For a dignified final goodbye

Pet funeral

Roger was a healthy, strong and shiny black German Shepard. He was extremely doted by the whole family and was especially close to my father. Though Roger was loved and cared for his whole life, in his later years, he started losing his strength immensely. The vet would often say that his digestion system was not up to the mark and he had become particularly sensitive to weather. Frequent illness made him lose more hair than usual and the desperation in his eyes was too much to look at.”

“One night as I was sleeping, Roger came to my room panting and coughing. I thought that he just wanted to be patted. But suddenly, he fell down. His belly bloated. The noise of his falling woke me up, because that was unexpected. Howling and crying, I called my parents as I kept shaking Roger, but he was no longer there,” shares Akshay Gupta (name changed).

The sight of losing his first dog was devastating for Gupta. The idea of finding a space for burial was too stressful while he was grieving. So, they gave Roger to a crematorium.

Thanks to organisations like Pet Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Garden of Eternal Peace and Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre, some stray animals, and pets like Roger, in the city are able to get a proper burial or cremation.

However, apart from the crematorium in Rajokri and the burial ground in Chattarpur, the lack of facilities for dead animals causes problems for many pet owners and dog shelters.
Friendicoes, the 36-year-old shelter for stray and sick animals, gives dead animals to the municipal corporations.

“We don’t have sufficient space for burying dead animals so we hand them over to the municipal corporations,” Pia Sharma, adoption coordinator, Friendicoes, tells Metrolife.

Thirty-year-old Vipin
Panwar is an animal lover and has been taking care of stray dogs and cats for almost eight years now. Usually when an animal dies, he hands them over to Friendicoes or if possible, buries them in nearby parks or grounds.

“You can easily feed animals, you can get them medically treated, but the most difficult part comes when an animal dies. Cats are smaller in size and can be buried anywhere without much hassle, but burying a dog gets very difficult,” says Panwar.

Panwar owns as many as five dogs and 15 cats. In case of any deaths or sudden accidents, he says he has no other option apart from burying them near his house or a park.

“The burial ground in Chattarpur is far from where I stay in Shahpur Jat. Also, their charges depend on the size of the dog and they are usually too high for me,” he adds.
Not having a proper space for burial also makes it emotionally challenging for pet owners to bury their pets with their own hands.

For Abhishek Chadha, 25, who has had numerous pets since childhood; cremation has been a personal task. From mongoose to hamsters, snakes, cats and dogs he has taken care of them all. And in case of a death, he buries them near his house and plants a tree over them.

“I got them when they were just born. And once they die, I don’t even have a proper place to bury them. So I decided to keep them close to me, even when they are gone. I bury them near my house and sow a seed on it,” says Chadha, adding that there should at least be a proper and detailed bill regarding the proper burial and cremation of
animals.

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