As the nation prepares to celebrate Memorial Day, the MSPCA has announced that its Heroes at Hillside Program will offer free private burial or cremation services for any dogs who have served their country during wartime at its tranquil four-acre Hillside Acres Animal Cemetery in Methuen, MA. The offer is being made both to dogs killed in action and those who died after they were repatriated back to the U.S. to live out their retirement.
Eight war dogs are currently interred at Hillside Acres in a special section, marked by a solemn granite memorial that is set aside to honor canines whose lives were dedicated to military service. The MSPCA has offered final repose in its Hillside Acres cemetery to combat-serving dogs since before World War I. One of the dogs who laid to rest there is “Corporal Derek,” a World War II veteran who was twice wounded in the Battle for Guadalcanal. He lived for several years after the war and was eventually buried at Hillside in 1952.
There are currently more than 700 military working dog teams worldwide, most of which are deployed in Afghanistan. They are trained through the Air Force K9 Dog Handler program at Lackland Air Force Base.
The free burial service for military working dogs includes a custom headstone, inscribed with the dog’s name, installed at no cost by Colizzi Memorials. The typical cost of a burial of this kind would be approximately $750. The MSPCA and Colizzi Memorials are honored to be able to work together to provide this lasting tribute to dogs who offered unwavering devotion to their handlers and to their country.
Hillside Acres is the final resting place for more than 18,000 animal companions. The area designated for war dogs has ample space to accommodate up to 100 burials, with future expansion possible.