete any of these tasks. We are eager to open our doors again and start accepting burials for at-need families!
Everything necessary will be provided for our volunteers; gloves, sunscreen, glasses, brushes and cleaners etc…
I will also be installing a community board with local veterinary office info, coupons for pet supplies etc, and would be more than happy to add a big banner thanking the Ohio 4-H volunteers for making our cemetery beautiful!
***Pet Heaven as well as all of our sister companies have been completely covid free during the entire pandemic. While our employees are getting vaccinated, we are still enforcing a strict mask policy in our offices, vehicles, and common areas. Outdoor activities are mask optional as long as a 6-foot distance is still enforced, or members are from the same household.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this email, and I look forward to hearing back from you! 😊
PET HEAVEN CEMETERY
ADDRESS: 13701 NATIONAL RD. SW, ETNA OH, 43068