History


Hartsdale Pet Cemetery was founded in 1896 to address the growing need for a secure and dignified resting place for the pets of New York City.

The idea of a burial ground for animals patterned after those catering to people was first proposed by Emily Berthet, an accomplished equestrienne and emancipated “New Woman.” To realize her dream, she partnered with Dr. Samuel Johnson, Manhattan’s preeminent veterinary surgeon and proprietor of the first state-of-the art hospital for animals in the city. Emily’s estate of five hillside acres in the village of Hartsdale, just twenty miles north of the city by train, presented the ideal location—and Dr. Johnson, with his brilliant business acumen and clientele of devout pet owners, was the perfect individual to steward the revolutionary endeavor.

Today Hartsdale is the oldest continuously operated pet cemetery in the world and the final resting place for over 80,000 animals, including not only dogs and cats but horses, birds, primates, myriad smaller pets, and even a lion who lived at the Plaza Hotel. Many of our plot-holders have been equally distinguished, including Wall Street financiers, millionaire merchants and brew masters, socialites, entertainers, sports figures and champions of social justice, all of them coming to the “Peaceable Kingdom” to make final arrangements for their beloved animals.

Among our many finely crafted monuments you will find the largest above-ground mausoleum ever commissioned for pets, as well as America’s first publicly-funded memorial for the dogs of war, which was designed by the famous monumental architect Robert Caterson and features the sculptural work of Malvina Hoffman.

More recently, Hartsdale became the catalyst for passage of the first state legislation in the country to officially permit the interment of human cremated remains in pet cemeteries. And in 2013, the cemetery was added to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Places, making it the first and only animal burial ground to be recognized as a place of profound cultural significance. Additionally, it is the first pet cemetery in New York to receive accreditation from the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories, which cites the impeccable business and gravesite care practices first implemented by Dr. Johnson as the gold standard for a pet aftercare industry that today counts more than 800 animal cemeteries worldwide.

Click here to purchase The Peaceable Kingdom in Hartsdale. All proceeds will be earmarked for preservation and beautification of our historic grounds.