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For the Love of Pets

Josee Manon

Oct 31, 2022

The Real Pet Cemetery

When you look back in time, historically Humans have always shown their appreciation for pets. For example, many moons ago, Egyptians were known to worship their cats. These felines were a symbol of the Goddess Bastet herself, the Goddess of protection, pleasure and the bringer of good health.

Today, we still hold our pets on the highest pedistal. We surround ourselves with animals, whether it be TikTok videos, Instagram, memes, etc. Very few choose to argue that animals are just the best part of our day. The French are no strangers to the love one shares for a pet. In fact, France is actually one of the most dog friendly places. You can bring your dog to the restaurant, public transporation, beaches and many more places, as long as your pet behaves and follows the laws and rules applied to certain locations.

Who would have known?

Knowing this, it should be no surprise that in France they have one of the most beautiful and serene cemeteries dedicated to domestic animals; "Le Cimetières des chiens et autres animaux domestiques” which translates to "the Cemetary for dogs and other domestic animals."

This masterpiece is located in Asnières-sur-Seine, France and was created in 1899. The first thing you notice as you cross the Seines is the jaw dropping stone entrance that was created by noted architect Eugène Petit in “Art nouveau” style. This cemetery was once a dog only cemetery. However, as the years went on, they have opened their doors for other type of animals. It officially has been divided into four separate sections: one for dogs, one for cats, one for birds and the final quarter is for “miscellaneous” pets where horses, hens and even Kiki the monkey now rest in peace.

Written on Kiki’s tomb is a heart wrenching notation from her owner: "Sleep my dear. You were the joy of my life.”

Who else lies there you may ask? There's the creepily named Drac, the dog of the exiled Princess of Romania; and memorials to WWI trench dogs and horses fallen in service of their country.

There is a grand tomb stone that is located right at the entrance way that is very hard to miss. This one is for Barry, a WWI trench dog. Barry’s extravagant monument is not good enough for this pooch.

He dragged 40 injured people away from the battlefield. Unfortunately, when Barry went back to save the 41st person he did not make it. Researching Barry’s story, it’s hard to pin-point what exactly happened to him. Some people have said that Barry died rescuing people after an avalanche, some say that he was shot in combat in WWI.

Either way the remains of this beautiful boy are not buried there. He is taxidermized and displayed in the Bern Natural History Museum.

Another popular pooch buried here is no other than Hollywood famous Rin Tin Tin (September 1918 – August 10, 1932). This German Shepherd was rescued from WWI battlefield and was taken in by an American Soldier, Lee Duncan, who trained and helped him shoot into stardom. He was featured in 27 silent films.

Everybody loved Rin Tin Tin. So much so that German Shepherds were in popular demand. Everybody wanted a Rin Tin Tin of their own.

The current care givers of the cemetery also help with the local strays in the community.

Instead of mausoleums, many of the tombs are stone dog houses. There is a house at the back of the cemetery where they take care of stray cats.

When you go visit this historical site, which is highly recommended to do so if you are in the area, a small entrance fee of 3.5 Euros is paid. Then you are free to wander the tombs.

In conclusion, people today still treat their beloved animals as a family member (sometimes even more than family members, let’s be real). We want nothing but to immortalize the memory of our friends that, one day, inevitably will cross over that rainbow bridge. If this is something you would like to do for your pet they are still accepting new guests to the cemetery. The price does vary depending on the size of the animal. You can even choose to rent the plot for a certain amount of time.

Is this something you would be open to?

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