Giving your pet a proper send-off
NST, 9 July 2006
KUALA LUMPUR: As 17-year-old Beano was loaded into the incinerator in Cheras, sisters Cheah Hsiao Theng and Hsiao Ling felt a sense of relief.
Relief that their companion was no longer suffering and that she was in a better place..
Beano, a Spitz and bull-terrier cross, was stricken with mammary gland cancer for a year and during the last few days of her life, had refused to eat, couldnâ€™t stand and had sores on her abdomen.
“We were sad that she was gone but at least now she is not suffering anymore,” said Hsiao Teng.
Beano was cremated last Wednesday and her ashes, which were placed in an urn, now have pride of place at the Cheah residence, together with some fresh flowers and pictures of the gregarious dog.
The Cheah sisters are among a growing number of pet owners who choose cremation for their pets rather than burying them.
There are at least two companies in Malaysia offering pet cremation services for dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, hamsters, fish, tortoises and other animals.
The cost ranges from RM348 to RM1,233. The service comes with a cardboard box or wooden casket, flowers, a death certificate, a picture frame and an urn containing the ashes.
Veterinarian Dr Lai Chong Yoon Ching said as recently as three years ago, owners who wanted to cremate their pets had to send the bodies to Singapore.
Pets Memorial Services owner James Kho said with higher spending power and a more modern outlook, Malaysians were willing to spend on their pets. This also meant giving them a decent send-off.
“Today, pets are regarded as part of the family. Iâ€™ve seen owners crying as if one of their family members had died,” he said.
When he gets a call about the death of a pet, he or a worker go and pick up the body. Pets are dressed in their favorite costume or covered with a blanket before being placed in the casket strewn with flowers.
A spokesperson for Pets Heaven Memorial Services said owners could place their petsâ€™ favorite belongings in the casket.
“Owners are allowed to follow the hearse to the crematorium. However, they can only collect the ashes, which will be stored in an urn, the next day,” she said
Pet Memorial Services has gained some momentum recently as more and more pet owners are sending their pets for cremation after their beloved pet parted them for the rainbows bridge. Nevertheless, the adoption rate are still low generally because the charges is quite high and many still choose to bury their pet themselves. As for pet lovers, it is quite a relieve that such services is now available in Malaysia for those who really need it, despite the high cost.