Haven For Pets
Just north of Palm Springs on the side of a flat stretch of road is a dusty lot that you might pass right by if not for the "Pet Cemetery" sign out front. Or if you're me, you come here because you've convinced your friend Jim to pull over at the coordinates on your Google Map labeled with the note "pet cemetery, Liberace."
When we arrived at the cemetery, we were greeted by the caretaker/owner and he was nice enough to take us on an impromptu tour of the small burial ground. He inherited the cemetery from his grandfather, and was struggling to maintain the grounds after a water shortage caused by a dispute with a neighbor. They were slowly trying to rehab the desert landscape, and about half of the ground was covered in grass while the other half was cracked and dry.
Haven for Pets (alternatively known as Pet Haven) has operated as a family-owned pet cemetery in Desert Hot Springs for nearly 60 years. They claim to be Southern California's first green burial ground—caskets and burial shrouds must be biodegrable and embalming fluids and vaults are prohibited. The caretaker explained that he also makes all of the caskets by hand and has fielded some strange requests from bereaed pet owners—one local pastor requested that his bunny be buried with his face turned toward Jerusalem.
Due to its proximity to posh Palm Springs, Haven for Pets has some notable residents, including six of Liberace's dogs (with the epitaph "Love, Lee"). President Gerald Ford's dog Liberty—a golden retriever—lived at the White House during the Ford administration and is interred here, alongside her daughter, Misty. The cemetery is also the final resting place for approximately 1,000 other animals including cats, dogs, birds, monkeys, rabbits, pigs and at least one baby seal.
Haven for Pets
66270 Dillon Road,
Desert Hot Springs, California
(approximate address, look for the Pet Cemetery sign)