St. Mary Anglican Rev. Selinde Krayenhoff holds a ceremony to dedicate the St. Francis Pet Memorial Garden in Nanoose Bay. (Onnig Cavoukian/photo submitted)

St. Mary Anglican Rev. Selinde Krayenhoff holds a ceremony to dedicate the St. Francis Pet Memorial Garden in Nanoose Bay. (Onnig Cavoukian/photo submitted)

Vancouver Island church opens special pet cemetery

St. Mary in Nanoose Bay offers garden for ashes to be buried, memorialized

When a beloved pet dies, many people bury them in their backyards.

For those looking for other options, St. Mary Anglican Church in Nanoose Bay has created a special woodland burial ground, St. Francis Pet Memorial Garden, where people can have their pets interred.

St. Mary is now accepting cremated remains of pets and will inter the ashes in a communal burial lot. A service of celebration may also be arranged to be conducted by a clergy person or with the assistance of one of the memorial garden volunteers.

Rev. Selinde Krayenhoff said the idea came about more than two years ago as a way to serve the community. A plan was then submitted to the Anglican Diocese of British Columbia, which not only endorsed it but also provided some money through its Vision Fund to make it a reality.

“We’re kind of pioneers in this diocese but elsewhere in North America, there are pet cemeteries and in Europe,” said Krayenhoff.

“We have a lot of pet lovers in this parish including someone who ran a pet rescue organization for years. Especially retired people with animals, they really become an integral part of their families. And when they die, people are bereaved and they want a way of honouring their pets and receiving support and acknowledgement that that relationship was a significant one. We wanted a place where parishioners can put their pet ashes but we wanted to extend it to the Nanoose community and probably beyond.”

Krayenhoff said they’re not burying any bodies, only the ashes of small animals.

“Small pets only,” said Krayenhoff. “Unfortunately, we can’t accommodate horses or other large animals.”

The garden will also have a pet memorial board in the centre and feature plaques with the names of pets, regardless of whether they’re interred there.

READ MORE: Lifelong environmentalist in Parksville touts benefits of ‘green burials’

“They can order the plaques,” said Krayenhoff. “It’s just a way for people, even when they have their pets buried elsewhere or left at the vet once they’ve been euthanized, they can memorialize their pets with a plaque in the garden.”

St. Mary’s launched the pet cemetery service on Oct. 4 and included the annual blessing of the animals and dedication of the garden.

The fee to have a pet’s ashes buried in the garden is by donation, said Krayenhoff, as they need the funds to cover maintenance costs of the garden. There is a set price for the plaques and is available at the parish office at 2600 Powder Point Road, Nanoose Bay.

“This is just a simple way of acknowledging what a big part pets play in people’s lives and how they need support in the end, some closure,” said Krayenhoff. “We sometimes downplay how unconditional that love can be and it really makes a big difference in our lives.”

For more information, you can email admin@stymarynb.ca or call 250-468-5684.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

AnimalsParksvillePets

Just Posted

Victoria police are looking for a 38-year-old man after he allegedly assaulted and choked a missing 15-year-old victim in Beacon Hill Park Tuesday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
15-year-old choked in Beacon Hill tent, Victoria police assaulted while intervening

Police searching for 38-year-old suspect, two officers injured in altercation with park residents

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district teachers’ union, and its counterparts from Mount Arrowsmith district, seek stricter COVID-19 rules. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith teachers’ union asks for stricter COVID-19 measures

Teachers ask for vaccine, more online learning, mask mandate for primary students

Some Saanich firefighters have expressed concerns about first responders in the Island Health Region not being prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as an outbreak at a fire station would make service delivery a challenge. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Saanich firefighters not prioritized for COVID-19 vaccine despite working on frontlines

Saanich members express frustration, department calls on Island Health to take action

A total of 10 flight exposures have affected the Victoria International Airport in April so far, making it the highest monthly total since the start of the pandemic. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hits record-breaking number of monthly COVID-19 flight exposures

As of April 21, 10 flight exposures reported for the month

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of UVic varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Using panels kept cold by water circulating within them, B.C. researchers compared thermal comfort in 60 of the world’s most populous cities, including Toronto. (Lea Ruefenacht)
B.C. researchers use air conditioning to combat spread of COVID particles

Dr. Adam Rysanek and his team have proven a new worthwhile system – a mixture of cooling panels and natural ventilation

Police road checks are coming for people travelling between regions while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. clarifies COVID-19 travel restrictions, Lower Mainland a single zone

Vehicle checks on highways, at ferry terminals to start Friday

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich calls for non-police security for mental health patients at hospitals

Saanich police spent nearly 1,200 hours waiting with patients at hospitals in 2020

Most Read