Following my previous posting, 'Raining Cats and Dogs' a solution was badly needed about what to do with the bodies of deceased pet animals. The problem was so bad in 19th century Paris that the river Seine was constantly polluted with bodies swept from the city streets into her waters.
|The River Seine in modern times.|
In the 1830's veterinarian Monsieur Changeur proposed the idea of a pet cemetery. He wrote sentimentally:
'...to secure a patch of land for the animal who was a faithful companion, a consoler of pain, who often has to is credit the rescue of human life...'
His plan had practical merits:
'...to improve the sanitation of Paris where in spite of the rules and regulations, dead animals are often buried in conditions that are detrimental to human health. Let us put an end to the waters of the Seine being poisoned by dead animals thrown into it...'
French Post Impressionism and Asnieres.
Several decades later Monsieur Changeur's campaign bore fruit several and a site purchased for the pet cemetery. The plot of land was near the Siene, at Asnieres, immortalised in Georges Seurat painting 'The Bathers at Asnieres.'
|French post-impressionist painter, Georges Seurat and 'Une Baignade a Asnieres.'|
The cemetery opened in 1899...for a fee. It cost 5 francs to bury an animal in common ground and 50 francs for of a private plot for 10 years (no mention what happens at the end of the ten years!) Alternatively, for those that could afford, 100 francs would obtain an exclusive plot for one hundred years.
However, there were strict restrictions about monuments and memorials considered appropriate for animals.
|Monuments were banned from being reminiscent of human memorials.|
Strict rules aimed to keep a definate distinction between human and animal burials. It was strictly forbidden to have:
'Ceremonies and decorations that mimic human burial.'
But that didnt stop many moving epitaphs from being inscribed on the tombstones. Such as:
'The more I know people, the more I love my dog.'
'One would have thought he was human...only he was faithful.'
'Decieved by the world but never by my dog.'
To finish, on a lighter note, I rather like the english humour from this memorial by Mr Kennedy, to his dog 'Scruffy.'
'Near this place lie the remains of a the faithful terrier, Scruffy.
Sever incontinence cut short a long life at the age of 18 years,
If her bladder had been stronger she would have lasted even longer.'