Lying in a secluded glen cut from a wooded estate are the 400 residents of Foresthaven - cats, dogs, horses and other pets that have been buried but not forgotten.
The park-like pet cemetery is operated by Raymond and Renate Glasscock on their 40-acre spread that is also a wildlife sanctuary."More and more pets have become real family members," says Mrs. Glasscock. "We're really a little nutty with our love for animals. But we feel there couldn't have been a better purpose for this property . . . than giving it to the animals."
Among the animals buried there are a 31-year-old racehorse, a squirrel, a parakeet and a pet skunk named "Stinky." A separate area called "Kitty Corner" is reserved for cats whose owners prefer that the felines be buried some distance from the canines.
Glasscock says there are more than 400 pet cemeteries in the United States. It costs $350 to $450 to bury an average-sized pet at Foresthaven, including headstone and use of the chapel. A casket, air- and water-tight and in a range of sizes, costs $45 to $200 extra.
The Glasscocks started the cemetery near Xenia in 1981 after their beloved boxer died and they buried it on their property. That was quickly followed by the burial of a dog owned by one of their friends. From there, word of the cemetery spread.
Glasscock says that in addition to providing burial, Foresthaven tries to provide understanding and grief counseling for pet owners. "I allow them to talk as much as they want to about their pet," he says, "and supply them with whatever support we can in the way of understanding. . . ."
Glasscock says the loss of a pet is often a child's first experience with death.
He says many elderly people die shortly after their pets do.