It wasn’t asked for, but earned.
That’s what Betty Hansen, manager at the Virginia Miller Animal Shelter, said Wednesday of the newest addition to the Marilyn Marshall Memorial Garden in front of the shelter.
Marshall, who died almost a year ago, was a long-time volunteer and supporter — along with her husband, Delbert — of the Humane Society of the High Plains and its shelter almost since its inception.
“Not many people have been associated with this place for 40 years,” Hansen said as she watched two workers from Smith Monuments of Stockton place a 150-pound memorial stone dedicated to Marshall.
The couple had no children, and Marshall was a “cat lady,” Hansen said, with four house cats and colony of feral cats she cared for.
The feral cats all were spayed or neutered and Marshall looked after their health, even leaving a garage door open during the winter so they could take shelter in the Marshalls’ unfinished basement, Hansen said.
“I don’t think there wasn’t a cat she didn’t love,” Hansen said.
So, fittingly, the marker, donated by Hays Memorial Chapel, includes an image of a sleeping cat.
The memorial garden is about two-thirds complete, Hansen said. Volunteers planted an herb garden Sunday that includes yarrow, rosemary, thyme, basil, sage, lemongrass and, of course, catmint. Master Gardener volunteers planned the garden and plan to sell the herbs at the Downtown Market this summer.
Mulch and a sprinkler system will complete the garden. Trees recently planted on either side of the garden area were donated by area Girl Scouts.
A few dozen bricks engraved with the names of donors’ pets are beginning to fill the walkways of the garden. Bricks are available in three sizes. For more information, contact the shelter at (785) 625-5252.