A loving pet owner was faced with a problem after her cat passed away — there were no pet cemeteries anywhere near Salina.


A loving pet owner was faced with a problem after her cat passed away — there were no pet cemeteries anywhere near Salina.

Theda Lockhart of Salina decided to take matters into her own hands and asked Saline County if they would be willing to have a pet cemetery. After her request was declined, she asked Dickinson County.

In 1999, she purchased 40 acres in Dickinson County and sold all but five acres, which she named Faithful Friends Pet Cemetery. Lockhart and her co-founder, Wilbert "Bill" Matthew, were both around 80 years old when they founded the cemetery. Lockhart began searching for help with ground maintenance and burials.

A phone call to the Salina Elks Club put her in touch with Dave Lilly of Salina, another pet owner. Although he didn't know if the Elks could help, he was willing to help Lockhart.

When Lockhart passed away in 2009, Lilly continued the work she had begun. He maintains the grounds, arranges burials and helps pet owners find a final resting spot for their "faithful friends."

"I have taken it on as my hobby or contribution to society," Lilly explained.