Dead doggie with the diamond collar … (Update… )

The following story made me smile. I hope in this dark time we are living in presently – thousands being killed in Syria for example – this will bring a smile to your face too. In 1899 a cemetery opened north-west of Paris in the commune named Asnières-sur-Seine. Nothing extraordinary about a new burial place […]

Paris's cemetery for pets ...

The following story made me smile. I hope in this dark time we are living in presently – thousands being killed in Syria for example – this will bring a smile to your face too.

In 1899 a cemetery opened north-west of Paris in the commune named Asnières-sur-Seine. Nothing extraordinary about a new burial place you may well say, but this cemetery was for the bodies of pets who have set off for the beyond – dogs, cats, monkeys, hamsters, rabbits, mice, birds, fish and even ponies and horses – but was called the Cimetière des Chien. The Cemetery of Dogs. Its creation was due to a 1898 law that prohibited pet owners to chuck out the bodies of their defunct pets with the domestic rubbish and obliged them to bury the bodies hygienically at last 100m from the nearest homestead.

If I tell you that a burial plot in a cemetery for humans cost from €10,000 ($13,160 / £8,300) and that the least expensive tomb stone costs approx €2,000 ($2,630 / £1,700) you will appreciate the sorrow of those who came and are still coming to bury their departed four-legged friends in this cemetery which is on an island – l’ile des Ravageurs on the River Seine.

The grave of a much-loved doggie

Today 18,000 much-loved and much-missed family pets lie buried in the cemetery. One of the departed is the canine Hollywood star, Rin Tin Tin. An American First World War soldier had rescued Rin Tin Tin from starvation and tear gas and when he was shipped back to the States with his regiment, he took the dog along. At the end of Rin Tin Tin’s life in Los Angeles in 1932, it was decided that his body should be returned to the land of his birth to be buried in the Cimetière des Chiens in Asnières-sur-Seine. He was 13 at the time of his death and according to legend he died in the arms of Jean Harlow. (Many men would have said: lucky dog!)

Rin Tin Tin's grave

The story I want to tell you now which I hope will make you smile, is that of late a rumor has been circling through the commune of Asnières-sur-Seine that a dog was recently buried in the cemetery and that the dog was buried still wearing its collar. The collar, according to the rumor, was one of diamonds.

The lure of a collar made of diamonds was too great for someone who dug up the dog’s grave to get to the little coffin. The cemetery has been closed for a few days so it is not known when the thief struck, but it was the cemetery’s supervisor who came across the opened grave and coffin yesterday (Sunday) morning. He summoned the police who are now investigating the theft. As I write this, the police are still to speak to the little dead dog’s owner. No doubt the first question they are going to ask her or him will be: Did you really bury your dog with his diamond collar?

There was a similar case in the 1970s when thieves broke into a grave in Paris’s Père Lachaise Cemetery with diamonds in mind, but of course then it was the grave of a human.

It was the grave of the French actress Martine Carol. At the time of her death in February 1967 gossip magazines had reported that her husband (he was her fourth) had buried her jewels with her and that she was wrapped in the white fox fur coat she’d been photographed in often. The thieves had indeed set off with the white fox fur coat and the jewels they had found in her coffin, but her husband told the police that all the jewels were fake. So was the coat. The actress had fallen on hard times and had some time previously sold the real jewels which she had then replaced with fakes. The coat was apparently never real.

The grave of a much-missed kitty

If you plan a trip to Paris – or you live here – and you wish to visit the Cemetery for Dogs, know that it is closed on Mondays. In the months of summer it is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and between March 16 and October 15 from 10 a.m. to 4.30 pm. It is also closed on Public Holidays. It is not free: It costs €3.50 ($4.60 / £3) for an adult to go in and half that for a child under 12 and it’s free for the under-12s.
To get there you take the Paris Metro (underground railroad) Line 13 to Gabriel Péri/Asnieres-Gennevilliers. It will take about 25/30 minutes. At Gabriel Péri you go to Rue des Bas and walk towards the river (Seine). A little way down the street you turn into Avenue Gabriel Péri and at the very next corner you turn into Boulevard Voltaire. You will then see the cemetery in the distance. It’s a pleasant walk on a warm and sunny day.

The address is Number 4 Pont de Clichy, Asnières-sur-Seine.

(I will be going there again when the spring or summer is here, so if you plan to go, check with me, and you could come with me.)

Indeed, the doggie, Tipsy, a black poodle, was buried with his diamond collar worth €9,000 ($12,000 / £7,500) still around his neck.

Tipsy’s owner, the wife of a wealthy American industrialists (police did not name the couple) was on vacation in Switzerland when the robbery took place.

Police are now not only looking for someone who violated a tomb, but also for a thief.

Marilyn Z. Tomlins

One Response to “Dead doggie with the diamond collar … (Update… )”

  1. 1
    lynn mccain Says:

    so interesting… I wished I cud be there… and visit all this myself… you show us les coins qui ne sont pas tellement conu… n est-ce pas

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