San Leon Animal Shelter’s Día de los Muertos celebration to raise money for the sanctuary in memory of deceased pets

A San Leon pet shelter will hold a Día de los Muertos celebration on Nov. 2 to raise funds to create a memorial sanctuary for deceased pets.

“This is the kick off for the Serenity Garden we’re going to create, and we thought what better way to kick it off than by honoring the pets people no longer have in their lives?” said Kimberly Carlisle, executive director of Bay Area Pet Adoptions, a nonprofit, no-kill shelter at 3000 Ave. R in San Leon.

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The shelter event will begin at 4 p.m.

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, largely originated in Mexico and occurs around the same time as Halloween, All Saints Day, and All Saints Day. While All Saints Day and All Saints Day tend to be solemn, Dia de los Muertos is a time of joyous celebration to honor and remember those who have died.

For the Pet Shelter event, the planned Serenity Garden site will be decorated with wind chimes, fairy lights, flameless candles, Día de los Muertos decorations and altars containing framed photos of deceased beloved animals.

Bay Area Pet Adoptions staff and volunteers have been busy making small cardboard photo frames decorated with a Día de los Muertos theme. The frames measure 4 x 6 inches or 5 x 7 inches, are available in a multitude of colors and are all unique.

To feature a deceased animal at the celebration, send a photo of it to [email protected] by donating $10 at Photos and donations can also be dropped off at the shelter. Photos must be received by the end of the day, Tuesday November 1st.

By the afternoon of October 28, more than 20 dogs, cats and lizards had been registered to be shown at the event.

Video to make altars

Once darkness has settled over Día de los Muertos at the site of the shelter, a video will be made of a walk through the garden, with the camera stopping on each animal photo and altar.

“It will be streamed live on our website and on Facebook as well,” Carlisle said.

Event visitors are welcome to bring chairs and mingle while enjoying drinks and snacks.

Groundbreaking for the Garden of Serenity is scheduled for November.

“(When completed, the Serenity Garden) will be a path with raised boxes and flowers, a small garden, and twinkling lights hanging along the trees,” Carlisle said. “There will be benches where people can sit. It will grow as people bring their memories of their lost pets.

Bay Area Pet Adoptions has been a San Leon staple for over 50 years and is the only kill-free shelter in Galveston County.

“Right now we have about 70 animals, which is a bit (overcrowded),” Carlisle said. “At the end of each year, we usually have 300 to 400 animals coming in and out of the shelter.”

For more information about the shelter and animals available for adoption, call 281-339-2086 or visit

John DeLapp is a freelance writer. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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