SPENCER — Cassidy Towe snuggled her furry Cavalier King Charles spaniel all the way from the breeder in Wetumka to her family's home in Edmond.
The puppy she named Maple would be one of the best birthday presents Cassidy ever received, said her mom, Becky Towe. As gifts to their twin daughters when they turned 9, the Towes bought Maple for Cassidy and Shadow, a Yorkshire terrier, for Haley.
Maple was a “floppity woppity” dog who loved treats and made sure to wake up Cassidy every morning, Towe said.
But one morning this July, Maple became sick with an unknown ailment. She died the next day at only 5 years old.
The veterinarians, who weren't sure what caused Maple's sudden death, told Towe about the Precious Pets Cemetery in Spencer.
“We just thought that we would have her cremated and bury her in the backyard,” she said, “but Cassidy, her heart was so big and heavy, that I told her about this place.”
The Towe family drove to the pet cemetery so Cassidy could decide if it was the right place for Maple. As they pulled into the entrance, Cassidy saw a statue of a spaniel welcoming them.
“Cassidy just looked at me and started crying,” Towe said.
After walking throughout the cemetery, Cassidy sat down on a bench under a tree and said “Mom, come over here. I think I like it here.”
Cassidy took a leaf from the tree and her mom asked one of the cemetery's owners what kind of tree it was. It was a maple tree.
The Towe family bought the plot for Maple and a second spot next to it for Shadow.
“They've just been wonderful. I feel like we gave Maple a wonderful tribute and Cassidy feels good about it,” her mother said.
Compassion for animals
Precious Pets Cemetery was established in 1985 by Robert Erdman's grandfather Bob Cowles. Erdman now runs the pet cemetery with his mother, Linda McCullough.
“We've been in the human cemetery business since the 1960s. My grandfather started this in 1985 pretty much for our family pets, but it just kept growing and we ended up running this in the same way as we run our human cemeteries, as a business,” Erdman said.
In the beginning, all funerals were conducted after 5 p.m. or on weekends. But that changed years ago.
“We never work after hours for a funeral. Everyone is able to just tell their boss or their employer or their family members, ‘I'm taking off because Fluffy died,' which is a big change from how it used to be,” Erdman said. “There's a lot more compassion for animals.”
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They've just been wonderful. I feel like we gave Maple a wonderful tribute and Cassidy feels good about it.”
Her family bought a plot for their dog, Maple, at the Precious Pets Cemetery