Ferncliff pet cemetery to get new entry, walkway and parking area

Improvement project ‘honors the unique role our furry, feathered or scaly friends play in our lives.’

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Ferncliff Cemetery and Arboretum is working on an improvement project to enhance its pet cemetery six years after it first opened.

“These enhancements will serve to make the site a destination, a special and unique space that fits into the overall aesthetic and function of Ferncliff as a whole,” said executive director Shelley Baker.

The pet cemetery opened in 2018 when a 3-acre piece of land, owned by The Springfield Cemetery Association, located on the west side of the cemetery “was declared restricted and conveyed for use as a pet cemetery.” About 70 pet burials have been recorded to date.

It’s a separate for-profit corporation and operating unit of Ferncliff under the statutes, codes and regulations of Ohio laws and administrative rules of the Department of Agriculture, Baker said.

“At Ferncliff, there is a special place where we celebrate the cherished companions who have warmed our homes and nestled their way into our hearts. Our pet cemetery, the final resting place of over 60 beloved pets, honors the unique role our furry, feathered or scaly friends play in our lives and the indescribable bond that forms,” Shelley wrote in one of the cemetery’s newsletters. “We understand how heart-wrenching losing a pet can be ... ”

In 2021, a master plan conducted by Meisner & Associates and the L.F. Sloane Consulting Group included key recommendations to improve the pet cemetery design with a clear entry, central walkway with focal feature, edge landscaping, dedicated accessible parking and new signage.

The project will start in August and is expected to be completed in October. The design is by landscape architect Roger Beal of Yellow Springs Design, and the contractor for the project is Ground Systems Inc.

A portion of the revenue from each pet lot sale is deposited into the pet cemetery perpetual care fund to make sure there is money available for the pet cemetery upkeep. Officials also offer a pet cemetery pre-need trust fund for families who choose to pre-pay for their pet’s burial expenses.

Ferncliff began with 70 acres of land in 1863 as a nonprofit organization for the Springfield community. The cemetery is located at 501 W. McCreight Ave.

The pet cemetery section offers lots, caskets, cremation urns and urn vaults, and custom designed memorial markers and monuments. Pet packages are available, and graveside memorial and committal services are also available for families wanting a full traditional service.

Full body burials of any type of animal up to 200 pounds or burial of the pet’s cremated remains are offered, and burial of any service animal with proof of service is free. Arrangements can be made for your pet to be picked up at your home or your vet’s office.

“Ferncliff’s mission is to serve our community with supportive, affordable and inclusive end-of-life services in a beautiful, historic environment in perpetuity. We understand how important a pet is to their human companion, therefore with the addition of our pet cemetery, we can care for every member of the family,” Baker said.

For more information on packages and individual service pricing related to the pet cemetery, visit www.ferncliffcemetery.org/pet-packages. For other information, visit www.FerncliffCemetery.org.

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