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Dog Funeral: 1921

Dog Funeral: 1921

October 7, 1921. "Dog funeral." Aspen Hill Cemetery, final resting place for one Boots Snook, "dear old pal" of Mrs. Selma Snook of Washington. Today's funeral is for the recently departed Buster. Harris & Ewing glass negative. View full size.


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A little more Snook

Here's some more information and more pictures of Mrs Snook's dog funerals and Aspin Hill

Old Aspen Hill Employee

I worked after school and summers for the Aspen Hill Pet Cemetery when I was in high school. It was very well kept then, and a interesting and attractive place to visit. Although I moved away from the area many years ago I have periodically returned. It is sad to see how the majority of the grounds have become overgrown and poorly maintained. The people who owned and operated it then are both buried in the cemetery along with several other humans. Several police dogs who died in the line of duty are buried there, and were put to rest with full honors and gun salutes. The "HOOVER" monument marks pets of one time FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. There are dozens of cats buried at the "TIMMONS" monument. There is a section for birds. Several horses are burried there. Normally we hand dug the graves. For the horses the adjacent human cemetery did the digging with power equipment. Because of the location there has long been a chance/risk of the land being re-purposed for business. I you want to see the place I wouldn't wait too long.

More on Aspen Hill Pet Cemetery

I keep a fairly detailed and reasonably "up to the minute" pages on the Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery.

Right now, not much is happening with it, though the County has condemned almost the entire property, and unless the Humane Society -- which is incredibly strapped for cash -- can bring it up to code by March, the County may just seize the property, which is most excellently located for use by the Developers who so vastly fund elections in this County.

It's sad, it's the last little slice of pre-urban Maryland in this part of the County.

More on Aspen Hill, in general, may be found at


The Snook plot

I live just down the road from the Aspen Hill pet cemetery, and I visited it today. I found the Snook plot. It's still there, although it was quite overgrown.
What I'm assuming to be Buster's headstone, the one to the right of Boots, has since toppled onto its face and has grown over with weeds.

The current state of the plot. You can make out the supports for the corners of the plot. The third grave from the right is Boots.



Also in the Snook plot are:

Trixie Snook
Born July 5 1913
Died July 12, 1922
Finest Friends I ever had sleeping side by side, I love and miss you all
--Mrs. S. Snook"

Snowball Snook
Born April 18 1908
Died July 8, 1922
Dear beloved pet.
True, Faithful unto death
Loved her dearly.

Not a good year for the Snook Family.

Aspin Hill

This is one of the oldest pet cemeteries in the nation. I did volunteer clean-up work there in the summer of 2002. There are still plots available, but some of the older areas are overgrown. It's near the intersection of Connecticut and Georgia avenues.

Ask Not

what your dog can do for you, ask what you can do for your dog.

Touch a nerve?

Wow, look at all the comments from people defending their right to spend their money how they want. It's your money, do with it as you wish.

Dogs are wonderful animals, but as much as they love you they are entirely dependent on you and can do nothing to support you in your old age.

I hope the person comparing a dog to a 13 year old child coming home drunk never ever has to take care of a child. If you have a child behaving in that fashion, it is your fault.

Sleeps with the fishes

For my fish, I always say a few respectful words before giving them the big flush. Besides, this method of disposal does use water, their natural element. We used to name them too, but when you have 90 neon Tetras, the attrition rate is just too great to keep up!

No Glue Factory

An old farmer down here, a distant relative, buried all of his horses and mules and put up markers for some of them. He kept this up through the 50's or early 60's. That's a lot of digging.

We're not that fancy

But our departed pets are all buried on our property, with pretty stones for markers. Our life is blessedly child-free and our pets are family and treated as such during and after their lives.

Not kids, but friends

Pets are loving, loyal, and would die for you. They deserve to be given a decent rest at the end of their lives. Or would you rather they were just thrown in the garbage?

My parents held funerals for our two turtles and one goldfish that passed on when we were very small. The little creatures were buried in the yard, in small jewelry boxes.

I don't spend much on my cat and when she goes, she will have a simple, good sendoff. I hope that's a long time ahead.

There is a pet cemetery very like this one near me, and I'm amazed at how long some of the animals lived. They obviously brought a lot of happiness to their humans.


I cherish the time with, and have never regretted the money spent on my furry friends. I could not afford a place like the pet cemetery in Columbia, Tennessee, but there's a tiny fenced-in graveyard with a little wood marker for each of my lost friends. It overlooks the Piney River here in Tennessee. I think they must like it.

Boy in the middle

"Why wasn't I born a dog?"

No Fooling

I thought that maybe it was April 1 when I read the article about Aspen Hill Cemetery and Mr. J. C. Crist!

That aside, I hope that the cemetery plot, the headstones and the funeral rites helped Ms. Snook deal with the loss of what MUST have been beloved pets. Could the money involved have been spent on hungry children, homeless pets, animal medical research, or a host of other worthy causes? Yes, but the choice was hers, and anyone who doesn't like it can deal with it by increasing their own contributions to worthy causes of their choice.

Boots Hill

All dogs go to heaven.

Four-legged kids

Dogs and cats don't get drunk when they're 13 and come home pregnant and strung out on meth (OK, animals with roaming privileges still come home pregnant, but at least you can simply give away their unwanted offspring without any red tape). And they don't forget about or ignore you when you've grown old and useless.

Aspin Hill lives on

The cemetery is still there. I used to belong to St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church, right next door, when PETA owned it. Here's an article on all the tumult of its recent past.


Why is it that dogs, cats, birds, even hamsters get solemn farewells with respectful burials but FISH just get flushed down the toilet?

Still taking pets

The Aspin Hill Pet Cemetery is still taking burials, though it has been buffeted about a bit recently from some changes of management. Note the spelling, BTW: for whatever reason, the official spelling is "Aspin", though "Aspen" seems to get used as often. It is now being run by the Montgomery County Humane Society. For a while it was run by PETA, which explains some of the curious memorials listed in the Find-a-grave listings.

It's my money

All of my pets have been buried at my parents' farm, joining their pets and some that belonged to my siblings.

I don't regret the money spent at the vet, or for their food, or toys.

Marginal Memorials

In 1921 the marginal tax rate for US taxpayers in the bottom bracket (taxable incomes up to $4,000) was 4%. The marginal rate for the top bracket (taxable incomes above $1 million) was 73%. By contrast, for tax year 2008 the lowest marginal rate is 10% for taxpayers with $16,050 taxable income, and the top rate is 35% for taxable incomes over $357,700.

If Mrs. Snook was lucky enough to be a top-bracket type of gal with a million dollar income, she could take her $270,000 after-tax income and build a grand monument to ol' Boots. Today, any Leona Helmsley-ish dog lover would have $650,000 left after taxes on the same million dollars to take care of her pets' needs.

Goober Pea

The date of the photograph

The date of the photograph was October but the date on the tombstone says Boots died in April. Looks like a new grave so I was wondering what old Boots was doing between April and October.

[Try reading the caption again. This is not Boots' funeral. - Dave]

Sour grapes

"Useless," "squandered," "regretting" -- I doubt these folks had ANY regrets about giving their pet a lavish burial. Would you rather spending be regulated?

Hope you have a nice view from your porch, cranky old man.


Discretionary income....if they earned it, they can spend it anyway THEY please. Maybe they should throw it down the entitlement rat hole.

Mrs. Snook, to Boots II

"If you don't stop chewing on the davenport you're next."

And is that Aretha Franklin's hat?

So glad to see this!

Truly man's best friends, treated with the honor they deserve. While I can't afford such elaborate stones, all my pets are buried with dignity. Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn has quite a few dog graves and a horse one as well!

Born a Dog, Lived a Gentleman

I imagine many women can attest to the the opposite occurrence as well:
"Born a Gentleman, Lived a Dog."

50 Washington Lovers of Animal Pay Tribute
At Last Resting Place of Their Departed Pets

In a wonderland Valhalla for pooches, "World Day for Animals" was celebrated in quiet fashion by a group of 50 Washington dog lovers yesterday.

A mellow October sunlight flooded Aspen Hill Cemetery, where lie 2,700 "prominent" dogs, at peace with the world at last, far from the threat of onrushing automobiles, and presumably gnawing meaty bones as they growl in endless sleep.
Owners of deceased pets haven't gotten around to holding religious services yet at burials, although Mrs. Selma Snook, of this city, has had formal burials with children acting as pallbearers for her five dogs, one of which, Buster, has this inscription on his monument: "Born a dog, lived a gentleman."

Washington Post, Oct 5, 1936

Discretionary income

It's nice to see that people squandered money on useless items for their pets 90 years ago too.

I wonder if they were regretting spending money on a granite memorial for a dog eight years later in 1929 when "Black Thursday" rolled around.

This is an interesting parallel between our consumption based society of the late 20th century with its childless power couples and their 4 legged "kids" and the boom-boom 1920's.

Saying Goodbye

Looks like Mrs. Snook is comforting a relative or pal of the late Boots. Funny how dogs and their owners so often resemble each other. Mrs. Snook and the principal mourner have the same hair, although Mrs. Snook has tamed hers with a net.

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