Just outside Paris, in the suburb of Asnières-sur-Seine, you can find what is said to be the oldest pet cemetery in the world, officially called “Le Cimetière des Chiens” (The Dog Cemetery), but where since 1899 some 40-50.000 not only dogs, but also cats, horses, rabbits, a monkey, a lion, even a fish… are buried.
The place is quite beautiful, situated along the Seine River, on what once was an island. The entrance is imposing in art nouveau style.
You find some monuments and some monumental graves. Close to the entrance is a monument dedicated to the Saint Bernard dogs in general, and more particularly to “Barry”, supposed to have saved the lives of 40 people. (“Barry” himself can be found stuffed and on display at the Swiss Natural History Museum in Bern.)
There are a number of really serious-looking tombs, but some of them reflect a lot of imagination and – of course – love. You can e.g. find some toys, including worn out tennis balls. Some dogs have been heroes during wars, some are known as "actors"... On many graves you can read "To my only friend".
The most famous dog buried here is probably “Rin Tin Tin”. He was found, in bad shape, by an American soldier during WWI, who brought him to the States. Darryl Zanuck heard about the story and made “Rin Tin Tin” to a movie star during the 1920’s. Some successful films starring “Rin Tin Tin” were even said to have saved Warner Bros. from bankruptcy and he has got his star on Hollywood Boulevard (Walk of Fame). “Rin Tin Tin” obviously died in the arms of Jean Harlow, in 1932, and his remains were returned to his homeland. “Rin Tin Tin’s” sons, grandsons… later starred in other films and especially in a long lasting television series.
Recently, there was news about an expensive diamond encrusted dog collar, which had been stolen from the grave of a poodle, named “Tipsy”. The grave now looks fine again, but obviously the collar has not yet been found.
I was a bit confused when I found this tomb. (Well, I wasn’t born in 1999.)