Pet funeral homes help grieving owners gain closure

By Global Time Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-31 20:38:01

Toys sit around the tomb of a dog buried in a pet cemetery in Beijing on Thursday. Photo: Li Hao


A stray cat sits on a dog's tomb in a pet cemetery. Photo: Li Hao


Zhang Youwang, a pet cemetery employee, looks at one of his paintings. Zhang sometimes paints the photographs of animals left on their tombs by their owners. Photo: Li Hao

This year, Tomb-Sweeping Festival is for the dogs. And cats.

As China celebrates the Qingming Festival on Monday, some animal lovers will prove just how much their dead pets were part of the family by honoring them as they would their deceased ancestors.

Pet funeral homes and cemeteries have popped up in Beijing and Shanghai, offering mortuary services to China's growing number of pet owners.

The market is also growing in second-tier cities such as Hangzhou, where pet plots can go for 16,800 yuan ($2,585).

Hong Yu, who in 2003 opened the city's first pet funeral home, explained he only cremated two pets in the first year. His company, Shengji Canine Services, now conducts one every day, and sometimes of beloved animals that have long been buried.

"I had an elderly man come in who had buried his pet dog in his community, but felt it didn't give him closure," explained Hong. "He then dug it up and brought it to me."

The market is not only expanding, but services are becoming more sophisticated.

"We invite a Buddhist monk to release the pet's soul and have a psychologist to help the grieving owners," said the owner of Hangzhou's other pet funeral home, surnamed Gu.

Photo: Li Hao/GT


Photo: Li Hao/GT


Photo: Li Hao/GT


Photo: Li Hao/GT


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