London's Cemetery For Heroic Animals

London's Cemetery For Heroic Animals
A man in military uniform with a dog by his side
Punch, one of many Dickin medal winners buried in the cemetery. Image: PDSA

In Ilford, east London, lies a cemetery buried with many heroic souls... none of them human.

The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) was established in 1917 by the social reformer Maria Dickin, to provide aid to the pets of those who couldn't afford to pay for their medical care.

10 years later, after an elderly woman asked one of the vets to bury her dead pet, the cemetery was founded, and now contains 3,000 animals, from rats to racehorses.

A number of these animals showed incredible bravery during their lifetime, particularly in the field of conflict; from terrorist-thwarting Punch the dog, to Mary of Exeter, a pigeon who shuttled messages back and forth during the second world war.

The cemetery is open to visitors, and doesn't cost anything to visit. Check out the PDSA website for more details.

There's also another incredible pet cemetery in Hyde Park, although you can only visit this one on special tours.

Last Updated 13 November 2023

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