Celebrate pets this Sunday at Abbey Glen

National Pet Memorial Day

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  • Abbey Glen Pet Memorial Park was established in 1982 Photos provided

  • Scene from last year's National Pet Memorial Day ceremony

By Laurie Gordon

— There's a wonderful, often unwritten love story between people and their pets. Typically, it's a cat or dog, but people are just as attached to other animals including goats, pigs, and many others. They are our companions and compatriots. They don't question why we do something, and in most cases, the love they give is unconditional. Sunday will be a day to celebrate our animals.

National Pet Memorial Day will be celebrated at Abbey Glen Pet Memorial on Sunday, September 9 from 11:00 to 3:00. It is an outdoor event that will include pet adoptions, several local vendors and information tables, pet CPR demonstrations, free nail clippings, pet blessings from 1:00-3:00 pm, as well as dog obedience demonstrations.

Said Heidi Conkling, the administrator for the park: “ National Pet Memorial Day is an event that is always held on the second Sunday of September and was established in 1973 by the International Association of Pet Cemeteries & Crematories and had been celebrated annually by Abbey Glen for many years. In the wake of 9/11, the event was no longer celebrated by Abbey Glen out of respect for the tragedy of 9/11. Last year Abbey Glen’s owners decided it was time to resume the celebration.”

Abbey Glen Pet Memorial Park was established in 1982 by David and Lenore Cooke because, through the kennel they operated in Somerset County, they became aware of a need to provide a service to families whose pets had died. The 14-acre deed-restricted park was designed by the chief architect of the US Veterans’ Cemeteries and provides a beautiful, peaceful sanctuary for the aftercare and memorialization of beloved pets. Pets that are buried at the park range in size from a guinea pig to horses. In 1993, Abbey Glen’s pet funeral home was opened adjacent to the Memorial Park to provided a dignified, private place for families to hold memorial services for their beloved pets. In 1998 another crematory was opened in Quakertown PA.

Abbey Glen is currently being operated by the second Cooke generation of three brothers: Derek, Kevin and Brian. Burials of pets or their cremains can be arranged by calling the administration offices and purchasing a plot, casket and care plan. Cremations are currently being done Tuesdays through Saturdays and pet owners have the ability to come directly to Abbey Glen and, if desired, arrange to have a final viewing of their beloved pet and be present to witness the cremation from Tuesday through Friday.

“People often ask me how I can work at a place like Abbey Glen where you deal with grief on a daily basis,” Conkling said. “I tell them it is very rewarding to be able to offer comfort & support during such an emotionally difficult time and to assist pet parents in making final arrangements for their beloved pets. When people thank you sincerely and tell you how much your compassion and understanding meant to them on such a difficult day, then you know you made a difference. That is what working at Abbey Glen is all about.”

For further information about Sunday's event or to learn more about cremation, burial or other services offered by Abbey Glen, visit www.abbeyglen.com. Abbey Glen is located at 187 Route 94 in Lafayette.

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