I talked to Dr. Neal Rose, who owns the veterinary hospital and was specifically mentioned in Smith’s will as the person who would provide medical care for the dogs who survived her.
“I do remember Frances Smith,” he said, also remembering her dogs were black in color, somewhat unusual for Pekes. “She loved her Pekingese, that’s for sure.
“She had her opinions on how she wanted them to be taken care of. I said, ‘We’ll keep them going as long as possible.”
The last two dogs lived for about two years after Smith’s death, Bridger said.
At Pet Memorial Park, Smith is surrounded by at least a half-dozen of her dogs, some of who preceded Bridger’s time at Smith’s home. Markers for several of the dogs are there — Woo Wang, In-Ki Boi and Tippy, among a few others — but Bridger can’t recall if there were markers for every dog originally or whether any markers may have been lost to time.
Rodgers says Smith “sounds like my kind of woman” for her devotion to her dogs. Rodgers and her husband, Allen, acquired the cemetery largely because their late Shih Tzu, Snowball, is buried there, and they didn’t want to see anything happen to the place when they learned previous owner Emerson Hughes was looking to sell and retire.
Since taking over the 2-acre cemetery, the Rodgeres have discovered the challenges of maintaining the property with low revenue from only occasional new pet burials. They’ve spent many weekends with a small group of volunteers clearing overgrown areas and trying to keep the place tidy. They appreciate all help. You can reach them through their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/petmemorialparks