You can honor your late pet at this secret tree in Central Park right now

A long-standing New York tradition has managed to retain an aura of mystery throughout the years, despite intense news coverage every holiday season: there’s a pet memorial tree in Central Park that people visit yearly to pay their respects to their late furry pals.

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Found by the park’s Ramble woodland landscape, the tree is filled with handmade dedications to dogs, cats, rabbits and more. City dwellers travel to the semi-secret location to hang laminated photos and notes, tie ribbons and mementos to the branches, objects that function as decorative ornaments while honoring the various animals.

Despite the fact that, according to Untapped Cities, the tree has been a memorial site since at least 2010, nobody really knows who manages the entire operation. 

Word on the street is that “mysterious caretakers” remove the various ornaments each year and then return them to the branches before the next holiday season. Some visitors have confirmed the re-appearance of their various notes throughout the years!

Central Park pet tree
Photograph: Rossilynne Skena Culgan

“Our dogs love the park and it’s a big part of their lives, having the tree is a big comfort to the community,” an Upper East Side resident said to West Side Rag about the destination, joining a chorus of pet owners that, throughout the years, have been singing the praises of the memorial as a comforting tradition and a beautiful way to honor their late dogs and cats.

Speaking of animal-related news: just last week, New York finally banned pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits. Rescue agencies will be able to use the stores to adopt out pets instead!

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