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Providing a dignified send-off for pets

Morticians providing personalized care for deceased animals bring comfort to families grieving the loss of their beloved ones

By LI MENGHAN | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-04-04 10:35
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A woman bids farewell to her 13-year-old golden retriever who was suffering from a tumor and was administered euthanasia in Taiwan in August.CHINA DAILY

Two years ago when He Haifeng had just opened a pet funeral home, he received an order to handle the remains of a black dog, deeply moving the fledgling pet mortician.

It was a sultry summer in Wuhan, Hubei province, and He made a trip to where the labrador had died. There he was confronted with a sizable, sturdy animal sprawled out in a pool of blood, head lying on a steel and concrete culvert cover and mouth filled with blood.

Several hours later, the owner noticed her dog was missing after she returned from work, and after reviewing surveillance footage, found the pet had managed to nudge open both the main door of her apartment and a corridor window before tragically falling to its death from the high-rise building.

In the sweltering heat, the carcass had started to decompose, with patches of fur beginning to fall off. He asked two passersby to help him carry the 45-kilogram dog onto his vehicle.

As the vehicle made its way to the pet funeral home, its owner wept inconsolably as she recounted her good times with her beloved pooch when she scanned photos and videos on her phone.

The dog joined the family the day she married seven-and-a-half years earlier. It had been chosen because of its rare color, black, and as a symbol of love between her and her husband before the marriage soured.

"The dog was so obedient that when my daughter was born five years ago, it was the one that handed me diapers," she said and showed a video of her daughter gleefully snatching snacks from the table atop the dog's back.

"I didn't say much, because I know what she wanted was someone to listen to her. I only said during her crying intervals that 'your dog was exceptional, and it was lucky to meet such a caring owner like you,'" He said.

As a pet mortician, He's original intention was to offer psychological counseling and emotional solace, and years of experience has made him more convinced that, in addition to providing a dignified send-off for pets, the profession is actually to serve people.

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