A pet cemetery, in our view, is nothing like a cemetery for humans. A gravestone for a human suggests a story, to be sure, but it isn’t necessarily an indication that affection was held for the departed. Speaking bluntly, guilt, obligation, and meeting expectations may factor into why a tombstone is erected for a person who may not have been particularly well liked when among the living.
A pet cemetery is something else entirely. There is no law, no societal norm that compels an owner to place a marker over the remains of a beloved pet. As we see it, a pet cemetery is a place of grief – but love. There are very special pet cemeteries among us: Coon dog cemetery, Edinburgh Castle’s Special Garden, Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, the Cimetière des Chiens et Autres Animaux Domestiques, and the Doberman Pinscher War Dogs’ grave in Guam, to name a few.
Another pet cemetery we came across in our readings is hidden in plain sight in London’s iconic Hyde Park. The park was the favorite romping ground of a little Maltese named, “Cherry” (described as “an accomplished dog of the world),” and when “Cherry” passed away from old age in 1881, his owners, Mr and Mrs J. Lewis Barned, asked park gatekeeper, Mr. Winbridge, if they might bury him there. His little stone read, ” ‘Poor Cherry. Died April 28. 1881.”
The next dog to be interred there was “Prince,” a Yorkshire Terrier owned by the Duke of Cambridge. Over time, burying dogs at the park became ” a thing” among Victorian ladies and gentlemen looking for a resting place for their cherished pets. Some 300 animal companions were laid to rest between 1881 and 1915 in the northeastern side of the park near Victoria Lodge.
The cemetery closed in 1903, and is now known as the “secret pet cemetery.” The grounds are managed by the Royal Parks, and while it’s now only visible through fences, a special visit can be arranged by contacting the Royal Parks. Casual visitors can catch a glimpse if they walk west along Bayswater Road, passing Victoria Lodge, and peer through the iron railings.