Thousands of dogs and cats were killed or made ill by melamine-tainted pet food in 2007.
[Editor’s note: It’s been two years since melamine-tainted pet food destroyed the lives of countless dogs and cats and their people. Yesterday, Bark contributor Lisa Wade McCormick reported for Consumer Affairs.com on how one Oklahoma couple has decided to remember the pets they lost.]
A grieving pet owner is creating a memorial to honor the thousands of dogs and cats that died or became seriously ill during the 2007 melamine-tainted pet food recall.
The Oklahoma woman and her husband, who lost six pets in the recall that “nuked” their lives, have donated five acres of land near Keystone Lake in Tulsa for the sanctuary they’ve named Vindication.
The memorial is scheduled to open on June 12, 2010.
“The animals that were lost or are still suffering need to be counted and acknowledged,” says the woman, who wants to remain anonymous. “I want people to feel like their animals did matter. This memorial is to honor the bond between animals and humans.”
Creating the memorial is also the donor’s way of helping pet owners deal with heartbreaking loss of their beloved dogs and cats.
Such a loss can shatter someone’s life, she says. It devastated hers.
She and her husband lost two dogs and four cats because of melamine-tainted food.
“By March 17, one day after Menu announced its recall, I had three dead animals and three who were dying slowly,” the woman says. “I have cleaned vomit and bloody urine and know what happens when pets die of catastrophic kidney failure. And I can’t tell you how it hurts me to open my door and walk into an empty house.
“But this (memorial) isn’t about my loss,” she adds. “It’s about the thousands and thousands of pet owners out who are being stabbed in the backs. There is no justice or mercy for them or their pets. And there are no safer pet foods out there. I’m doing this as one grieving pet family to the rest of those out there. And I honestly feel this will help their hearts’ heal.”
The donor plans to transform the five acres of Oklahoma’s ancient Cross Timbers -- covered with 500-year-old oak trees -- into a memorial garden that will feature cascading pathways lined with flowers, park benches, and handmade stones. Each stone will bear the name of a dog or cat that died or is still sick because of the contaminated pet food, the donor says.
“I will make all the stones at no cost to pet owners,” she told ConsumerAffairs.com. “I expect I will be overwhelmed, but I felt compelled to do this for the pet people. It’s time somebody did something right for them.”
Learn more about the state of canine nutrition in Pet Food Confidential, an interview with Marion Nestle and Malden Nesheim (The Bark, Issue 55, Jul/Aug 2009).
Lisa McCormick is an award-winning investigative reporter whose stories have appeared in Dogs for Kids magazine, The Kansas City Star, and the national consumer news website, ConsumerAffairs.com; she has written 12 nonfiction children's books.