In the Garden:
Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
St. Francis, the patron saint of animals, at Bubbling Wells.
It has already been a year since I had to put my old Noodle cat down. He had 17 happy years and was a grand companion all during that time, except for the occasional nip. After all, he was a ferocious tiger at heart.
Noodles earthly remains were sent for interment to Bubbling Well Pet Memorial Park, a pet cemetery located in Napa. I had heard about this famous spot for many years but had never been there. Bubbling Wells was established in 1971. Over 10,000 pets are at rest in permanently zoned burial grounds where gardens are cared for year-round. It is located in the hills above the Silverado Country Club on Atlas Peak Road. The winding road leading to the cemetery is typical of the California landscape - live oaks, rocky outcroppings, native grasses and shrubs, not to mention some truly magnificent homes.
Once you reach Bubbling Wells you are greeted by the green lawns and manicured landscape common to human cemeteries. We checked in at the office and asked where I might find the final resting place of my old companion. We were pointed in the direction of the Wall of Remembrance and the attendant offered to walk us there.
Strolling the Grounds
The view is spectacular looking down through the Napa Valley and all the way to San Francisco Bay. If you are familiar with Napa Valley you know that the surrounding hills are very rocky. This may sound callous, but it must be very difficult to dig a grave in that type of earth. Noodles had been cremated, so no hole was necessary, but there are large animals buried there. The specific area where the big pets lie is called the garden of "Gentle Giants". There are upper and lower gardens including "Valley View," "Garden of Memory" and the "St. Francis Garden," which is a rocky outcropping where photo plaques with portraits, names and dates of birth and death are cemented to the rocks. Noodles would love it there. He could hunt and scour the cracks for crickets and mice. There is a section of the cemetery reserved for military, police and service pets called the "Garden of Honor," another section called the "Kitty Kurve" and the a special place reserved for "Mighty Midgets".
Bubbling Wells is not only the final resting place for beloved pets, it is also home to many living creatures. We saw deer, squirrels, a Western Blue Bird, blue jays, a nosy towhee who followed us around for a while, hawks, butterflies and all manner of scurrying creatures including many blue-bellied lizards sunning themselves on warm rocks. I hadn't seen one of those for years! There was even a live ostrich and a couple of llamas in a roomy enclosure.
I spoke with one of the two gardeners on site who told me that many people come to spend time at Bubbling Wells. The property was in excellent condition with green lawns, ponds and beautiful grottoes. The paths were raked clean, hedges were trimmed and tidy, the lawns were mown and edged. Flowering trees and shrubs add seasonal color. Clean, comfortable benches were set in the shade of stately trees where you could rest and reflect on the beauty of the place and the gentle souls that reside there.
Bubbling Well Pet Memorial Park is open 365 days a year and is located at 2462 Atlas Peak Road, Napa, CA 94558. For more information call 707-255-3456 or visit their web site: www.bubbling-well.com.
I know my old Noodle cat is at peace and so am I, knowing his remains lie in such good company.
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