Woman plots eternal course of mountain lion, mice, other pets

LE ROY STANDISH/The Daily Sentinel
Teri Branscom and her dog Ted care for animals — and some people — interred in Final Paws Pet Cemetery, 2317 H Road.

When Teri Branscom kicks the bucket, she knows where she wants to be buried: the Final Paws Pet Cemetery, 2317 H Road.

When her day comes, she wants to be interred right here next to her brother, John Clark Branscom, and a few others who in life loved their pets so much that they could not bear to be apart from them in death.

“It’s not against the law, well, maybe,” the 57-year-old Branscom said. “They wanted to be with the animals. They didn’t want to be with the humans. They didn’t like people that much in life.”

She has operated the 18,000-square-foot pet cemetery since 1996. It is the eternal home to 45 pets, from mice to a mountain lion.

“Who’s going to heaven?” she asks when questioned about the need for a pet cemetery. “You want to go there without your dog or cat? I’m hoping to hook up with all the animals that I have known and loved in life.”

Branscom lives in a mobile home on the property and cares for several rescued horses, a rooster named Eddie, several chickens and a dog. The business barely earns her enough to pay the property taxes, she said. But it is a business she enjoys. What conjures up macabre imagery for most people is a way of life for Branscom.

“I do a lot of cremations for folks, because it is cheaper. Burial is expensive,” she said.

She has a crematorium. Many owners appreciate having the ashes of their animals.

“Folks who want to do a scattering, it makes a nice presentation,” she said.

Some pet owners who decide to keep their loved ones in Branscom’s cemetery purchase ornate grave markers. Some are statues, but most are simple plaques. There is even a potters field for those who cannot afford upscale accommodations for their pets in the afterlife.

“But they still get a burial,” she said.

This story first appeared online as a Mobile Junction item on GJSentinel.com.


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