There’s Fast Freddie, Honeyboy, Candy, Buttons, Christmas Nephew, and other animals buried in this pet cemetery. Some are listed as “the best friend I ever had” or “forever loved” or “our little girl” or “an important member of the family.” There’s no doubt that these animals had lives full of love… with some love filled headstones dating back to the 1940s.

But we weren’t here to see all this love and devotion.

We visited the Fresno Pet Cemetery to pay our condolences to Bones, a dog who was not loved by a family and who was found starving to death in Merced County in 2011. He was rescued, was given a new chance to live, but he died only a few short days after he plopped himself down in front of animal rescuers. Bones was buried in a prominent place in the cemetery by local animal lovers.

His story is not a new one but has certainly inspired a lot of people to try to help make a difference for animals in one of the poorest areas in California. The group that stepped in to help Bones when he needed extreme medical attention was New Beginnings. This organization steps up to help ease the burden felt by animal shelters who are low on cash and filled beyond capacity. When animals are on death row, they will find them homes or no-kill shelters in other parts of the state and in some cases, in other parts of the country.

One of my co-workers has one such dog. This dog was on death row because he was older and lived with a family that fed him only human food; they turned him over to an animal shelter just before they were sent to jail. When first adopted, this dog could barely stand he was so fat. These days he has gone from being fat and on death row to being lean, loved, and quite possibly the happiest dog with the sweetest face in California.

But I wish that Bones could have recovered and lived long enough to feel what it’s like to have a happy life…