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.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Columbo

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

For more than 40 years, Peter Falk entered living rooms around the world as Lieutenant Columbo, an unconventional L.A. homicide detective known for his ruffled raincoat and trademark cigar. The actor would go on to win four Emmys for the role, while the series itself remains a benchmark for television crime dramas. But if series creators William Link and Richard Levinson went with their initial choice, the iconic role of Columbo would have gone to a syrupy-smooth crooner rather than the inelegant Falk. Get familiar with one of TV's most unique heroes with facts about Columbo.

1. BING CROSBY WAS ORIGINALLY EYED FOR THE ROLE.

Columbo creators Richard Levinson and William Link's first choice to play their low-key detective was crooner Bing Crosby. Der Bingle loved the script and the character, but he feared that a TV series commitment would interfere with his true passion—golf. It was probably providential that Crosby turned the role down, since his death in 1977 occurred while the series was still a solid hit on NBC. 

2. PETER FALK WAS AN UNEXPECTED SEX SYMBOL.

Peter Falk in 'Columbo'
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Character actor Lee J. Cobb was also considered for the role, until Peter Falk phoned co-creator William Link. Falk had gotten a copy of the script from his agents at William Morris and told Link that he’d “kill to play that cop.” Link and Levinson knew the actor back from their days of working in New York, and even though he was the opposite of everything they’d originally pictured for Lt. Columbo, they had to admit that Falk had a certain likeability that translated to both men and women. Falk was described by a certain female demographic as “sexy,” and males liked him because he was an unthreatening, humble, blue-collar underdog who was smarter than the wealthy perps he encountered.

3. FALK WAS A GOVERNMENT WORKER BEFORE BECOMING AN ACTOR.

Peter Falk wasn’t too far removed from the character he played. In real life he tended to be rumpled and disheveled and was forever misplacing things (he was famous for losing his car keys and having to be driven home from the studio by someone else). He was also intelligent, having earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from Syracuse University, which led to him working for the State of Connecticut’s Budget Bureau as an efficiency expert until the acting bug bit him. He was also used to being underestimated due to his appearance; he’d lost his right eye to cancer at age three, and many of his drama teachers in college warned him of his limited chances in film due to his cockeyed stare. Indeed, after a screen test at Columbia Pictures Harry Cohn dismissed him by saying, “For the same price I can get an actor with two eyes.”

4. COLUMBO'S DOG WASN'T A WELCOME SIGHT AT FIRST.

Columbo's dog
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

When Columbo was renewed for a second season, NBC brass had a request: they wanted the lieutenant to have a sidekick. Perhaps a young rookie detective just learning the ropes. Link and Levinson were resistant to the idea, but the network was pressuring them. They conferred with Steven Bochco, who was writing the script for the season opener, “Etude in Black,” and together they hatched the idea of giving Lt. Columbo a dog as a “partner.” Falk was against the idea at first; he felt that between the raincoat, cigar, and Peugeot his character had enough gimmicks. But when he met the lethargic, drooling Basset Hound that had been plucked from a pound, Falk knew it was perfect for Columbo's dog.

The original dog passed away in between the end of the original NBC run of the series and its renewal on ABC, so a replacement was necessary. The new pup was visibly younger than the original dog, and as a result spent more time in the makeup chair to make him look older.

5. FALK'S REAL-LIFE WIFE PLAYED A ROLE IN THE SERIES.

Falk first met Shera Danese, the woman who would become his second wife, on the set of his 1976 film Mikey & Nicky. The movie was being filmed in Danese’s hometown of Philadelphia, and the aspiring actress had landed work as an extra. They were married in 1977, and she was able to pad out her resume by appearing on several episodes of Columbo. Her first few appearances were limited to small walk-on parts—secretaries, sexy assistants, etc. By the time the series was resurrected on ABC in the early 1990s, she was awarded larger roles.

She originally auditioned for the role of the titular rock star in 1991’s “Columbo and the Murder of a Rock Star,” but her husband adamantly refused, since the role included a scene of her in bed making love to a much younger man. She instead played the role of a co-conspiring attorney, and was also allowed to sing the song that was the major hit for the murdered star.

6. THE CHARACTER'S TRADEMARK RAINCOAT CAME FROM FALK'S CLOSET.

The initial wardrobe proposed for Columbo struck Peter Falk as completely wrong for the character. To get closer to what he wanted for Columbo, the actor went into his closet and found a beat-up coat he had bought years earlier when caught in a rainstorm on 57th Street. And he ordered one of the blue suits chosen for him to be dyed brown. The drab outfit would become one of the trademarks of the character for decades.

7. STEVEN SPIELBERG GOT AN EARLY BREAK ON COLUMBO.

“Murder by the Book” was the second Columbo episode filmed, but it was the first one to air after the show was picked up as a series. Filming was delayed for a month, though, when Falk refused to sign off on this “kid”—a 25-year-old named Steven Spielberg—to direct the episode. Finally he watched a few of Spielberg’s previous credits (all of them TV episodes) and was impressed by his work on the short-lived NBC series called The Psychiatrist. Once filming was underway, Falk was impressed by many of the techniques employed by the young director, such as filming a street scene with a long lens from a building across the road. “That wasn’t common 20 years ago,” Falk said. He went on to tell producers Link and Levinson that “this guy is too good for Columbo."

8. COLUMBO'S FIRST NAME WOUND UP THE SUBJECT OF A LAWSUIT.

Fred L. Worth, author of several books of trivia facts, had a sneaking feeling that other folks were using his meticulously researched facts without crediting him. He set a “copyright trap” and mentioned in one of his books that Lt. Columbo’s first name was “Philip,” although he had completely fabricated that so-called fact. Sure enough, a 1984 edition of the Trivial Pursuit board game listed the “Philip” Columbo name as an answer on one of their cards, which led to a $300 million lawsuit filed by Mr. Worth.

The board game creators admitted in court that they’d garnered their Columbo fact from Worth’s book, but the judge ultimately determined that it was not an actionable offense. By the way, years later when Columbo was available in syndicated reruns and HD TV was an option, alert viewers were able to freeze-frame a scene where the rumpled lieutenant extended his badge for identification purposes in the season one episode “Dead Weight” and determine that his first name was, in fact, “Frank.”

9. THE SERIES DIDN'T FOLLOW A STANDARD MYSTERY FORMAT.

The premise of Columbo was the “inverted mystery,” or a “HowCatchEm” instead of a “WhoDunIt.” Every episode began with the actual crime being played out in full view of the audience, meaning viewers already knew “WhodunIt.” What they wanted to know is how Lt. Columbo would slowly zero in on the perpetrator. This sort of story was particularly challenging for the series’s writers, and they sometimes found inspiration in the most unlikely places. Like the Yellow Pages, for example. One of Peter Falk’s personal favorite episodes, “Now You See Him,” had its genesis when the writers were flipping through the telephone book looking for a possible profession for a Columbo murderer (keep in mind that all of Columbo’s victims and perps were of the Beverly Hills elite variety, not your typical Starsky and Hutch-type thug).

A page listing professional magicians caught their eye, and that led to a classic episode featuring the ever-suave Jack Cassidy playing the role of the former SS Nazi officer who worked as a nightclub magician. When the Jewish nightclub owner recognized him and threatened to expose him, well, you can guess what happened. But the challenge is to guess how Lt. Columbo ultimately caught him. 

10. THERE WAS A SPINOFF THAT KIND OF WAS BUT THEN WASN'T.

The 1979 TV series entitled Mrs. Columbo was not technically related to the original Peter Falk series. In fact, Levinson and Link opposed the entire concept of the series; it was NBC honcho Fred Silverman who gave the OK to use the Columbo name and imply that Kate Mulgrew was the widowed/divorced wife (the series changed names and backstories several times during its short run) of the famed homicide detective. The “real” Mrs. Columbo was never mentioned by her first name during the original series, but actor Peter Falk possibly slipped and revealed that her name was “Rose” when he appeared at this Dean Martin Roast saluting Frank Sinatra and asked for an autograph.

12 Savory Facts About Bacon

iStock
iStock

Bacon is everywhere these days. You can find it in ice cream, coffee, cupcakes, and chewing gum. There are bacon-scented candles, bacon lip balm, and even a bacon deodorant. With bacon saturating every corner of the market, it’s worth looking at the origins of this smoky, salty food and how it became so wildly popular. In honor of National Bacon Lovers Day, here are a few facts to whet your appetite.

1. IT DATES BACK TO 1500 BCE.

The Chinese were the first to cook salted pork bellies more than 3000 years ago. This makes bacon one of the world’s oldest processed meats.

2. ROMANS CALLED IT "PETASO."

Bacon eventually migrated westward, where it became a dish worthy of modern-day foodies. The Romans made petaso, as they called it, by boiling salted pig shoulder with figs, and then seasoning the mixture with pepper sauce. Wine was, of course, a frequent accompaniment.

3. THE WORD REFERS TO THE "BACK" OF A PIG.


Getty Images

The word bacon comes from the Germanic root “-bak,” and refers to the back of the pig that supplied the meat. Bakko became the French bacco, which the English then adopted around the 12th century, naming the dish bacoun. Back then, the term referred to any pork product, but by the 14th century bacoun referred specifically to the cured meat.

4. THE FIRST BACON FACTORY OPENED IN 1770.

For generations, local farmers and butchers made bacon for their local communities. In England, where it became a dietary staple, bacon was typically "dry cured" with salt and then smoked. In the late 18th century, a businessman named John Harris opened the first bacon processing plant in the county of Wiltshire, where he developed a special brining solution for finishing the meat. The "Wiltshire Cure" method is still used today, and is a favorite of bacon lovers who prefer a sweeter, less salty taste.

5. "BRINGING HOME THE BACON" GOES BACK CENTURIES.

These days the phrase refers to making money, but its origins have nothing to do with income. In 12th century England, churches would award a "flitch," or a side, of bacon to any married man who swore before God that he and his wife had not argued for a year and a day. Men who "brought home the bacon" were seen as exemplary citizens and husbands.

6. IT HELPED MAKE EXPLOSIVES DURING WORLD WAR II.

In addition to planting victory gardens and buying war bonds, households were encouraged to donate their leftover bacon grease to the war effort. Rendered fats created glycerin, which in turn created bombs, gunpowder, and other munitions. A promotional film starring Minnie Mouse and Pluto chided housewives for throwing out more than 2 billion pounds of grease every year; "That’s enough glycerin for 10 billion rapid-fire cannon shells."

7. HARDEE’S FRISCO BURGER WAS A GAME CHANGER FOR BACON.

Bacon took a beating in the 1980s, when dieting trends took aim at saturated fats and cholesterol. By the '90s, though, Americans were ready to indulge again. Hardee’s Frisco Burger, one of the first fast-food burgers served with bacon, came out in 1992 and was a hit. It revived bacon as an ingredient, and convinced other fast-food companies to bacon-ize their burgers. Bloomberg called it "a momentous event for fast food, and bacon’s fate, in America."

8. THE AVERAGE AMERICAN CONSUMES 18 POUNDS OF BACON EACH YEAR.

Savory, salty, and appropriately retro: The past couple years have been a bonanza for bacon, with more than three quarters of restaurants now serving bacon dishes, and everything from candy canes to gumballs now flavored with bacon. Recent reports linking processed meats to increased cancer risk have put a dent in consumption, and may have a prolonged effect. But for now, America’s love affair with bacon continues.

9. THERE’S A CHURCH OF BACON.

This officially sanctioned church boasts 13,000 members under the commandment "Praise Bacon." It’s more a rallying point for atheists and skeptics than for bacon lovers, per se, and there’s no official location as of yet. But the church does perform wedding ceremonies and fundraisers, and has raised thousands of dollars for charity. All bacon praise is welcome, even if you're partial to vegetarian or turkey bacon over the traditional pork. Hallelujah!

10. THERE'S ALSO A BACON CAMP.


Getty Images

It’s like summer camp, but with less canoeing and more bacon cooking. Held every year in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Camp Bacon features speakers, cooking classes, and other bacon-related activities for chefs and enthusiasts eager to learn more about their favorite food.

11. MODERN TECHNOLOGY WANTS TO HELP YOU WAKE UP AND SMELL BACON.

An ingenious combination of toaster and alarm clock, the Wake 'n Bacon made waves a few years back with the promise of waking up to fresh-cooked bacon. Sadly, the product never made it past the prototype phase, but those intent on rising to that smoky, savory aroma were able to pick up Oscar Mayer’s special app, which came with a scent-emitting attachment.

12. THERE’S A BACON SCULPTURE OF KEVIN BACON.

It had to happen eventually. Artist Mike Lahue used seven bottles of bacon bits, lots of glue, and five coats of lacquer to create a bust of the Footloose star, which sold at auction a few years back. No word on how well the bacon bit Bacon bust has held up.

This article originally ran in 2016.

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