From Our Friends at Hillside
January 22, 2014

We thought you might like an overview of Hillside Animal Cemetery, written by one of our long-term employees, Glenn Gaccione, Cemetery Coordinator.

People driving east and west along route 213 daily may notice a quaint beautify cemetery just off the highway. At first glance they may wonder which cemetery is it. Then, catching there eye, they see the archway and realize it is the Hillside animal Cemetery which is part of the MSPCA. Well, as one of the caretakers of Hillside let me introduce you to it.

Hillside Acre Animal Cemetery resides on 4 acres of land located off of routes 28 and route 213 at 3 Nevins road in Methuen, MA.  The MSPCA Hillside Acre Animal Cemetery provides a serene setting for pet owners to have interment and memorialize their beloved pets that have passed. Services offered include private cremations, burial services and direction to grief counseling, if needed.

The cemetery property consists of the Joe Mullen Office building, which houses the main cemetery office activities, a viewing room and soon to be “Hillside History” room which we can talk about in a later blog.  Just outside the Joe Mullen Building, as you pull into the driveway, there’s a monument dedicated to all the courageous war dogs who have served our country bravely.

Within the cemetery grounds you’ll find a small maintenance building where all the machinery and tools are kept. This building has seen better days but serves it purpose in storing all the grounds equipment.  You'll also see a number of white benches where patrons can sit and recall all the good memories of their beloved pets all in a tranquil and peaceful setting. Sitting up on the hill within the cemetery is the Dodge Mausoleum.  What’s the story behind that one? Stay tuned! There is also a Friends of Hillside sitting area, dedicated granite benches, and Saint Francis statues. 

As we walk through the cemetery, there’s always a fascination with the wide variety of markers you’ll see.  There's a range of different shapes and sizes, markers made or built by their owners and even a granite marker imported from Italy.  Along with the different markers, a vast number of different species of pet are interred here.  Exotic pets like small birds, monkeys, a horse and a very old parakeet named Polly which we’ll talk about at a later time.  One story I know you’ll want to hear about is a war dog name Corporal Derrick Dunn and the other war dogs interred at Hillside.  Of course many of the beloved pets at Hillside are cats, dogs and rabbits.

You’ll also find a small pet burial area which was set up to address the concern of dealing with children’s’ first pet lost.   

At Hillside, we want to offer as many options as possible to help our patrons through a difficult time. There are memorial granite markers that reside in the Friends of Hillside sitting area, or tree dedications with a dedication plaque placed next to the tree.

So the next time you are in the area feel free to stop in and visit the various monuments and memorials. See the different grave sites and headstone or pay tribute to the Hero’s at Hillside and stop at the War Dog Memorial. Stop into the office and sign the War Dog Memorial book or ask for a tour and we will be happy to help.