Barking up the right tree

The dog memorial in Lynn Woods sits just off the trail.


LYNN — There’s a tree in Lynn Woods, along the shore of the reservoir, where more than 30 dog collars and tags hang like necklaces, a memorial to lost, loving companions.

Dan Small, the Lynn Woods ranger, said the memorial existed before he took the job in the early 2000s. He doesn’t know how or when it started.

“It just sort of happened on its own,” he said.

The tribute is on the blue trail along Walden Pond. Among the sentiments stuck to the tree trunk: “Best hiking buddy ever. Rest in peace sweet angel Jakk,” “Bruski, awesome dog and my best friend,” “We miss you and now you can play all you want, RIP.”

One of the collars in the collection belonged to Erna Wiley’s dog, Lacey. Wiley added it eight years ago when Lacey died.

These days, Wiley walks in the woods regularly with her dog, Coco, a rescue from Puerto Rico. She fondly remembers her friend Lacey and their time spent in nature. She hasn’t noticed recent additions to the tree, which she said is probably a good thing.

Wiley and Coco were just a few of the folks and doggies walking the trails Thursday morning.

“It’s doggy Disney World,” said Dale Orlando, who routinely walks with her dog, Shadow, through these woods. She remembers nearly all the dogs whose collars appear on the tree. Most dog-walkers tread the trails daily, allowing pet owners to get to know each other and their furry friends, she said.

There is a Facebook group “Our Lynn Woods Dog Family Includes …” where people share news of their pets, including their passings, Orlando said.

Tags on the tree date back to 2004.

Small said the memorial remains untouched by park management and it has no intention of removing it.

“There would be no reason to take anything from the memorial down,” he said. “These things become landmarks for some people.”

Matt Demirs can be reached at

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