Amid the dog cruelty issues in China, there are dog owners who absolutely love their dogs. Some Chinese dog owners spend big bucks on funeral services for their dogs.
One of those dog owners is Beijing resident Peter Long. Peter had to put his dog Bela done after she contracted canine distemper. He paid extra to have her cremated alone rather than with other dogs.
The decision for Bela’s solo cremation raises the price from RMB 300 ($47) to RMB 1,300 ($205). The upgrade also came with a disturbing perk: photo evidence. The animal hospital’s crematory service sent photos of Bella’s body to Peter’s smartphone before, during, and after the cremation process.
“They gave me the pictures because they want to show me this is Bella,” Long said. “It’s not like rocks or some other dog.”
Chinese pet lovers like to spoil their cats and dogs. They spend a lot of money for their pets’ wardrobe and expensive haircuts. The most spoilt and pampered pets eat imported food, receive professional training, and go on photo shoots with professional photographers.
It goes to show how much the Chinese pet owners love their furry buddies. And when their pets eventually pass away, they do not hesitate to spend more when making funeral arrangements.
In China, pet cremations generally cost between $50 and $1,200. The price gets higher for additional perks. Cheaper packages include cremating several dogs at once – this means the ashes you get back might come from more than one animal.
A basic package usually includes cremation, an urn and maybe a small burial plot on a farm. Then, things can get over-the-top with the following optional add-ons:
- custom-made wooden coffins
There are also pet-only funeral centers that host open-casket visitations. They escort the pet’s remains to a high-end pet cemetery in a luxury car or hearse decorated with bouquets of flowers. There are times when Buddhist monks are hired to perform the interment. Uniformed pall bearers carry the casket past large framed photos of the late pet.
These beloved pets are often buried or cremated with their favorite toys and clothes. Their caskets are wreathed with flowers, incense and candles.
China‘s pet funeral industry is booming. The search for “pet funeral” in Chinese on a website called Taobao, the country’s largest online marketplace, brings in dozens of results for companies that perform cremations and funerals.
In fact, there are some companies that offer to make memorial websites or carve headstones with loving dedications. There are others that offer to compact the ashes into a “diamond” so you can “wear” your pet wherever you go.
According to pet funeral businesses, cremation is the most hygienic and environmentally-friendly option. It’s the most proper and practical too, since burial plots cost hundreds to even thousands of dollars in actual pet cemeteries.
Peter who spent much of his income on Bella’s veterinary bills, said a funeral and burial are not in the works.
“One plan is maybe I keep the urn forever,” he said. “One plan is, when I’m back in my hometown, I will spread [the ashes] on a mountain to the river.”
Peter also appreciates how much the Chinese people in Beijing love their pets compared to some parts of China.
“We are really lucky in Beijing because Beijing is the only city that loves dogs so much,” he said. “Kind of the same as humans.”