Friday, September 16, 2016

Halloween 2016: Let's Visit The Los Angeles Pet Cemetery For Real

In an attempt to find a fun theme for the TTDILA crews Halloween party I though of tying a screening of Pet Cemetery to visiting or possibly watching Pet Cemetery at the Los Angeles Pet Cemetery. With it closing down every night at 5pm, which in LA is when the sun is still out, it ended the discussion. The other fact that the cemetery is gated at night had nothing to do with it. Perhaps there were to many robberies of of Charlie Chaplin's pet horse.

Los Angeles Pet Cemetery
5068 Old Scandia Ln, Calabasas, CA 91372
Open Mon-Sun: 8:00 - 5:00

Getting to the Los Angeles Pet Cemetery isn't that hard, though you would think it might be more downtown it's all the way in Calabasas. It's almost unnoticeable by the streets, behind an office building, it's hard to tell it's a little trip from the outdoor mall, The Commons of Calabasas. 

Once you enter you'll find a small parking area and the offices. From the small lot you can see where the tombs and name plates are being made or at least stored in the back, behind the office.

Then there's fields of Fluffies. Grounds of "good boys." And a range of rovers. The dead are here. The dead animals. The beloved pets of owners who didn't bury them in a shoe box out back. This cemetery or how it likes to go by today, as a memorial park and crematorium, is where you can send your darling doggie if they pass with the same sort of grace as you would a person.
When I visited there was only a few of the staff on hand. Someone riding a lawnmower to tend the grounds, a few fellas preparing an area for some new holes, no visitors.

There wasn't a sense of real sadness, no, more a sense of oddity as I was standing in the middle of a pet cemetery and I was headed to the only real draw, the mausoleum and crematorium up top. Yes, they have a working crematorium up top next to a mausoleum of names that will make you laugh.

Walking through the gardens you can't stop and stare at the names that were given to pets. No one could face  seeing so many silly names and not laugh. Or you might stop to see what animal is buried. Not everything is cat or a dog. Birds and other animals inhabit this world. All can be placed in small boxes and put in the ground.

I passed a patch of horses toward the front. They have there resting places more spaced out...because there as big as horses I would assume.

Other animals are mixed all over. There's no sort of cat or dog side. In death they're no longer enemies. All animals go back into the Earth.

*All dogs go to heaven

Why  pictures are used for some graves, it adds to the factor of how silly it is. If I were with friends and said the names out loud I would have never stopped laughing. You can't really speak with grand tone and sorrow for a Mr. Puffy.

"Mr. Puffy knew me better than any of you, he was a real friend!"

If you remember or have been to a human graveyard recently another strange connection comes to mind, the pet cemetery seems to use the same sort of headstones. I've seen them before in graveyards for humans. Why they added Jewish stars for some pets made it all the more strange.

Like my writing it was hard to approach the mausoleum at first as you can get lost looking at the vast garden of dead animals. Which was very colorful when I went. Lawn ornaments were cast all over. I'm unsure if the owners really paid their respects that often or the staff just leaves out wind powered dog and cats riding planes ornaments.

Atop the cemetery stands the mausoleum, though it does look like a church, the building from 1929 makes the park seem something more you have in your mind of a Tim Burton'esque cemetery.

I passed buy it trying to see the crematorium, but the less the better to see. I though for a moment, no, they wouldn't have the mausoleum open. I went to the door and the knob turned. I was now in an honest to goodness pet mausoleum. With silly names everywhere it appears just like it would for humans, though the stain-glass would probably be something other than animals.

Walking through was like partially being in a museum exhibit and seeing pets buried, way way back made me think, 'People we're really like us all the back then. They miss their pets when they die.'
The LA Pet Cemetery might be a nice venue to visit at night, but good luck ever getting in when it's dark. It'll never be the vision you have from horror movies, much to clean and serene. Sure, there's tacky dead dog memorial sofas(?) and random oddities you can spend some time looking for. In the end it's just a place to bury our bones and say, "He was a good boy."

If you want to know the prices for burying a beloved pet look no further than the LA Pet Cemetery website's services section. Where coffins and urn are fairly priced.