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People are paying tribute to a dog who died 100 years ago by leaving sticks at his grave

The bronze statue of Rex the dog has become the scene of a heartwarming tradition for those visiting the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

People are paying tribute to a dog who died 100 years ago by leaving sticks at his grave
Cover Image Source: (L) Facebook/Greenwood Cemetery (R)Twitter/Kevin T. Morales

The Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York is the final resting place of many notable artists, musicians, Civil War generals, and politicians including the likes of Leonard Bernstein, Charles Ebbets, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. While its famous residents draw visitors who come from far and wide to pay their respects, one particular grave on the property has become quite popular in recent months. The bronze statue of Rex the dog has become the scene of a heartwarming budding tradition as people walking amid the thousands of angels and obelisks in the cemetery, stop by his grave to drop off little presents for the good boy.


According to My Modern Met, Rex — who died over a century ago and now guards his owner's plot near the corner of Sycamore and Greenbough Avenues — was the faithful companion of John E. Stow, a leading New York City fruit merchant who died in 1884. Although a note in Green-Wood's files dating to the 19th century refers to the placement of a "bronze likeness of a dog," next to Stow's grave, it is unclear whether Rex is actually buried there. "I think people like to believe that there is a dog interred there and there very well might be," Stacy Locke, Communications Manager at Green-Wood Cemetery told The Dodo. "But it's hard to say."


With the coronavirus pandemic forcing people to find activities where they can maintain proper social distance from others, the 478-acre cemetery has become a popular place for exploration for those who stay in the city. Those who visit, easily spot Rex’s grave due to its prominent location and stop by pay homage to the "good boy" by leaving a stick or two. "When it comes to Rex, he obviously stands out," said Locke. "People see him from the road — it's sort of a prominent spot, right off of the intersection of two roads here."


"It's right under a tree and there are lots of sticks around," she explained. "People will drop a stick across his little paws. Someone also left a picture of a dog there once, maybe their little pet who passed away, as to say, 'Rex, look after my little one.'" Rex isn't the only pet to receive love even years after his death. The cemetery is also home to several other beloved pets who were buried with their owners before the cemetery's board of trustees prohibited animal burials in 1879. "There's another dog sculpture that has a similar mysterious story but it's a little bit more off the beaten path," Locke said. "And that one typically has toys left on it."


Meanwhile, Rex has become quite popular online as well as many shared photos of the sticks visitors had left at his grave. "A loyal companion in life as well as death. It’s our moral obligation to be their protectors for the short time they are with us," wrote Twitter user @cielrace7. "Awwww... This made me tear up..," commented @toferj_ while @BottomKnocken added: "I really do hope all dogs go to heaven!?! R.I.P. Rex & all who have lost."

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