May 25, 2012
BOSTON, May TBD, 2012 – As Americans gear up for Memorial Day celebrations, the MSPCA-Nevins Farm has announced that its Heroes at Hillside Program will offer free cremation or burial services to any canine who has served his or her country during times of war, with the dogs laid to rest in a dedicated area adjacent to a granite memorial at the MSPCA’s Hillside Acre Animal Cemetery in Methuen, Mass. The free offer is available both to dogs killed in service as well as those that were adopted after their military service ended.
Hillside Acres Animal Cemetery has for more than 80 years provided a tranquil final resting place for more than 18,000 animal companions. The landscaped 4-acre property sits amid mature trees and gentle rolling hills, and has brought solace to hundreds of people who regularly visit their departed pets interred on the property. The special area set aside for the burial of war dogs is thirty feet wide and one hundred feet long, and has enough space for up to one hundred burials, with future expansion possible. War dogs buried as part of the program will be honored with a beautiful headstone, inscribed with their name, provided free by Colizzi Memorials in Methuen.
Honoring Service, Honoring Animals
The MSPCA-Nevins Farm is actively working with veterans groups across the country to ensure that anyone currently caring for a war dog knows about the service, and how to apply. There are currently 8 war dogs buried at Hillside—some of whom have served in World War II, including “Corporal Derek,” who served in the U.S. Marine Corp and was wounded twice in the Battle for Guadalcanal. Corporal Derek was buried at Hillside in 1952.
It is only recently that war dogs—who in many cases gave their lives to protect their human servicemen and women—have been afforded the honor and recognition to which the MSPCA feels they are entitled. A national act signed by former President Bill Clinton in 2000 made it possible for military dogs to be adopted by their handlers. Prior to the signing of this act, dogs, who are still listed as “equipment” by the military, were regularly left behind in the theaters of war after the U.S. military departed.
Said Dave Gordon, Properties Manager of Hillside Acre Animal Cemetery, MSPCA-Nevins Farm about the program, “It’s with tremendous gratitude and a heavy heart that we offer free cremation or burial services to these courageous dogs. These animals are just as deserving of our compassion and respect as the thousands of men and women who continue to risk life and limb in service to our country.”
More information about the Heroes at Hillside program can be found by clicking here.
The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions from individuals who care about animals. Please visit www.mspca.org.