PetsPets enjoy a unique relationship with their human companions. Spoiled and pampered, sometimes the relationship becomes one that defies understanding … except to the animal and person(s) involved.


Surely a Great Dog, in the fading seconds of mortal consciousness, ponders worldly deeds. Did I save the Master’s life — or just hump his leg?- Unknown

-“They will also serve who stand and wait.” Or in this case lay and wait…and wait…and wait. Grey Friars Bobby, a Skye Terrier, followed his master to the grave, beside Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, Scotland and there laid for the next 14 years, being fed by those living nearby, his license paid by the Provost Marshall. On his death in 1872, a bronze statute was erected to his memory, and he was buried within the churchyard.

-It was Checkers last move from the White House to anonymity in a pet graveyard in Wantagh, New York, 1964. The dog who saved Richard Nixon’s career in 1952 (and we’re supposed to thank him?) was buried in the Long Island cemetery for the sake of convenience. Nobody from the former First Family has ever visited.

-The collie who inspired Albert Payson Terhune’s children’s books died in 1918 and was buried on the author’s estate, in his favorite resting spot, one describe by Terhune himself in his books. The gravesite is at the bottom of a slope, on the edge of Pompton Lake, New Jersey, where water and bog often obscure the small marker. Terhune’s other dogs are buried further up.


-Chief, a bay gelding who entered military service in Nebraska, in 1940, was the last cavalry mount in the United States. All horses under 16 years of age were retired in 1950, but Chief and his tribe, were turned out to pasture. When he died in 1968, he was buried standing up, with a full color guard, and a military band at Fort Riley.

-Alexander the Great’s steed, Bucephalus was ahead of the crowd as a mount.  The large unmanageable horse was given to Alexander, as a gift. After he realized that the reason it could not be ridden was his fear of his own shadow, Alexander turned his head into the sun and rode him into battle, until the horse was killed under him at the Hydaspis River, India, in 326B.C. Most surviving statues of Alexander show him mounted on Bucephalus, whose name (as evidenced by paintings and mosaics of the period) was owed to his large head.

-Blue grass just wasn’t his country. Famed racehorse Man O’War never won the Triple Crown, because it was said his owner would not race in Kentucky.  In 1947, the prolific stud fell into a decline after his groom Will Harbut passed away, and he died less than a month after. Embalmed, and placed in a casket lined with his racing colors, his funeral was attended by 2,000 turf devotees, who watched him buried where he never ran … in Lexington, Kentucky

-The equine Elvis has left the pasture.  “Comanche” the horse, was the only living thing the army recovered from the Battle of Little Big Horn, June 25, 1876.  He was said to be Custer’s own mount (he wasn’t) and the battle’s only survivor (nope, not true.). But it made him a favorite on public tours until his death c.1890 at Fort Riley, after which he was shipped to the museum in Lawrence, Kansas. And there he waits for the call to charge … because that’s what the soldiers did. They had him stuffed, and still haven’t paid his bill.

-“Traveller”, the handsome gray stallion that Robert E. Lee is most pictured on, was not his only warhorse. It seems most of his mounts were ill fated. Lee acquired “Richmond” a bay stallion in 1861, and lost him in battle in 1862. A brown horse, referred to as “The Roan,” was bought early in the war, but went blind in 1862. “Lucy Long,” a mare, got pregnant then was retired after a pasture accident to her legs, dying at 33 years of age, c.1891. “Ajax” was a sorrel horse, apparently too large to be ridden comfortably. He too survived Lee, but died in the mid 1860s after running into an iron gate fixture. “Traveller” died at Washington College, one year after Lee, in 1871. Confederate curse, or was Fate just horsing around?


-The shill who worked for peanuts. Jumbo, billed as the world’s largest elephant by P.T. Barnum, was struck by a train and killed at St.Thomas, Ontario in 1885. Not one to lose an opportunity to milk public sympathy, Barnum had Jumbo’s hide mounted, and the elephant was put on display at Tufts University, in Massachusetts, where he was a symbol of good luck for generations of students. In 1975, a fire destroyed the now flammable Jumbo. But not to despair! Tufts administrator Phylis Byrne, crawled into the wreckage and scraped Jumbo’s ashes into … a peanut butter jar.


-You can’t keep a good cat down! Or can you? Film studio MGM was heard to roar at the competition, courtesy of Leo the Lion, who died in 1936 at the home of animal trainer Volney Phifer in Gillette, New Jersey. His grave marked by a small granite stone, with a pine tree planted nearby to hold down the great cat’s spirit.

-NASA was just monkeying around with “Ham”, the Chimp, when they blasted him off Cape Canaveral in 1961. The first free creature in space retired to the National Zoo in Washington, then in the interests of geriatric romance, to one in North Carolina with a lady friend. He died there in 1983 at the age of 27. John Glenn got a seat in the Senate for orbiting the earth. Ham got an apple. What’s wrong with this picture?

-Nobody ever told William T. Hornaday to get stuffed. Touted as America’s first taxidermist, in 1886 he mounted a group of six bison, including a large bull.  While on exhibit at the Smithstonian, the Treasury Dept.’s spin doctors latched onto the big boy for their new nickel. After 70 years of public viewing, they shuffled off the buffalo to another museum. Official versions attribute artist James Fraser’s model to a local zoo inhabitant. But that could just be a lot of bull.

-A badly singed cub named “Hotfoot,” was rescued from a blaze in New Mexico’s Lincoln National Forest in 1950. He was re-christened Smokey the Bear, and went on to represent the campaign to educate campers against the dangers of forest fires. The popular attraction died in 1976, and was buried in the Capitan, N.M. forest, with a tree to mark the spot. His successor, didn’t meet with the same public affection. So when Smokey II died, they “fired” him…literally. His remains were cremated.