Paying their respects to their best friend

Sunday, October 30, 2005
Bobbie Grim visits the grave site of Tyson, his pet dog, weekly at the Cedar Hills Pet Cemetery. (Diane L. Wilson)

"That dog wouldn't hurt a fly," said 74-year-old Bobbie Grim as he sat down and looked over at the plaque marking his beloved boxer's resting spot. "He'd go out and play with the squirrels instead of hurting them."

Alaina Hinze, the cemetery's owner, stood nearby with her 1-year-old daughter and admired the plot of land containing dozens of lost pets.

"I grew up with a lot of animals, so that's probably why I'm doing this," she said. "I get so much satisfaction out of helping people who are going through a really hard time."

Hinze has owned Cedar Hills since May 2001 and says she is now ready to sell it due to her commitments as a new mother.

"When you get calls from grieving owners at 2 in the morning, it's hard to have a baby around."

Although Grim and his fiance Fleta Jo Arnold will be sad to see Hinze step down from her ownership, they will continue coming every week -- because that's where Tyson has been for the past year.

"He was jealous of me when I first started seeing Bobbie," Arnold said laughing. "One day I finally looked at him and said 'You're going to have to get used to me being around whether you like it or not.' He just cocked his head and looked at me. I think he understood."

"One of my friends said that dog seemed almost human," said Grim as he pulled out a photo of Tyson from his car. "He always posed for pictures; I keep this one with me for good luck."

Hinze explained the different burial arrangements that can be made -- ranging anywhere from $35 to $280 depending on the size of the pet. Owners can simply have their pet buried in an unmarked grave or make their final resting spot as decorative and comfortable as possible with personalized headstones and hand-decorated caskets.

And when you loved a pet as much as Bobbie Grim did Tyson, it was money well-spent.

"I didn't have a good place to bury him myself," explained Grim. "And when you have a dog that helps you when you can't get up or brings you the phone when it rings, I figured this would be a nice spot for him."

So are there any more pets for Grim in the future?

"I'm not havin' anymore dogs after this -- it really takes something out of you."

As the sky grew darker and the wind blew colder, the couple made their way back to their car, leaving Tyson only for a little while until they show up once again next week.

Keeping the photo of his lost pet safely tucked in the visor above his head, Grim can always have Tyson close as a reminder of the six wonderful years the dog brought him.

"I just like to bring some flowers out, sit here and talk to him," said Grim. "He sure was a good dog."

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