Spend Halloween at the first pet cemetery
New York Post, October 28, 2007, by Julia Szabo
ANY Tim Burton fan knows there’s more to Halloween than candy and costumes. In search of the holiday’s deeper meaning, I recently paid a long-overdue visit to New York landmark: Hartsdale Canine Cemetery (petcem.com). It’s the country’s oldest pet cemetery, founded in 1896 when a vet named Dr. Samuel Johnson generously offered his apple orchard to serve as a burial plot for a bereaved friend’s dog.
Hartsdale has since evolved into the final resting-place for nearly 70,000 animals. Some were anonymous, but others, like Mariah Carey’s dog, Clarence, knew fame. Others became symbols of national pride, namely the dogs that fought bravely alongside our soldiers. These courageous canines are honored with a monument that occupies pride of place at Hartsdale. You can’t miss the War Dog Memorial as you walk up the steps; it’s breathtaking. While touring these peaceful grounds, you’ll be moved by the simple, sincere ways people have found to express strong feelings for their beloved pets. I was most impressed by the monuments marking plots shared by dogs and their people.
While touring these peaceful grounds, you’ll be moved by the simple, sincere ways people have found to express strong feelings for their beloved pets. I was most impressed by the monuments marking plots shared by dogs and their people.
During her lifetime, Sandra Rindner was an influential force in New York’s canine community.Her nonprofit organization, Miss Rumples’ Orphanage, rescued and found homes for many miniature dogs who had fallen on hard times. When Rindner died last year, she chose to be interred at Hartsdale, inches away from the plot marking the seven dogs who had predeceased her. The inscription on the dogs’ grave reads, in part, “The orphans — always safe & loved.” It’s hard to imagine life without a beloved pet; harder still to cope when the inevitable separation comes. For me, this corner of Hartsdale is profoundly reassuring.
Consider paying your respects by bringing flowers and staking them to the ground (plastic vessels are provided). Some visitors bring pumpkins in honor of the holiday; I brought orange gerbera daisies. Happy Halloween. firstname.lastname@example.org
What kind of records does the facility keep?
Hartsdale records are maintained on a network of eight computers. All burials and cremations are entered on a daily basis. All burial plots indicate the owner’s name and address, the pet’s name, type of care (perpetual or annual) type of flower care (perpetual or annual), plot size, monument information, etc. With respect to cremations all individual cremations include the cremation number, owner’s name and address, pet’s name, attending veterinarian or clinic, date of cremation, date pet’s remains returned, etc. In addition the cemetery maintains copies of burial right certificates, cremation certificates and pet records.
How can I be sure that I am getting my own pet's remains back?
As indicated above the pet holder can always make arrangements to be at Hartsdale for the cremation. However if the owner cannot be present they can be assured that the staff at Hartsdale takes great care in assuring that the pet owner gets the correct ashes back. They accomplish this by verifying/checking the paperwork that is generated from the specific description, case number if applicable, owners name and pets name. This is done at a minimum of three times and the cremation itself is then witnessed by two of our staff.
Can I witness the commencement of the cremation process?
Yes. Hartsdale has what is termed a witnessed cremation. What this entails is that the pet holder makes an appointment to be at Hartsdale at a specific time and date. Upon arriving, for their appointment the pet is placed into a temporary casket and the pet holder is able to spend time with the pet in our viewing room. When the pet owner is ready they may then follow the pet to the crematory and witness the pet going into the unit. Then when the cremation process is complete, normally between 1½ to 3 hours depending on the size of the pet, the pet holder leaves with the cremains.