By Chuck Woodbury
I was going through some back issues of my “on the road” newspaper Out West. I published it quarterly for about 10 years beginning in 1988. I traveled the rural American West half the year in a tiny motorhome, gathering and writing stories about whatever I found interesting (often offbeat). It was pretty much a “blog” in print: The word blog had not yet been invented.
One of the earlier stories I did was about a pet cemetery in Carson City, Nevada, which at the time was the only municipally owned pet cemetery in the United States.
It’s fascinating to visit a pet cemetery. It resembles a human cemetery except the gravesites are smaller and the names on the headstone are along the lines of Fluffy, Rover — pet kinda names. A couple of unusual ones in Carson City were Propwash Hoke and Nasty Poindexter.
The director of the cemetery, Mike Conklin, said that people brought many different animals. “One man hired a hearse to bring his dead horse 450 miles from Los Angeles,” he told me. A woman, he said, drove from San Francisco to bury her small turtles — the little green ones then popular.
“Urns and caskets were available from about $55 to $200,” said Conklin, but he noted that he could order a $2,000 casket if someone wanted to go first class. He said the average funeral was between $250 and $350.
I don’t think the cemetery is still there.
Most of the pets I owned were euthanized by a veterinarian. In all my travels around the USA I don’t recall seeing more than a few pet cemeteries. I wonder if they’re harder to find these days.
Did you every bury a pet in a pet cemetery? Please leave a comment and let us know about it.