1926782_796924523664341_7184703507663075934_nThe Saint Francis Memorial Garden was dedicated on October 4, 2014, on the Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals.

The garden was designed and constructed by Julie Bedson, a senior at McIntosh High School and St. Andrew’s parishioner. Julie identified a need for a pet memorial garden in Peachtree City, and worked to obtain the necessary support, permits and donations to build the Saint Francis Garden at St. Andrew’s, which earned her the Girl Scout Gold Award for identifying, planning and completing a needed community service project. Girl Scouts must complete two journeys, two action projects earning Bronze and Silver Awards before qualifying to earn the Gold Award. Julie has been active in the Girl Scouts for 13 years.

Members of the church youth group, Julie’s Girl Scout troop and Boy Scouts assisted in completing the garden. A statue of Saint Francis was donated by Bert and Suzanne Sports, and a wrought-iron fence enclosing the garden was donated by Max and Carol Thomas. Photos of the garden construction and dedication can be found here.

The garden is designed around the shape of a saltire crafted in wood, and is landscaped with several plants and shrubbery. It is located behind the church, adjacent to the children’s playground.

Policy for Burial of the Ashes of Pets in the Saint Francis Garden
Adopted by the Vestry of St. Andrew’s on October 13, 2014

1. The exclusive and only form of remains to be interred in the Memorial Garden shall be the ashes of pets. Ashes shall be buried directly in the earth, with no container. The Rector, at his/her sole discretion, shall have full authority, including the right of refusal, over the type, form and volume of ashes to be interred.
2. The Rector will determine the site of the burial. After burial the site will be closed and landscaping restored. The site will not be marked.
3. All burials will be recorded on a plaque located on the lower level of the parish’s main building. The cost of the plaque is included in the burial fee.
4. There will be a $50.00 fee charged which includes the cost of the brass marker with the name of the pet which will be added to the plaque. This fee may be reduced or waived at the discretion of the Rector.
5. No flowers of any kind may be placed in the garden.
6. This policy is subject to change only through the approval of the Vestry of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Peachtree City, Georgia.

FUND FOR THE SAINT FRANCIS GARDEN: The pet burial fee, less the cost of the brass marker, will go into a designated fund for the upkeep of the garden subject to the discretion of the Rector. Donations other than the burial fee may be made to the St. Francis Garden designated fund.

For more information about the policy, or to arrange burial of your pet, please contact the church office.

Pet Grief Counseling

The loss of a beloved pet is a traumatic life event; the sense of grief and pain can be overwhelming. You don’t have to go through this process alone. There are pet grief counselors available to help you in your time of need. A few of these are listed below for your convenience:

Linda Ehlers
Atlanta Humane Society: Howell Mill Campus:  981 Howell Mill Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30318
Meetings: Second Saturday of every month at the Howell Mill Campus starting at 11 AM
The cost is $5.00; no appointment is necessary

Jennifer Wilmoth
Deceased Pet Care Funeral Home: 4991 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30341
Meetings: First Tuesday of every month from 7:30- 8:30 PM
Free to all pet parents on a drop in basis; no need to register

Robin Chisolm
Georgia Veterinary Services Pet Loss Support Group: 455 Abernathy Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Meetings: Every Wednesday night from 6:30- 8:00 PM
Free of charge