What It’s Like To Accidentally End Up Running A Pet Cemetery

Life took an unexpected turn for one Los Angeles woman.

pet cemetery
A variety of decorations, including photos and flowers adorn grave stones at the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park and Crematory, in Calabasas, Aug. 31, 2013. (Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LA Times via Getty Images

Shera Danese-Falk runs the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park, the country’s second-largest pet cemetery and its most glamorous. It is the resting place of all manner of celebrity pet and show animal, including silent-film legend Rudolph Valentino’s beloved Doberman Pinscher, Kabar, and one of the MGM lions, laid to rest alongside its best friend, a cat.

Danese-Falk is from Hollywood and is a retired actress and widow of Peter Falk, best known for playing the title role in the TV series Columbo.  The two were married for 33 years, according to Atlas Obscura.

So how did she end up running a pet cemetery? Two decades ago, her dentist told her about it, and she ended up buying enough plots to bury 22 dogs. She’s since buried 13, has two others that are cremated and ready to be interred and has seven currently living at home. Twenty-two exactly. She went on to join the board, and then the park needed a manager, and the board appointed her at a meeting. Running the cemetery is a big enterprise, but Atlas Obscura writes there is something “terribly earnest, even moving about the whole operation.”

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