CEDAR HILL (CBSDFW.COM) – Their nerves were drawn as tight as bowstrings.
Wearing red with their pet-loving hearts on their sleeves, supporters of Cedar Hill’s Pet Memorial Park gathered under the George Allen courthouse canopy Tuesday morning to take their chances at a foreclosure auction that would determine the cemetery’s fate.
Gil Hernandez, a supporter and volunteer, struggled to control his emotions.
“Dogs, they’re not our whole life, I know they’re not our whole lives … what’s all the commotion about? Dogs are not our whole life; but they make our lives whole,” he said.
The property — home to hundreds of pet graves — had been threatened with unpaid property taxes and foreclosure for months.
When plot owners learned that there were no laws preventing new owners from developing the property, they organized to save it.
Theresa Brandon has several pets buried there and organized the community effort.
“We’ve got graves dating back to 1945 … those people when they buried their loved ones here, they never thought about having to worry about their pets being paved over or dug up.
Brandon spoke to CBS 11 last fall as the effort was getting underway, saying, “It isn’t just about me and my pets, it’s about a whole community of pets.”
And the community rallied behind the effort, raising nearly $30,000 in a matter of months.
As the auction got underway, a rival emerged in a professional investor.
But, after running the bid up to $6,500, even he had a change of heart and walked away. Cemetery supporters were thrilled.
“We’re just totally elated over the fact that we saved it,” says volunteer Lynn Cherry. “So, we appreciate everybody — including the man that did bid against us. When he realized what it was and what it meant to everybody, he gave it to us… he gave up on bidding.”
He even pledged to make a donation.
There’s still a lot of work to be done, and the winning bid also assumes some $30,000 in unpaid property taxes –– so the fund raising will continue. But, pet owners are celebrating a future that they now believe will be secure.
“Oh, it’s marvelous,” says Hernandez, “God is good.”