“The Rainbow Bridge” is a sentimental reflection on the loss of a pet and the hope of reunification after death. For decades, it has circulated without attribution among animal lovers. In this blog post, Paul Koudounaris uncovers the identity of the person who wrote “The Rainbow Bridge.” Grab a hanky and read:
Around 1901, Dr. David E. Buckingham, a veterinarian, established a pet cemetery in a wooded area of Washington, D.C. east of Mt. Olivet Cemetery. The land is now part of the U.S. National Arboretum.
In an earlier post about Dr. Buckingham, I mentioned looking for this pet cemetery in 2020, without success. On February 23, 2021, I searched again, accompanied by an architectural historian and an archaeologist who had additional information about where the cemetery might be. This time, we had better luck. I found the site of the pet cemetery, but alas there is nothing left but two old gate posts.
Dr. Buckingham picked a lovely spot for his pet cemetery. It’s on the side of a hill overlooking (in the distance) Kingman Lake and the northern section of Kingman Island. Farther out, you can see the Anacostia River.
Perhaps there are still dogs and cats buried there, but there were no visible grave markers. Any further investigation of the site would probably require the approval of the Federal government, something I’m not inclined to pursue. It’s probably better to let it return to nature. Still, I’m glad I got to see it, and its beautiful vantage point.
While studying the burial registers for Aspin Hill Memorial Park, I noticed an entry with the notation “removed from Dr. Buckingham’s cemetery.” This was written in the space usually reserved for the name of the veterinarian who brought the animal to the cemetery. Who was Dr. Buckingham, and where was his cemetery? Continue reading Dr. Buckingham’s Pet Cemeteries→