There’s no ‘pet culture’ in India. For most, it’s difficult to adopt and care for a pet. We don’t have laws and facilities in place that promote embracing a quadruped as your own. Luckily, globalization has introduced us to animal conservation societies like PETA, WWF and International Fund for Animal Welfare.
In the Indian city of Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), there are People for Animals (PFA). It was founded by Namrata Dugar, Gauri Maini, Alpana Bhartia, and Arushi Poddar in 1996. This organization has done a lot to conserve the stray animals of the city and the wildlife of surrounding forests. Yet, its best initiative came in the form of a Pet Cemetery, which was established in 2011.
Hindu rites involve cremating the dead. For animals, this arrangement is difficult. Moreover, people are running out of land to bury their lovable pets. PfA provided the citizens of Bangalore ample land to not just bury their pets, but to rekindle the relationship they had with their pets after their death.
A regular burial for your pet can cost around Rs 4,500 (around $69). A small platform above the burial costs Rs 18,000 (around $277). A proper headstone with a bigger platform can cost Rs 25,000 ($386). The Hindu ritual of cremation is restricted due to the rising environmental concerns that all the surrounding forests.
People celebrate important events they want to share with their deceased pets. They come with food, flowers, and sometimes even alcohol. Interestingly, there are also the spiritual few who bring psychics to contact their dead pets.
In a span of seven years, there have been more than 1,500 burials registered. People bury their dogs and cats mostly, but a lot of fish, hamster, and rabbit funerals have been done. The money raised by these funerals are used by People for Animals’ other conservational activities.
Since it was found, People for Animals has rescued more than 20,000 animals. Their conservational drive is divided into four ‘Rs’, namely Rescue, Recovery, Rehabilitation, and Release.
Animals are first taken out of their suffering situations by the rescue team. They are pacified and sedated, then taken to the vet. There, the health of the animal is analyzed and wounds are patched up. As the animal recovers, they are de-stressed with toys, clothing and a comfortable accommodation.
Patrons can also avail a ‘memorial sponsorship facility’ during their pet’s birth or death anniversary. It enables them to support a day’s care of an animal at PfA.