Monday, June 29, 2015

The Los Angeles Pet Cemetery

The Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park opened in 1929 on a lovely piece of property in the suburb of Calabasas.  Dogs, cats, horses, birds, ferrets and pigs are memorialized there.

The most famous grave is Kabar's, Rudoph Valentino's faithful dog. It's said the Kabar haunts the cemetery but I didn't see him when I visited.
Valentino's dog, Kabar

Many markers are sentimental.

Some have a portrait of the dog.

Others are traditional.
That's a Boston Terrier on the stone.  I'm guessing all the
markers beneath the stone are Boston Terriers, too.

A lot  are  lighthearted and kitschy. 
It's obvious that some are maintained on a regular basis, 
otherwise who would dry clean the costume on the dog?
Note the laminated photos in back featuring the dog
when she was alive wearing the same costume.

It has a more festive feel than people cemeteries, 
with lots of whirly-gigs made up of dogs happily 
making their way to the rainbow bridge.

Some markers have messages included.
This marker says:
Beaver Shen, we miss you Dr. Dog. P.S. P J is wrong.

The earliest marker is 1928.

The original building, put up in 1929 has been recently restored.

If you want to visit:
5068 Old Scandia Lane, Calabasas, CA 91302

Monday, June 15, 2015

Bone Burying Behavior

Why does your dog bury bones and toys in the backyard?

The International Wolf Center in Ely Minnesota explains:

"The reason is simple: to store and protect the bone or food item from scavengers. Not many scavengers in your neighborhood? Well, most dogs will continue to exhibit this behavior because it is an instinct that has been transferred from over 12,000 years of breeding the current domestic dog away from gray wolves."

A professional burying a treasure. 
The wolf digs the hole with her front paws, 
then pushes dirt over it with her muzzle
and tamps it down.

An amateur having just buried a treasure. 
Lolly's instinct remains but her technique is lacking.

"In an attempt to protect food that cannot be consumed immediately, wolves have adopted a behavior known as caching. To cache is to bury food in a shallow depression thus preventing avian scavengers from detecting the item. Wolves then return and unearth the item later for a snack between kills.

The process of caching is simple. A wolf tears a small fragment from a carcass and trots off to a secluded area, usually with moderate to dense tree cover, digs a depression suitable for the item, then places the item in the hole and uses their nose to cover the meat with the freshly dug dirt. The wolf then tamps down the food grave with their nose. It is easy to see when individuals have been caching as they have the telltale "brown nose" from tamping down the cache site. So the next time your dog has dirt over their nose pad you now know why."