Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Waking the Dead: Valentine's Pet Edition

I am not one of those people who eschews the conventions of Valentine's Day just because I have no valentine of my own.  I'm not so sure that I buy into the particularly consumer-driven aspects of February 14, but I think it's nice to take at least one day to remember why you love the people around you and to tell them the same.  

Many of my friends are extreme animal lovers and consider their pets members of the family, children, and in some cases, the loves of their lives.  Where else to explore the extent of this love rather than a land set apart and dedicated to the love shared between pets and their humans?  At the Los Angeles Pet Mortuary, the bond people have with the animals in their lives is very apparent; that love seemed to be a great theme for Valentine's Day this year.  Who better to represent this Valentine's theme other than Valentino, Rudolph to be exact.

Rudolph & Kabar

Kabar was bereft at Valentino's passing and let out a
blood-chilling howl at the exact moment of Valentino's
 death.  It is said that Kabar haunts the grounds of the cemetery.

We've brought you so many celebrity graves, it seemed only fitting that we share some of the graves belonging to celebrity pets too.  At 85 years old, LA Pet Mortuary is the oldest, official pet cemetery in the Los Angeles area.  By consequence, it has a long list of Hollywood clientele.

Louise Dresser
An Indiana-born actress known for her sturdy
 frame and strong presence in silent films and early
 talkies; she even worked with Valentino in The Eagle.

Toppy & Hoppy

Chief Thundercloud and Sunny upstage
The Lone Ranger and Silver.

It is rumored that Tawny, a star in the Tarzan movies,
 might have been one of the MGM lions as well.

Tarzan (Johnny Weissmuller) wrestles Tawny

Although I have no substantiation for my claim, I saw this plaque and
determined that "Bubsie" had to be the beloved pet (cat, dog, horse even)
 of Betty Grable and Harry James.  They got married in '43, so it's possible
 one of them brought the animal to the marriage.

Mr. & Mrs. Harry James

This one wasn't recognized as the pet of a celebrity but its name linked it to Hollywood.
Given the premise of the film of the same name, the epitaph is uniquely ironic.

The Los Angeles Pet Mortuary is certainly home to many more celebrity pets including Charlie Chaplin's cat and one of Humphrey Bogart's dogs (with no map or directions, it was difficult to find any of the graves).  One notable grave that we looked for but could not find was Petey, the dog from The Little Rascals.  The attendant on duty was very helpful but explained that he was not allowed to give directions to specific graves, mentioning that Petey's was particularly difficult to locate.

We did find this marker with dates that indicate a dog who could've been
one of the dogs who played "Petey."  The odd spelling led us to believe
that this was a well-intentioned Petey lookalike - maybe a stunt-double. 
The Little Rascals with Pete the Pup

The grounds of the cemetery are sprawling, making it impossible to examine every grave in one short visit.  What I was particularly taken with were the headstones that we were able to see with photographs and portraits of the beloved family pets.

"Return to sender" - AWESOME!!! 

"Beloved little dictator"

I wonder if she saw what was coming.

Wasn't "Zebariah, My Little Lover Boy" a Janice Martin B-side?

I am glad that it said "favorite" instead of "only."

I have mentioned it before, but I am allergic, in varying degrees, to essentially every living creature on the earth.  Thusly, I was not raised around animals and my response to pets is very much like my childhood response to a dodge ball being hurtled at me in P.E. - I duck, I throw my hands up to protect my face, I cry, I panic, I go into shock - you know, the usual.  I hope this post does not seem insensitive, knowing that most people are blessed with an animal-loving gene, but I had a great time at the pet cemetery and could have spent the entire day roaming the grounds looking at the hilarious names and epitaphs; here are a few of my favorites.

I hope there is a "Cold Case" team ready to inspect unsolved pet deaths.
All I'm saying is that I am highly suspicious of a family that names their
pet "Yummy."

I'm also not sure how I feel about a pet being
named after a very serious medical condition.

No matter how old we get, "potty humor" will "always be in our thoughts" too.


A Very Special Cat

"My dear sweet Tigy with big blue eyes
So sad and yet so wise
You acted as if you lived 10,000 lives
Proud as a king, brave as a lion
Never knowing an ounce of fear
You were always there to meet us
Always there to give your love
Asking nothing in return
But how you loved people
And all the tricks you learned to please them
You brought love and laughter
Into the lives of so many
You lovable ham who loved an audience
You thought you were just one of the crowd
And never really knew you were a cat
Often we look at the seat where you lay
Not believing that forever you've gone away
Oh how we miss our sweet boy
Without you the world
Has lost some of its sunshine
God will make
A very special place for you"

Penny, Chi Chi, and Princess - the other Andrews Sisters

"Mommy's 'Baby Dog'"

At first I thought "A spider monkey pal" was a humorous description
 of a pet's monkey-like behavior.  I realized then that with a lion as a
neighbor, it is entirely possible, probable even, that this was the final
 resting place of an actual spider monkey.

I'm always a fan of naming pets after much-loved television characters.
For a short time we had fish named Lucy & Ethel.

Can't you just picture a pirate cat with a wooden leg and an eye patch?

Jiggles gave me the giggles

Faux pas for no "Faux Paw," no?
It's a forgone conclusion when you set your dog up with a name like Humpi!

I was kind of wishing that we had taken a step into Who Framed Roger
and that cartoon Droopy was buried here.

"Millionaire Droopy"

I was always under the impression that Snoopy was a boy.
As it turns out, she was "A lady who thought she was a people."

"Tooth Brushing" with Snoopy & The Peanuts Gang

Maybe my canine doppelganger???

It might be a little unconventional to celebrate the most "romantic" day of the year with images of a pet cemetery, but a wacky tacky Valentine's Day plays by its own rules!  Wherever you are, we wish you a very love-filled and Happy Valentine's Day!

Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park
5068 Old Scandia Lane
Calabasas, CA


Mr. Tiny


  1. I love this (as well as the name poopie for a future dog). Next time I am in LA, i want to check this place out!

    1. Thanks! I need to get all you TN folks at here at the same time and give you a special tour. Wouldn't that be a kick?!!! Happy Valentine's Day!!!

  2. This is really heart warming. I always wanted to turn one of my cats into a mummy but my husband flips at the idea and it would be pricey too.

    1. I'm glad you liked it, thanks! My sister's friend's father is a taxidermist and we got to tour his shop one time. He's doing more than mounting deer heads, there were plenty of pets too. When the unfortunate time comes, I think a mummified cat would be quite the conversation starter at a cocktail party! Happy Valentine's Day!!

  3. If only my dog Ginger from childhood had a proper burial. Though now I find her name quite boring when there are others such as Jiggles and Zebariah. I had to stifle my laughter at my desk as I read Snoopy's marker (shame on me!). What a coincidence since my Ginger was " a lady who thought she was a people."

    1. Growing up without pets, it never occurred to me that when a pet dies, it is the owner's responsibility to do something about it. I guess that should have gone without saying.... I know that expensive pet cemeteries aren't the only option; my sister was pet-sitting for a friend and their cat was ancient (blind, incontinent, and only had a few teeth). They said that if the cat died while they were gone, to just call animal control. Fortunately, those steps were not necessary.

  4. oh i love this post! there was a little pet cemetery near one of my old houses and i loved to visit and look at the graves.I did a post with some of my favorites here:
    I'm cracking up at snoopy! and poopie! I also got a little teary eyed that someone bought a spot for a bird. That is sweet! If i'm even in the area, I want to visit this one!

    1. I love your post! That oxidized greyhound statue was incredible. I'm going to have start going to pet cemeteries now too. It sounds awful, but they are so much fun!

  5. I still read these and find the names funny. This is a place to spend half the day!

    1. I can't wait for our next adventure day! Solvang?!?!?! HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

  6. Happy Valentine's Day Mr Tiny!!!!!! Those pet names gave me a good giggle, and now I can't stop thinking about a pirate pet with a peg-leg!!! :)

    1. HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY to you too!!! If you're ever wondering what to get me for my birthday, a hypo-allergenic, pirate dog would do nicely!!!

  7. What a great post! Sad and then fascinating at the same time. I enjoy visiting pet cemeteries but when I get home with my own pets, I get seriously depressed. Once when I was visiting one, a man was walking his Corgi there. I started talking with them and learned that the dog was about to have to be put to sleep and the man was just showing the Corgi the lay of the land. Completely freaked me out with sadness! On an upbeat note, I just love the name "General Nuisance".

    You DO sound allergic to pets. You'd probably combust if you so much as came onto the block that my house is on. I'm sure all of your clothes are clean and pet hair free though which is just a dream out of reach for me.

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    1. Hahahaha! I am crazy allergic to's a definite problem. When we were young and the parents would load us up in the mini van to visit relatives, I had to sleep in the car on more than one occasion! Our visit to LA Pet Mortuary is the closest I have ever been to that many animals all at once without any problems at all. The names are so sweet and funny and bizarre; I 'm think I should write a baby names book for pets!

  8. BEST. POST. EVER. You had me at "celebrity pet cemetery plots", but I actually got a little heartsick towards the end with all the regular civilian pets that were loved enough to get a marker for their final resting places! "Bubbe" and "Lover Boy", the bylines "not much fun without you" and "you were my favorite reason for living"...ugh! I can't handle it! Good sleuth work on the Harry James and Betty Grable pet connection. I now want to see if there's a book on vintage Hollywood stars and their pets (if there isn't, there sure as heck should be!).

    1. I think my next calling is to be a writer of self-published, niche books that nobody will read - including but not limited to "Bubsie: The Life and Times of a Cat? Dog? Canary? Horse? That Belonged to Mr. & Mrs. Harry James." It was so much fun wandering around the pet cemetery; I think the civilian graves were even better than the celebs!