Furry funeral

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-7-7 18:28:01

Du Pengfei conducts a funeral for Snowball, a teddy bear dog, who died after being bitten by a ferocious stray dog, in Qingdao last month. Photo: CFP

Du Pengfei looks on as Snowball's owner grieves over its body. Photo: CFP

Du moves the coffin into the crematory furnace. Photo: CFP

A cremation urn at the funeral home, accompanied by a miniature piano. Photo: CFP

Du watches as Snowball is cremated. Photo: CFP

Funeral homes are no longer just for our friends and family members that have passed on. Pets can now begin their afterlife in a dignified fashion, as pet funeral homes now offer one's animal companion a personalized cremation ceremony, its own coffin and urn.

Du Pengfei, born in 1995, is an intern mortician at Haiwen Pet Funeral Home in Qingdao, Shandong Province. He joined the funeral home a month ago, after he learned from an online chat group that it was recruiting pet morticians. A dog owner himself, he soon applied, thinking that it would be a meaningful job.

In the past month, Du has directed funerals for 15 pet cats and dogs, in which grieving "pet parents" bid farewell to their furry friend who gave them loyalty and friendship.

After the funeral, the pet owners can choose to keep the cremated remains of their pets, or store the ashes in the funeral home, accompanied by miniature furniture, including sofas, tables and pianos.

On the first day of his job, Du dealt with a Samoyed which was euthanized after having been paralyzed for two months and suffering from severe ulcers. "When I washed its body, I could feel the sadness of its owner. I have a pet dog too, so it was easy for me to identify with him. What we can do as people is to accompany our pets in the last moments in their life, let them die with as little pain as possible, and treat their death with respect," he said.

According to media reports, over 4,000 pet dogs die in the city of Qingdao each year. Over 90 percent of their bodies are either dumped or buried by the owners.

"Unlike the options available for humans, there are little choices available for animals after they die. Most of them are buried randomly," a senior mortician at the funeral home surnamed Zhang said.

Since most of their carcasses are not treated with disinfectants, the buried bodies can also become a source of pollution and can cause public health issues.

Established in 2012, Haiwen was the first pet funeral home in Shandong. Nationwide, many pet funeral homes have sprung up in recent years to cater to the needs of pet lovers.

Global Times


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