Nuzzles & Co. to host pet memorial celebration
July 22, 2016
Over the years, former Park City resident Kim Page has adopted eight elderly dogs to care for in their final days.
Page, who recently moved to Palm Springs, Calif., said it has been her passion to care for the unwanted animals, who have often been plagued with behavioral or medical challenges. She said whether it's for "one, two or eight years of being in a trusting loving home, they know that they are safe and loved."
All eight of Page's "guys" have since passed. However, when she heard that Nuzzles & Co. was sponsoring a memorial event, she decided to participate and send a prayer flag to the organization to honor their memory.
"I wanted to let all my dogs that are across that rainbow bridge know that I still think of them all the time and that they definitely still have a place in my heart," Page said. "Adopting them taught me compassion and that every animal is special. With the quirkiness of each of these guys, I learned patience and found whatever it was that I could love them for and then we worked on the other things."
Nuzzles & Co., Summit County's nonprofit animal rescue, is hosting a memorial celebration to honor the community's pets on Saturday, July 30, at the Rescue Ranch in Peoa. The event will feature the creation of a memorial pet garden that will include decorated prayer flags and rocks. Tickets are $25 for adults and free for children younger than 13. Admission includes a prayer flag, vegetarian barbecue meal, one drink ticket and entertainment. The bluegrass band Ophir Creek is also scheduled to perform.
Sharon Cantwell, Nuzzles & Co. development director, said pet owners are not often surrounded by people who understand the grief of losing a pet.
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"People like me, I don't have children of my own. I have cats so it is harder when you lose them because most don't understand the grief that comes with it," Cantwell said. "This will be a really beautiful ceremony and people will be allowed to barbecue and camp if they want. We are creating something wonderful for their beloved lost pets.
Cantwell said members of the organization wanted to create an event for the community to celebrate the life of their pets. She said most support the organization philosophically, but can't afford some of the pricier fundraisers.
"So many people can't afford $150 for a ticket to our gala, let alone spend money on auction items," Cantwell said. "We wanted to create an event that allows everyone to participate and celebrate."
Kathleen Toth, Nuzzles & Co. board president, said the response has been heartwarming. Toth said there has been an outpouring of people praising the organization for recognizing the need for such an event. Organizers are expecting at least 50 people to attend.
"We also have people who aren't able to attend the event and live outside of the state like Kim so we are selling the opportunity to purchase a flag for $12 and we will decorate that for you," Toth said. "We just really wanted to reach out to the community and be a place where you can feel like you are supported and understood and your pet is loved no matter where they came from."
Tiffany Young, who lives in Holladay and regularly volunteers at the rescue ranch, said she has purchased a flag to decorate for a blind cat who recently died there. Young said he was "such a happy cat who didn't let being blind faze him."
"When I was cleaning out the cages and found him, he looked like he was in peace and he had a smile on his face," Young said. "He was older and ready, but I still wanted to do something for him. This memorial thing is the perfect thing to do so I did a flag for him. It's just about all the animals and their spirits and what they bring to us and your remembrance of that.
"It is more about celebrating their lives and coming together in that spirit of it, at least for me," Young said.
Nuzzles & Co.'s Fly Free Pet Memorial Celebration will start at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 30 at the Rescue Ranch, 6466 N Highview Road, in Peoa. Tickets are $25 for adults and free for children younger than 13. Tickets include a prayer flag, entertainment, barbecue food and one drink ticket. For more information, go to https://nuzzlesandco.org/.