Pet owners spend on grand send-offs, final rites

For some pet owners, arranging dignified funeral rites for their dead pets is a must, even if it means forking out hundreds of dollars.

They have engaged organisations that run pet cremation services to help them arrange a send-off for their pets, which range from dogs to hamsters to prized arowana.

Some pet owners even get Buddhist monks and pastors to perform final rites.

A check by The Sunday Times found that there are at least five service providers offering pet cremation services in Singapore.

Dr Chang Siow Foong, group director of professional and scientific services at the National Parks Board's Animal and Veterinary Service (AVS), told ST that while the AVS regulates animal-related activities in order to safeguard animal health and welfare, cremation services for pets are not required to be licensed by AVS.

However, if an AVS-licensed veterinary clinic wants to provide pet cremation services on its premises, it would have to seek approvals from AVS and other relevant agencies.

There are, however, two pet cremation service providers operating within AVS-licensed premises. One is co-located with the Mount Pleasant Veterinary Centre at 5 Mandai Road, and the other at The Animal Resort at Seletar West Farmway 5.

"AVS recognises that cremation services for pets when they have passed on should be provided in a sensitive manner, with empathy towards the grieving pet owner," said Dr Chang.

ST asked both Mount Pleasant Veterinary Centre and The Animal Resort for comment for this report, but did not receive a response by press time.

 

Mr Ilex Tan, a staff member at Rainbow Paradise Pet Cremation Services, said it charges $228 to cremate dogs under 10kg in a private, customisable ceremony, and $548 for huge dogs that weigh over 40kg.

Family members and friends are allowed to view the cremation process. Mr Tan handles approximately 10 cremations a week.

Other than dogs, Rainbow Paradise, which opened in 2018, has handled the funerals of many other kinds of pets, including hamsters, rabbits, birds and, recently, an arowana.

Owners can customise their pets' final journeys, such as by placing the animals on lush beds of flowers, with some engaging pastors and Buddhist monks to perform the last rites.

Hedge fund manager Daniel Kim organised a private ceremony at Mount Pleasant last year for his friends and family to bid farewell to his 12-year-old jindo dog named Lightning.

The 31-year-old spared no expense: Lightning was placed on a bed of white roses and a pastor was engaged to perform a Christian ceremony, while soothing music played in the background.

"It was a very sweet moment for all of us," said Mr Kim. "We had so many good memories with Lightning and we wanted to give him the grand goodbye he deserved."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 30, 2020, with the headline 'Pet owners spend on grand send-offs, final rites'. Print Edition | Subscribe