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Cielo Azul offers natural burial for local pets

Death comes for us all, including beloved animals whose lives often seem tragically short compared to ours. With a vision of offering pet parents a tranquil, natural spot to honor their beloved cats and dogs, volunteers created Crestone’s pet cemetery, Cielo Azul, in 2018.


The Town of Crestone provided land for Cielo Azul. Follow Galena west to the Crestone cemetery. From there, a 10 minute walk west brings you to Cielo Azul’s site, nestled among pinyon, juniper, grasses and cactus. Rock lined paths access the 90+ numbered grave sites.

Several local artists’ contributions enhance the site. William Bartley created the beautiful steel entrance gate and Paul Kloppenburg crafted the colorful memorial kiosk. The kiosk has bench seating for rest and reflection.

Cielo Azul follows the general rules for a natural burial site. Dogs and cats may be buried in a shroud or other natural material. Cremains may be also be buried. Pet parents hand dig the graves and decorative items can be placed to personalize and adorn the plot.

Cielo Azul is open to all animal residents of Saguache county, especially those in the Crestone/Baca area. The pet cemetery is administered by the Town of Crestone. Come to Town Hall at the corner of Galena and Alder Monday through Thursday, 9-2 to pick up a map of the grave sites. A $25 fee is requested for a small plot with slightly higher fees for larger spaces.

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BJ Miller, MD, a hospice and  palliative medicine physician

BJ Miller, MD, a hospice and  palliative medicine physician and former director of the Zen Hospice in San Francisco, has recently published A Beginner’s Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death.

Miller and co-author Shoshana Berger have created an ‘all encompassing action plan for the end of life’. Ira Byock, MD, Founder and Chief Medical Director at the Institute for Human Caring says: “When it comes to the final journey, we are all beginners. Navigating the complexities of serious illness (and ageing) requires grace and grit. With elegant simplicity and tender, earthy honesty, this beginner’s guide explains how to prepare, what possible routes you might take, mis-turns to avoid and the beauty you might see along the way.”

For more information on BJ Miller, view his TedTalk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apbSsILLh28