Grave of Lad, a Dog
Wayne, New Jersey
America's first dog celebrity is buried on an old estate named Sunnybank -- now a small park -- on the western shore of Pompton Lake.
Sunnybank was the estate of Albert Payson Terhune, a man of the Leisure Class. When he wasn't busy being rich, he raised purebred collies and wrote books. It was this fortunate combination of professions that made Lad famous.
Terhune wrote dozens of novels about his dogs, beginning with, "Lad, A Dog," about his first collie. This proved so popular that other books quickly followed, such as, "The Further Adventures of Lad," and, "Lad of Sunnybank." A generation of children, many who are now dead themselves, loved Lad. The permanence of print kept Lad as a pop culture touchstone well into the 1960s, when his name was parodied by the lumbering sheepdog "Laddadog" in the sitcom, "Please Don't Eat The Daisies."
Lad's small, dark marble slab is flush with the ground, off to the left at the bottom of what once was Sunnybank's main driveway. It reads:
Thoroughbred In Body and Soul
Why a damp, ignoble spot for a hero dog? Fans of Terhune tell us that it was Lad's favorite resting place; the author describes it in his books. Less-famous Terhune dogs are up on the hillside, where the drainage and view are better.