By Irene Escudero
Bogota, Aug 8 (EFE).- Personalized headstones for Coqui or Pelusita. Wakes for dogs, hamsters and even chickens.
As many funeral-related services are held for pets as for people in Colombia, where people mourning the loss of their beloved animals now have a variety of ways to bid them a dignified farewell.
FUNERAL HOME FOR PETS
While Darwin and his parents and siblings consoled one another late last month, two officials buried a cardboard coffin containing Dominic at the Funeravet pet cemetery in La Calera, a municipality near Bogota.
A beloved canine companion, he had died a few days earlier at the age of just three after suffering convulsions.
“He was a good dog, and everyone deserves, whether they were good or bad, to have a memorable burial,” the teenaged Darwin told Efe.
While Dominic’s owners chose to inter him and will soon place a headstone at the burial site, most of Funeravet’s customers opt for the most affordable alternative – collective cremation.
That company was founded in 2001 to provide a service that was lacking at veterinary clinics, Funeravet veterinarian and marketing coordinator Francisco Moreno told Efe.
Deceased pets would sometimes end up in the garbage; in the case of Darwin’s father, the corpse of his first family dog during his childhood ended up being placed in a river.
“Since there was nothing like this before, you did what you saw your parents do. I didn’t like it, but we just tossed him in the river,” Edgar said.
He said the lack of a proper ceremony weighed on him afterward, and the family wanted a different send-off for Dominic.
“Now I can be at peace,” Darwin said.
In one Bogota location of Colombian funeral home Capillas de la Fe, two types of wake services are being held simultaneously.
While groups of family members enter and exit the main building to pay their final respects to grandparents, uncles or friends, the bodies of Tony and Martina lie in two coffins in a small annex.
Cesar Pachon, a young man dressed in cycling clothes, arrived first to bid farewell to Martina, who had been the family pet for 13 years until dying of cancer.
“It’s hard because you remember lots of moments with her. In the mornings, she would come in when I was living with my parents and cuddle up with me in bed,” he tenderly recalled.
Other family members arrived a bit later and shed tears upon seeing Martina through her glass coffin. “They fixed her up nicely,” Cesar’s mother said sadly.
Between wakes like Martina’s or more discreet cremation ceremonies, Capillas de la Fe provides around 1,300 funeral-related services for deceased animals per month.