The Michigan War Dog Memorial is a burial ground that honors the animals who not only were faithful companions to their owners, but served their country as well.

The cemetery originated in 1930 as the Happy Hunting Grounds Pet Cemetery, and is currently the home of some famous pets.

BLIZZARD, a sled dog that belonged to Richard Byrd Jr., who accompanied him on his expedition to the Antarctic.

A PARROT owned by Admiral George Dewey, was the mascot of the Navy’s flagship during the Spanish-American War.

SGT. SPARKS, a Doberman Pinscher messenger dog that made it through battles on four different islands during World War II…he was the first animal to receive an official military burial. After the war, the cemetery was improved, including a large granite monument. Sparks was alive during the monument’s dedication in 1946, but was poisoned and died the following year. He was buried at the base of the monument.

Over the years, the grounds were ignored and became overgrown with weeds and trees, hiding most of the headstones. Local townspeople banded together and gave the grounds an overhaul and even added the Vietnam K9 Memorial Wall, commemorating 4,234 dogs who served in Vietnam. These poor dogs gave their lives for their masters, and even sadder, they were left behind when troops withdrew. The soldiers who owned these dogs were horrified and saddened by these orders, but they didn’t have a choice.

Many more police and military dogs have been buried and honored here, whether they died in action or passed away after they were retired. Admission is free to the Michigan War Dog Memorial, and I strongly suggest you add this to your list of Michigan places to visit.

It’s located in South Lyon, at the corner of Milford and 11 Mile roads.

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