On this Memorial Day we pay a visit to Presidio Pet Cemetery. It is the final resting place of many beloved animal companions of the military families that lived in the San Francisco Presidio.
Most of the grave markers in the site date back to the 1950s when “the Presidio was home to over 2,000 military families.” It was surrounded by a white picket fence (which still exists today) and shaded by Monterey pines (which do not still exist). The site fell into disrepair in the 1970s and continued to deteriorate, but has been preserved. Today, it sits underneath the reconstructed Doyle Drive / Presidio Parkway that leads up to the Golden Gate Bridge.
The construction on the Presidio Parkway is continuing around the site, indeed one large concrete beam sits inside the area of the cemetery. It is currently closed to visitors while the construction progresses, but it is quite visible from the nearby pathway. Indeed, it seems like it may in better shape now than it was preceding the construction, even if the vegetation is a bit overgrown in places.
Many of the markers are still clearly visible, and speak to the love and warmth these animals brought to their human companions on the base. Some are very specific, some are more generic like “A G.I. Pet. He did his time.” but are touching nonetheless. There are dogs, birds, hamsters, reptiles, and of course cats.
Thinking about the pets buried here and the bonds they had with their human companions helps one to feel empathy for both human and animal alike.
I hope the site continues to be preserved and re-opens after the highway is completed. I am sure I will be back here again.