“Where else could they go? They are perfect creatures, who don’t do anything wrong,” she said.
She has posed that same question to priests and rabbis. “All creatures have a soul,” they have told her
When people ask her — and they do, all the time — she says she can’t be sure. “I guess I’ll find out, should I be lucky enough to go there,” she says.
Until then, there’s a place — tucked into a little valley, nestled amid stately trees, on nine rolling acres — where Caprita can go to remember her beloved pets, who she thinks of as family.
She made sure of it when, in 1967, she established Woodside Pet Cemetery on the same property where she had her home built.
he cemetery has become the final resting place for more than 3,000 pets — from goldfish to horses. Also buried there, with their pets, are 13 people, including former Massillon police chief, George Hardesty.
Some of the pets — and, as a rule, all of the people — are cremated. Others are buried in silk caskets, with large, ornately carved, upright tombstones. And there is everything in between in 10 different burial areas. There’s one just for cats, because a woman once told Caprita, “my cat didn’t like dogs;” one for horses (the Garden of Gentle Giants); and sections based on pet size.
Sharon Barb, of Jackson Township, has “probably about 40 pets” buried at Woodside — “mine, family members’, and friends’ who are no longer in the area,” she said
She spends a lot of time there, she said, taking care of the gravesites, placing flowers on Memorial Day and through the summer, and arrangements at Christmas time, “as you would with any family members.”
The first pet Barb buried at Woodside was a dog, Princeton, in 1983. “He was my first pet of my own, and very special to me,” she said. “When we lost him, I wanted him to be somewhere I would know where he was. So many pets at that time ended up in landfills or who knows where.”
Just last week, she buried a pet there. “Every time I lose one, I say, ‘I’ll never get another,’ because I can’t go through the pain of losing them,” she said.
But a place like Woodside helps with that pain, she said.
“You do it (bury pets) because you want to have a place to go to remember them,” Barb said, “to walk around the headstones, and remember the happy times when you had them. But it’s also for them, because they gave you a lifetime of love and devotion and companionship. When you lose them, that love you had for them doesn’t stop. The least you can do is to give them a decent burial
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