Halloween and Hyde Park

It’s October! That means it’s time for me to buy bags of Halloween candy and pick out all the Almond Joy bars so I can hide them to eat later in private.

October also means getting ready to dress up in costumes, tour haunted houses, and choose the foggiest night of the month to whistle through a graveyard.

A crush of fashionable Victorians at Hyde Park.

In reality, I’m not spooked by graveyards. In fact, there’s a graveyard in the heart of London that has always intrigued me.

Marble Arch, Hyde Park, near the pet cemetery.

It’s a graveyard that was created specifically for pets. It dates back to the 1880s, with grave markers that span three centuries.

Hyde Park Pet Cemetery, photographed early 19th Century.

Since I’m an animal lover who has all too often suffered the loss of a beloved pet, I find myself drawn to the Hyde Park cemetery. If I ever doubted that I had anything in common with the Victorians, all I have to do is look at the grave markers to feel a kinship with them and the devotion they had for their furry (or feathered) friends.

A grave marker for Zulu, at Hyde Park pet cemetery.

The cemetery has hundreds of markers, all loving tributes to Brownie, Jack, Spot and Josie.

Some epitaphs are simple and heart felt, like one for Josie that reads: “In loving gratitude for his sweet affection.”

And for Pompey, who was “loyaler than any of my husbands.”

But my favorite is a tall headstone for a dog named Prince, who served in the military: “Marine Commando of Anisor. He asked for so little and gave so much.”

There are hundreds of pet cemeteries around the world; but for me, there’s something special about this pet cemetery tucked away near a corner of Hyde Park. It’s a well-cared-for, loving tribute to generations of mankind’s beloved animal companions. And there’s nothing spooky about that.

My little Byron. R.I.P.

 

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