Saturday, October 17, 2009

Return to the Paris Dog Cemetery . . .

This past Spring I took a trip back to the Paris Dog Cemetery, actually just outside Paris, in the northern suburb of Asnières. I'd been there probably about 15 years ago, but wanted to go see it again, and with a better camera than the first time. (See previous posts on this place by clicking the Paris Dog Cemetery label in the sidebar) It is a touching place for animal lovers (like me). People have really poured all kinds of energy and love into creating monuments for their dear departed companions, often with affectionate twists of humor, sometimes even a little kitsch. Many of the graves have photographs on them to memorialize the sorely missed friend.
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When I saw this terrier sitting in some sort of satchel, I couldn't help wondering if the subject of the photo had perhaps lived a scandalous life of debauchery, deflowering a few too many virgin pooches along his travels, digging up too many flower beds, chewing up a few too many pairs of slippers, and was thus being remembered in this image as going to hell in a handbasket ? And then I said no, I must be mistaken, for he looks far too adorable and distinguished to have lived a degenerate life . . .
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I will try to translate part of the following sign which is posted near the entrance to the Pet Cemetery (exclamation points mine) :
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III : Animals :
Inside the cemetery, dogs must be kept on a short leash. Their masters must beware that the dogs commit no degrading act or pollution. (!)
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The "Free Cats" may circulate freely in the cemetery. The Association for the Defense of the Dog Cemetery assumes the responsibility for the behavior of the cats. (! as if anyone could be responsible for cats' behavior !) Their nourishment is controlled by Interior Regulations elaborated for this purpose and annexed to the present rules.
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It is prohibited to remove birds from their nests. ( ! presumably directed at the "Free Cats ? !)
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All infractions against the current regulations will be duly noted with a summons sent to the competent court. (signed) The Deputy Mayor (end of translation)
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Watch out for those Free Cats (don't you just love that ? sounds sort of like the French Resistance !), and remember, no pollution from your dog on it's leash . . .
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Tipsy's grave marker was colorful with a crescent moon, ladybugs, cupids, and hearts; hopefully Tipsy wasn't a dog dipsomaniac . . .
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And it is not just a canine cemetery, many felines are also interred there . . .
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I apologize for my sometimes irreverent mind, but for this little fellow, I was thinking, gosh, did the sculpteur try to capture the expression on his face just before he got hit by the car that killed him ?
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A tiny Father Christmas decorated one animal's grave. Looked almost as though he'd been lynched by some hateful mob . . . but who would want to lynch Santa Claus for Pete's sake ? No, more like he'd been lashed to the cross to prevent him from wandering off on a cold winter night . . .
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35 comments:

English Rider said...

An irresistible post of touching and quirky pictures. Some of the most beautiful and heart-felt writings and quotes I have ever come across are by people saying farewell to much loved animals.
It is also reassuring that a French bureaucrat somewhere took the time to try to regulate the removal of birds from their nests. What was his title and job description? What did the birds do without him when he was on summer vacation? Is there a bureau of enforcement? How big is their budget? Elected, appointed or inherited?

Caroline said...

I enjoyed these photos and your commentary! Especially fond of the little dog with the startled look!!

TechnoBabe said...

Wow, Tipsy's home must have been in a palace.

K'line Bloom said...

Owen,
Je ne suis pas trop fan de cimetières, mais je dois avouer que celui-ci est un mélange intéressant !
Quant au règlement intérieur, c'est une vraie petite perle : je suis bien heureuse que nos amis les chats puissent vivre tranquillement (sans jeu de mots !).
Amitiés,
K'line

Martin H. said...

Owen

I always knew I loved our dog, but I could never have anticipated the level of my grief when she died.

These are great pictures of the way some people commemorate their dear departed animals.

Steve said...

That's not a satchel - it's a doggie palanquin made to be carried on the back of four Doberman's... I think the dog in question was spoilt rotten!

Deborah said...

Despite being a cemetery fan and having lived in the Paris region for 7 years, I had never heard of this place. How delightful - and I enjoyed your whimsy!

the watercats said...

wow!.. how much have I missed!?.. lol.. there are some awesome pictures floating round the last few posts and I especially love the pet cemetery. That santa is a tad scary.. peculiar...

Jill said...

HOHOHO...very funny :D

Karen said...

Hahahahahah, I am laughing so hard. I love the lynched Santa and the "free cats". I'd probably want to take one or two home with me.
I'd love to see this place but doubt I'll have time this trip... oh goody. Another excuse to come back to Paris.

babbler said...

Owen,
Did you see the tomb of Mr. Slug's dear departed Great Grampy Slug? It would not surprise me to see another stony looking mollusk in this collection of fine photos!
Your blog is pure delight for the tentacles! Thanks again for the post on Oct. 11th! Happy sliding!
Mrs. and Mr. Slug

cieldequimper said...

Ouh la la...

Jo said...

Love the Scotty dog in the basket. I had a little Scotty who looked just like that. Her name was Maggie, and she was always doing something wicked. I loved her dearly. She was a member of the family -- probably the alpha dog, actually.

Nadege said...

Owen while visiting other blogs, I found this one about news from Haiti http://haitirectoverso.blogspot.com/

jeff said...

What d'you need for speed ?...
Hi Owen !
Je viens te voir sur ton blog !
Alors, j'ai envie de te poser une question...
Ton père Noël représente ici le symbole de...
réponse A): Coca-Cola
réponse B): un personnage qui se pend
réponse C): un nain de jardin désabusé
réponse D): un père Noël qui est égaré
réponse E): un père Noël

Plus que quelques secondes... tic tic tic tic tic tic tic tic....BEEEEPPPP ! Temps écoulé....;-)

Allez Dear Owen... Au fait ? Crois-tu encore au Père Noël ?... Moi oui ! ! ! Comme quoi tu vois... on peut imaginer ce qu'on veut... ! ! !

Amitiés...
Bonne fin de week-end Owen !
Ciao amigo...;-)

magnoliaamber said...

Whimsical:)

Owen, stuff that you see are just so unique, things I wouldn't find in a big city where I live now....

Thanks for sharing...

karine said...

bonjour owen
j'ai habité quelques temps à côté d'asnieres à bois-colombes puis la garenne-colombes et suis passée maintes fois juste à côté de ce cimetière !
je l'ai toujours imaginé très triste mais je ne sais pas pourquoi !
finalement il est émouvant. J'imagine que pour certaines personnes ces animaux sont aussi importants que leur propre famille !
j'ai toujours eu des animaux mais je n'ai jamais pensé à aller jusqu'à les enterrer dans un cimetière.
je t'embrasse owen
belle fin de journée :-)

Nevine said...

I've never visited an animal cemetery before, never even seen one remotely, so these photos are certainly educational and interesting for me. I'm particularly intrigued by the surprised-looking santa with the tiny noose around his neck! Thanks for sharing...

Nevine

@eloh said...

Great photos. I wonder what the story on the Santa. Maybe that dog loved chewing them up?

Hevia said...

It's a very strange place!! It's very interesting to visit.

jeff said...

En fait, vous êtes combien sur le coup ?...
Ciao amigo
Bon début de semaine et que de bonnes choses pour toi !
Amitiés...;-)

Harry 'aka' Mojo said...

BEAUTIFUL !!!
Greetings from San Diego

Cheers!
Mojo

Roxana said...

oh, these last two pictures... i don't know, there is something so impossibly sad about them.
the colours seem to just linger a bit longer, before turning to black as well... and in this lingering they are most touching.

Owen said...

English Rider... there was more emotion displayed in this place than in some human cemeteries I've been in... And as much as I'd like to think that the sentence about not bothering the birds had some positive influence, I fear that when the "free cats" start climbing the trees that the bird are on their own, fending for themselves, fleeing if they can...

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Hi Caroline, glad you enjoyed, that wide eyed little dog really grabbed me, he'd certainly seen something shocking, whatever it might have been...

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TechnoB, yeah, I had the impression that some of the people responsible for creating certain monuments in here were not lacking in financial resources...

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Chère K'line, bien content de ton passage, en effet, les cimetières ne sont pas forcement pour tout le monde, errr, je veux dire les vivants, mais j'ai toujours aimé la paix qui y regne. Et oui, le reglement est un bijou, je me fendais les côtes en le lisant. Imaginer promulger une loi visant les chats, pour qu'ils ne dénichent plus les oiseaux ! Trop fort le député maire... bonne semaine à toi...

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Hi Martin, it is a real shame our animals don't tend to live as long as we do. Thanks very much, glad you enjoyed !

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Hey Steve, well, whether carried by dobermans or by human porters, I agree, I looks like he had it easy...

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Deborah, wow, so you lived in Paris for 7 years ?! The dog cemetery is not high on the must see list of most tourists, I found it pretty much by chance the first time, but imho it is worth a visit.

Owen said...

Dear Waterkits, blogs wait for no man, I guess is the expression... not always easy to keep up all over the blogosphere, and still have a life ! Hope you little one is mending up well now...

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Hi Jill... if you got even a little chuckle out of some of this, then I'm smiling...
:-D

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Dear Karen, between you and Jill laughing, it's HO HO HO and HA HA HA in stereo. And I would think carefully about taking any of the "Free Cats" home with you, I think a few paragraphs down there was a serious warning about catital (as opposed to capital) punishment for anyone caught trying to kidnap the "Free Cats", and "catnapping" is discouraged also in the cemetery...
;-D

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Dear Mrs Slug, I searched high and low but could not find the grampy slug's grave, although it was evident from certain silver trails across some stones that some of his descendents were still present in those environs. And may your tentacles stay forever delighted !

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Chère Ciel... hmmm, je vois que tu es impressionnée... !

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Hi Jo, glad this brought back memories of your scotty, this one in the basket just kills me, he or she looks so proud there. Best wishes to all you Vancouverites...

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Nadege, thanks so much for the reference to the blog about Haiti, I was just reading some the material there... very dense... alot of information there, will have to keep an eye on that.

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Ah Jeff, je vois que le pauvre Père Noel pendu là t'a plu, et c'est sûr, je n'ai pas pu répondre avant le bzzzzzzzr... tant pis, cela m'apprendra de reflechir avant d'agir.

Au fait, as-tu vu Loulou ces jours-ci ? Elle ne fait pas beaucoup de bruit...

Alors, j'espère que tu n'as pas été inondé de chenilles après ta série de photos verdure... comme pour des limaces, si tu laisse des bols de tisane par terre, les chenilles viendront se jeter dedans...

Bonne semaine à toi...
<;-D

Owen said...

Magnolia Amber, a little whimsy per day keeps the witch doctor away... or something like that... thank you very much !

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Bonjour Karine, alors, si je comprends bien tu as habité par là, mais n'es jamais rentrée dedans? De mon petit point de vue, je pense que cet endroit vaut le détour largement. Je trouve fabuleux les souvenirs d'amour profond qui sont exprimés là, sur de très nombreuses pierres. Bon, peut-être un jour quand tu viens à Paris tu pourrais faire une petite visite. J'ai affiché d'autres photos de ce cimetière, toujours avec l'étiquette Paris Dog Cemetery dans la liste des étiquettes en bas à droit de la page. Une des images que je trouve la plus touchante c'est les balles de tennis enfermées dans un globe sur une tombe... comme les égyptiens, de quoi vivre dans la vie au délà... merci Karine et bonne semaine...

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Hi Nevine, it's amazing what one can find when one sets out to simply look around a little, with an open mind and open eyes, and hopefully a camera to allow perhaps more robust remembering than most human minds are capable of, except for those rare people endowed with a "photographic memory"...

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Hi @eloh, I think you may have the answer there, perhaps the Santa was a favorite chew toy for the dog resting there...

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Hevia, indeed, indeed, a fascinating place; hope you had a good time here...

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Jeff, combien sur le coup ? hmmm que veut-il dire par là ???? Nous sommes pas très nombreux sur le coup... le coup de coup... un coup d'état ???? un coup de tonnère ????
un coup de magie ???? Une coupe de tise ????

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Hey Harry, you made it ! Always happy to see you drop down the chimney and leave your "griffe"...

Hope that hurricane out there in the Pacific doesn't head your way...

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Dear Roxana, The Paris Dog Cemetery is an emotion provoking place, I was nearly overwhelmed with the weight of all the visible feeling poured out in all these memorials to lost love, lost friendship, lost companions. One message carved on a stone particulary struck me as pertinent there, to the effect of : Deceived many times by men, never by my dog.

May you leave whatever sadness seen here wrapped up in a gray paper and left by the exit gate, and go forth with happiness only in your heart, and a fine week to look forward to...

The Sagittarian said...

That startled dog had me laughing too! I think it's amazing that there are places like this, I'm not aware of anything like that over here (apart from our own departed animals who are scattered under various roses in the garden...)

Catherine said...

That terrier in the handbag?? obviously his owners were big fans of The Importance of being Earnest celebrating his foundling origins!!
Great shot!! Greetings from Mexico

Owen said...

Hey Saj, you made it back from Seattle I see ! There must be somewhere in NZ where pets have been buried publicly, no ? I'm surprised at how many people have told me that somewhere not far from them there is a Pet Cemetery. Even Steven King did a book of that title (well, spelled slightly differently)... Hope you are well, and ready for a tipple Tuesday, given that last week was skipped, with good and solemn reason...

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Hi Catherine, always happy to get greetings from Mexico... are there any Pet Cemeteries around Mexico City ? Hope you are well...

louciao said...

Ai, chihuahua, Owen!

Alyson (New England Living) said...

That is such a cool cemetery! I don't think we have anything like that around here.

Jilly said...

I've been away far too long, Owen, and look what great things I've missed. Apologies - it's been a long summer....

This is just fascinating - you found some great graves, if you can call dog graves great, but am sure you know what I mean.

Linked this posting to Riviera Dogs today.

Owen said...

Jilly, oh boy, I am so slow getting back to this... been TOO busy of late, gotta catch up... but then, can one ever "catch up" ? Life just keeps surfing by, the trick is to stay on top of the waves I guess, on the surfboard... and not get tumbled under with the sharks and sharp coral... Many thanks for the nod mentioned here, I'll be by to visit... WOOOOFFF !
:-) /\/\/\ (those back and forth slashes are me wagging my tail !

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Hi Alyson, the Paris Pet cemetery is a wonderful place... somewhere up in New England there must be one somewhere, as Stephen King must have based his book on a real place, no ? Anyway, great to hear from you here... take care...

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Louciao, "ay chihuahua", or "ay chimichonga" ?!?

Gwen Buchanan said...

..Hilarious description of the little dog sculpture... hahahaha

Ditto for Santa!!!

Virginia said...

owen,
I've loved reading all of these posts about this dear sweet cemetery. We must go together on my next visit, if you're willing to do it one more time! I'd love to see it with you my friend.
V