Hartsdale Pet Cemetery

photo by keridiana chez 
2 photos above by keridiana chez
A few friends and I made a trip up to the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery near White Plains. The first cemetery of its kind in the US, Hartsdale, also called The Peaceable Kingdom, was established in 1896 by a New York City veterinarian. Its five acres are home to 80,000 pets (rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, and a lion cub among the vast numbers of cats and dogs) and quite a few humans as well. The rambling, hilly terrain is packed with so many tiny stories: laconic grave markers, floridly effusive epitaphs, bronze and granite bombast, the kitschy pathos of makeshift memorials, the discomfit of shared graves—owner and beloved friends. What really impressed itself upon me was how fervent and true the sentiments were. Unlike human cemeteries, where the epitaphs are often stilted and tradition-bound, laced with religious boilerplate, Hartsdale was filled with colorful outpourings of love, of yearning and grief, of disbelief and the hope that “gone” was not forever.
The Peaceable Kingdom, Edward Hicks, 1826

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