12 Fascinating Pet Cemeteries Around the World

Bertrand Guay/Getty Images
Bertrand Guay/Getty Images

There are hundreds of pet cemeteries all over the world dedicated to honoring deceased cats, dogs, and other beloved animals. Some even allow humans to be buried with their furry (or feathered) friends. Here, we’re taking a look at a dozen fascinating pet cemeteries across the globe, from one that only buries coon dogs to another that celebrates military canines.

1. CEMETERY OF DOGS AND OTHER DOMESTIC ANIMALS // ASNIÈRES-SUR-SEINE, FRANCE

Opened in 1899, the Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques is one of the world’s oldest pet cemeteries. Located in a Paris suburb, the Art Nouveau cemetery has stylish arches on its front gate, stone animal sculptures above some pets’ tombstones, and a monument honoring Barry, a heroic Saint Bernard who fought in World War I (pictured above). Among the 40,000 pets buried there are royal pets, award-winning show dogs, and Rin Tin Tin, the WWI canine hero turned Hollywood actor. Don’t be alarmed if you see (living) cats perched on top of the headstones—stray felines regularly wander the cemetery, where they have access to food and water.

2. HARTSDALE PET CEMETERY // HARTSDALE, NEW YORK

The entrance to Hartsdale Pet Cemetery
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, the first pet cemetery in the U.S., houses over 100,000 animals on its five acres. Established in 1896, the cemetery (nickname: The Peaceable Kingdom) morphed from a Manhattan veterinarian’s apple orchard into a burial ground for dogs and cats, as well as reptiles, gerbils, turtles, birds, and a lion cub. The cemetery features a War Dog Memorial, a mausoleum for two spaniels, and ornate granite slabs and marble grave markers. Pet owners can arrange viewings, funerals, and cremation through the cemetery, and humans can even be buried with their beloved pets.

3. LOS ANGELES PET MEMORIAL PARK // CALABASAS, CALIFORNIA

In 1928, a Hollywood veterinarian named Dr. Eugene Jones founded the L.A. Pet Park to help his clients honor their dead pets. Later renamed the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park, the 10-acre cemetery is the final resting place for 42,000 deceased animals. Visitors can leave flowers at the gravestones of celebrity pets such as Charlie Chaplin’s cat, Rudolph Valentino’s Doberman, fictional cowboy Hopalong Cassidy’s horse, and Steven Spielberg’s Jack Russell Terrier. The cemetery also performs cremations and helps pet owners choose the perfect urn, casket, or headstone for their beloved animals.

4. NATIONAL WAR DOG CEMETERY // APRA HARBOR, GUAM

At a U.S. naval base on Guam’s Apra Harbor, the National War Dog Cemetery honors the 25 military dogs that died in the 1944 Second Battle of Guam. In the battle, the dogs helped members of the U.S. Marine Corps by serving as guards, carrying medical supplies, and finding bombs and enemy combatants. Dedicated 50 years to the day after Americans recaptured Guam from Japanese control, the cemetery features dozens of graves and a granite sculpture of Kurt, a Doberman Pinscher who alerted troops of an imminent attack, thereby saving the lives of around 250 Marines.

5. KEY UNDERWOOD COON DOG MEMORIAL GRAVEYARD // CHEROKEE, ALABAMA

A burial at the Alabama Coon Dog Cemetery
Carol M. Highsmith, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Also called coonhounds, coon dogs are a type of hound bred to hunt raccoons. The Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard, established in rural northwest Alabama in 1937, is the final resting place for approximately 200 beloved coon dogs. The graveyard is named after Key Underwood, a hunter who chose to bury Troop, his canine companion of more than 15 years, in the dog’s favorite hunting camp. You won’t find any coon dog wannabes or mixed breed dogs buried here. To qualify for burial, the owner must declare that his pet is an authentic coon dog, and a witness and graveyard employee must back up the claim. In 1985, Underwood explained the graveyard’s elitist stance to a reporter: “You must not know much about coon hunters and their dogs, if you think we would contaminate this burial place with poodles and lap dogs.” Because Underwood buried Troop on Labor Day of 1937, the cemetery hosts a celebration each Labor Day.

6. JINDAIJI PET CEMETERY // TOKYO, JAPAN

Cubbies at the Jindaiji Pet Cemetery
Ken Schwarz, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

One of Japan’s many pet cemeteries, Jindaiji Pet Cemetery is located in Jindaiji Temple, a place of worship in Chofu City, a suburb of Tokyo known for its famous soba noodles and botanical garden. Although the temple was built way back in 733, the cemetery component of the temple has only existed for the past half-century. Inside the cemetery are corridors of shelves spanning from the floor to ceiling. After paying a monthly fee to the temple, pet owners adorn their shelf with photos of their pet, small vases of artificial flowers, Buddhist prayer plaques, urns, and even cans of cat and dog food for the afterlife. Outside is a more typical cemetery, featuring engraved stones and plenty of flowers.

7. PATH TO ETERNITY // CHIHUAHUA, MEXICO

Path To Eternity (Spanish name: Senda a la Eternidad, Cementerio y Crematorio) is a pet cemetery located 250 miles south of El Paso, Texas. To fulfill its goal of honoring departed pets and consoling their grieving owners, the cemetery offers funeral ceremonies, burial in an individual or common grave, and cremation services. Heartbroken owners can take comfort in the cemetery’s unique mural, which depicts the rainbow bridge, a fabled bridge that connects Earth to heaven.

8. PET CEMETERY AT THE STANLEY HOTEL // ESTES PARK, COLORADO

A hotel might sound like an odd place for a pet cemetery. But a cemetery at The Stanley Hotel, the famously “haunted” hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining, probably makes more sense. Just a few miles from Rocky Mountain National Park, the hotel houses a small pet cemetery that includes a dozen graves for the deceased pets of former hotel staff. (King also wrote a novel called Pet Sematary, but claims it was inspired by a pet cemetery in Maine rather than the Stanley Hotel’s.) In 2013, the cemetery was dug up and moved to a different part of the hotel grounds. In its place? A new wedding and corporate retreat spot, of course!

9. HYDE PARK’S PET CEMETERY // LONDON, ENGLAND

Graves at the Hyde Park pet cemetery
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Hyde Park's 350 acres house a Princess Diana memorial fountain, tennis courts, and yes, a pet cemetery. In 1881, a gatekeeper buried his friends’ Maltese Terrier, Cherry, in a garden behind Victoria Lodge, a building in the northeastern part of the park. Over the next two decades, 300 more Victorian pets (mostly dogs, but also cats and birds) were buried in the cemetery. Although not easily accessible and rarely open to the public, the Royal Parks charity occasionally offers tours, granting lucky visitors the chance to stroll through the cemetery and pay their respects.

10. RODEO ANIMAL CEMETERY // OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA

No visit to Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is complete without seeing the graves of departed rodeo animals. Situated in the museum’s outdoor garden, this small cemetery has an old-time feel to it, with wooden signposts and granite tombstones dedicated to cowboys’ best friends. The graves pay tribute to a handful of horses and bucking bulls with names like Poker Chip, Tornado, and Baby Doll Combs. A memorable tombstone for a horse named Midnight, who lived from 1907 to 1936, displays an image of a horseshoe and an epitaph that implores God to let his soul rest. The museum’s mascot, a Texas Longhorn named Abilene, is also buried there.

11. THE ANIMAL MEMORIAL CEMETERY AND CREMATORIUM // NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA

Berkshire Park’s Animal Memorial Cemetery and Crematorium has been comforting grieving Australian pet parents since 1967. Owners Shane and Katrina McGraw live on the grounds, keeping a watchful eye and caring for the land. The cemetery offers pet owners a service to pick up their deceased pet from the veterinarian’s office and arranges final farewells in their chapel. The cemetery also performs cremations and offers a selection of urns and coffins. The peaceful setting includes plenty of grass, trees, flowers, and benches to sit and reflect on your pet’s life.

12. ILFORD ANIMAL CEMETERY // LONDON, ENGLAND

A grave at the Ilford pet cemetery
Cate Gillon/Getty Images

Also called the PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) Animal Cemetery, Ilford Animal Cemetery in northeast London is home to more than 3000 deceased animals. Since the 1920s, pet owners have buried their beloved pets in the cemetery, which underwent an extensive renovation in 2007. Ilford Animal Cemetery also houses the remains of about a dozen animals, from carrier pigeons to search and rescue dogs, that received the PDSA Dickin Medal for their actions during World War II. The animal version of the Victoria Cross, this medal recognizes animals that displayed outstanding bravery during battle.

The 10 Best Stores to Shop for Deals on Black Friday

iStock.com/svetikd
iStock.com/svetikd

It’s that time of year again: Black Friday is almost upon us. That means killer deals—if you can manage to snag them. Getting good discounts during the shopping melee requires planning, since not every store offers the same sales, and not every Black Friday purchase represents a great deal. Before you start your shopping list this year, you may want to check out WalletHub’s new list of the best stores for Black Friday deals across the country.

WalletHub sifted through 7000 deals advertised in 2018 Black Friday ads from 35 major U.S. companies to figure out where you should concentrate your shopping energy this season.

While you might hear a lot about Black Friday at major retailers like Walmart and Best Buy each year, this data shows that focusing on smaller, regional department stores can net you the most savings. Stores like Belk (located across the South), Meijer (a Midwestern superstore), Fred Meyer (based in the Pacific Northwest), and Shopko (Wisconsin) all offer some of the steepest discounts, outpacing bigger corporations like Target and Kohl's. Stage, based in Houston with stores in 42 states, is offering some of the biggest discounts this year in four of the 11 categories WalletHub studied.

That said, this data is only looking at discount rates, not overall price, so it’s possible that outlets like Amazon that already offer lower base prices may be a better overall deal. With that in mind, here are the 10 stores with the highest overall discount rates:

1. Belk (68.91 percent)
2. JCPenney (65.13 percent)
3. Stage (62.08 percent)
4. Kohl's (60.76 percent)
5. New York & Company (54.52 percent)
6. Payless ShoeSource (50.34 percent)
7. Dick's Sporting Goods (49.94 percent)
8. Macy's (48.74 percent)
9. Fred Meyer (45.30 percent)
10. Shopko (45.23 percent)

These are the top five stores for consumer electronics discounts:

1. Fred Meyer (51.96 percent)
2. Academy Sports + Outdoors (46.28 percent)
3. Staples (42.26 percent)
4. Belk (41.32 percent)
5. Walmart (39.61 percent)

And the top five stores for discounts on phones and computers:

1. Lenovo (40 percent)
2. JCPenney (39.24 percent)
3. Office Depot and OfficeMax (37.94 percent)
4. Target (36.82 percent)
5. Kohl's (35.82 percent)

These are top 5 for appliances:

1. Stage (59.50 percent)
2. Belk (56.64 percent)
3. Fred Meyer (52.50 percent)
4. Big Lots (50.02 percent)
5. Newegg (46.17 percent)

And, last, the top five for toys:

1. Stage (55.78 percent)
2. Belk (53.89 percent)
3. JCPenney (47.41 percent)
4. Jet.com (43.91 percent)
5. Meijer (43.48 percent)

For the full rankings, head to WalletHub.

13 Facts About Charlemagne

A representation of Charlemagne from the Cathedral of Moulins, France
A representation of Charlemagne from the Cathedral of Moulins, France
Vassil, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Between 768 and 814 CE, Charlemagne—also known as Karl or Charles the Great—ruled an empire that spanned most of Western Europe. After years of relentless warfare, he presided over present-day France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and other territories. The Carolingian Renaissance (a revival named for the dynasty founded by Charlemagne's grandfather) rose out of the bloodshed, with an accelerated artistic and literary output that both celebrated antiquity and pushed for a newly standardized Christian culture. Nevertheless, the might of this empire rested on Charlemagne alone, and after his death it quickly fell apart. Here are 13 facts about the first Holy Roman Emperor.

1. HIS FATHER WASN'T BORN A KING.

Charlemagne's father, Pepin III—often called Pepin the Short—was mayor of the palace (administrator of the royal court) before he was named the first King of the Franks. After a concerted campaign to become ruler, Pepin finally became king in 751, and three years later was officially anointed by the pope, who at the same time anointed Pepin's sons Carloman and Charles (the future Charlemagne) with the holy oil that demonstrated their special status. Pepin III served until 768.

2. HIS BROTHER DIED SOON AFTER BECOMING CO-KING.

After Pepin III died, Charlemagne shared power with his younger brother Carloman, with the two acting as joint kings. It wasn't a smoothly shared reign, however, as evidenced by a 769 episode in which Carloman seemed to undermine Charlemagne's authority by refusing to assist in quashing a revolt in Aquitane. Then, Carloman suddenly died in 771.

Exactly how Carloman perished so conveniently is mysterious. The most common account is that he died of a nosebleed, though what caused it is a matter of debate, with one historian proposing a peptic ulcer as the underlying issue. Whatever the cause, after his death Charlemagne concentrated all of Carloman’s land and power and became the sole King of the Franks.

3. HE IS CONSIDERED THE FATHER OF EUROPE.

As the King of the Franks, Charlemagne set out on an ambitious and bloody campaign to expand his territory. By the time of his death in 814, this kingdom included the majority of what is now considered Western, and some of Central, Europe. Not since the Roman Empire had this much of the continent been controlled by one ruler. Because of this (albeit fragile) unification, Charlemagne is sometimes called the father of Europe.

Over the centuries, the name Charlemagne became associated with European unification, whether through peaceful initiatives such as the European Union or war. For instance, Napoléon Bonaparte, who had his own dreams of empire, declared in 1806: "Je suis Charlemagne"—"I am Charlemagne."

4. BEING CROWNED EMPEROR MAY HAVE BEEN A SURPRISE.

Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor at Christmas mass in 800. Charlemagne had arrived in Rome a few weeks earlier at the request of the pope, but by many accounts, including that of his court scholar Einhard, he was not expecting his new role, and only realized what was happening when the pope put the imperial crown upon his head.

Since the crowning was advantageous to both parties, it's likely there was some partnership behind the event (it's also possible Einhard may have wanted his friend Charlemagne to appear more humble in his biography). Importantly, the coronation recognized Charlemagne as ruler of a Holy Roman Empire, which carried an associated ambition of outdoing the military and cultural achievements of the pagan Roman Empire. It also served to notify Charlemagne's enemies that his domination of Western Europe was sanctioned by the Church.

5. CHURCH MUSIC FLOURISHED DURING HIS REIGN.

Charlemagne loved church music, particularly the liturgical music of Rome. At his request, Pope Hadrian I sent monks from Rome to the court of Aachen to instruct his chapel's choir in 774. This event helped spark the spread of traditional Gregorian chant through the Frankish churches. In 789, Charlemagne also issued a decree to his empire's clergy, instructing them to learn (and sing properly) the Cantus Romanus, or Roman chant. Music schools were also founded under Charlemagne's reign, and monks transcribing music helped preserve the Gregorian chant into the present day.

6. MUCH OF WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT ANTIQUITY IS BECAUSE OF CHARLEMAGNE.

Charlemagne was a fierce proponent of Christianity, yet he had great respect for the culture of pagan antiquity. He also saw his empire as a direct successor to the glory of the Roman world. The scholars of the Carolingian Renaissance discovered and preserved as much of antiquity as possible, and its survival into the modern day is largely thanks to their efforts. On Frankish campaigns, soldiers would bring back ancient Latin literature alongside other loot. Carolingian monks meticulously copied these old texts into new volumes, helping preserve Cicero, Pliny the Younger, Ovid, and Ammianus Marcellinus. Even after Charlemagne’s reign, these European monasteries remained devoted to the preservation of Latin literature and knowledge.

7. CURRENCY WAS STANDARDIZED IN HIS EMPIRE.

As Charlemagne conquered Western Europe, he recognized the need for a standard currency. Instead of a variety of different gold coins, his government produced and disseminated silver coinage that could be traded across the empire—the first common currency on the continent since the Roman era. The currency’s system of dividing a Carolingian pound of pure silver into 240 pieces was so successful that France kept a basic version of it until the French Revolution.

8. HE DRESSED IN COMMON CLOTHES.

Charlemagne was an imposing figure, with a height estimated between 5 feet 10 inches and 6 feet 4 inches, which was quite a bit taller than the average male height at the time. Yet he wasn't showy in his style. According to Einhard, he dressed in the ordinary clothes of the Frankish people, with a blue cloak over his tunic, linen shirt, and long hose. The one bit of flash he always had was a sword, worn on a belt of gold or silver. To dress up for special occasions, he'd sport a jeweled sword.

He also was not fond of flamboyant dress in the people around him. An anecdotal tale from the 9th-century De Carolo Magno relates how he spent a whole day tormenting some courtiers who returned from a festival decked out in silk and ribbons. He made them go hunting with him without a chance to change their clothes, and immediately upon returning had them attending him into the night. The next morning he ordered them to return, dressed in their wrecked finery, and ridiculed them for demeaning themselves by wearing such impractical clothes.

9. HE HAD MANY WIVES AND CHILDREN.

Amidst all those years riding around Europe waging war, Charlemagne somehow found time to get married to five different women and have relationships with several concubines. He fathered around 18 children. If there was one soft spot in the emperor's heart, it was for his kids, as he supported the education of both his sons and daughters. He didn't allow any of his daughters to get married during his lifetime—not necessarily to protect them from rakes like him, but probably because these marriages would have raised the status of their husband’s families too much for his comfort.

10. HIS ONE MAJOR DEFEAT WAS IMMORTALIZED IN POETRY.

Charlemagne's first campaign to conquer Spain was a disaster, culminating in his only major military defeat. After his army entered the Iberian Peninsula in 778, having been promised an alliance by Sulaiman Ibn al-Arabi in Barcelona that could spread Christendom into the Muslim territory, they made quick progress into the south towards Zaragoza. There, things went wrong. The governor, Hussain Ibn al-Ansari, resisted the Franks, and after some negotiation, offered gold in exchange for a Frankish retreat. Charlemagne accepted and left, destroying the defensive walls of Pamplona on the way back so they could not be used as a base for attack against his men.

As they moved through the wooded Roncevaux Pass in the Pyrenees, Charlemagne's forces were ambushed, mostly by Basques who may have been angered by the wreckage of Pamplona or their ill treatment by Charlemagne’s soldiers. Unfamiliar with the mountainous landscape, the Frankish rear guard was overwhelmed, losing many lives, including the prefect of Breton, Roland. The bold Roland was immortalized and mythologized in the medieval epic poem The Song of Roland, one of the oldest surviving examples of French literature.

11. HIS NAME NOW MEANS "KING."

Charlemagne's given name (Karl in German) was bestowed by his parents in honor of his grandfather, Charles Martel, and derives from the German for "free man." While in German kerl is understood to mean "guy," elsewhere variants of the name karl have come to mean "king." From the Czech král to the Polish król to the Lithuanian karalius to the Latvian karalis, languages all over Europe have traces of his influence in their word for king. Charlemagne's notoriety also popularized the name Charles throughout much of Europe, where it remains common today.

12. HE ORDERED A MASSACRE THAT BECAME NAZI PROPAGANDA.

Over three decades, Charlemagne warred against the Saxons in today’s northwest Germany. Most notoriously, in 782 he is said to have ordered the execution of around 4500 Saxons. Under his rule, any members of the pagan Germanic tribe who didn't convert to Christianity were also put to death.

The massacre gained new historical prominence in the 20th century, after the Nazis built a stone monument in 1935—the Sachsenhain memorial—remembering its victims. Charlemagne was reframed as an enemy of traditional Germanic culture and an example of the evils of the Catholic Church. Some 4500 stones were erected at the site where the Saxons were believed to have been killed. This demonization of Charlemagne was brief, however, and by 1942 the Nazis were celebrating the 1200th anniversary of his birth as a symbol of German superiority. The units of French volunteers who served in the German Schutzstaffel (SS) during World War II were named the Charlemagne Regiment.

13. THE EMPIRE FELL AFTER HIM.

Charlemagne died in 814, and his empire didn’t live on much longer. All of the strength of his government radiated from his reputation and the threat of war if he was not obeyed. The Frankish tradition was to divide power equally among male heirs, and although Charlemagne's only surviving legitimate son was Louis the Pious, he died in 840. The empire was soon separated between Louis's three sons. These three kingdoms continued to break down until the deposition of Charles III in 887, at which point most of the Carolingian power was gone. Not a century after his death, Charlemagne’s empire was no more.

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