Marymoor Park east of Seattle, Wash., is a Disneyland for dogs, a place where people and their pooches can romp and run over 40 acres of off-leash play space. Now, Marymoor is also a place where people can celebrate and commemorate their beloved living, lost or deceased pets. “The Stephen King/Pet Sematary references were unavoidable, but this is not what this place is about,” says Jesse Israel, with King County Parks.
The newly dedicated Marymoor Park Pet Garden is a one-acre space next to the off-leash area, where people can reflect on the good times they had with their dogs at the park. It’s the first publicly funded memorial pet garden in the Pacific Northwest, and likely, the entire country.
The garden was designed to meet two needs: those of dog owners who wanted to honor their canine friends, and those of a park system in need of entrepreneurial ideas to stay afloat financially. Pet owners can donate money to the garden in exchange for trees, inscribed paving bricks, benches and trees. State and federal urban forestry grants helped fund the garden, along with donations from local businesses. Volunteers maintain the manicured lawns and islands of perennial plants as well as a stone fountain and kiosk where people can post poems and stories about their pets.
“I was blown away that government could be so innovative,” says Judy Trockel, head of Serve Our Dog Areas (SODA), the official stewardship group for Marymoor. “It’s a recognition of and respect for the role pet owners play from an economic and political standpoint.” For more information, visit www.metrokc.gov/parks/petgarden/