Grave of Checkers, Nixon's Dog

Field review by the editors.

Wantagh, New York

Died 1964

Pet Cemetery.

Checkers, the cute cocker spaniel that saved Richard Nixon's political career in 1952 -- and by extension caused Watergate and a profound period of national funk -- is buried along with 50,000 other dogs, cats, chimpanzees, etc. in Long Island's Bide-a-Wee Pet Cemetery.

Checkers touched the hearts of a nation when then-VP candidate Nixon was accused of setting up a secret slush fund. Nixon appeared on television and said the only gift he'd received from his political cronies was Checkers. His children loved that dog, Nixon said, and he wasn't going to give it back -- even if it was a crime. America wept. Nixon went on to become Vice President under Eisenhower, and you know the rest of it.

Since Nixon never lived on Long Island, and only buried Checkers there in 1964 because it was convenient, some locals look upon the dog as an unwelcome outsider. Suffolk County Historical Society President Wallace Broege has been quoted as saying "I think it does Long Island a disservice."

That doesn't stop the visitors from coming. And while patriots still plant small American flags next to the dog's granite tombstone (Plot #5), no one from the former first family has ever visited.

Note: Rumors that Checkers was to be exhumed and reburied at the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, CA, are false. However, the Library does have a topiary Checkers.

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Grave of Checkers, Nixon's Dog

Bideawee Pet Memorial Park

3300 Beltagh Ave., Wantagh, NY
Bideawee Pet Memorial Park. Exit 28 south from the Southern State Parkway to Wantagh Ave. Bear right, go to the fifth traffic light [Beltagh Ave.], make right. Opposite Wantagh High School.
Gates open M-Sa 8:30-5 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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