Dogs to dust: pets get send-off with a human touch

Thu May 19, 2016 7:19am EDT
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By Meredith McGrath

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Chantal Detimmerman weeps at the funeral parlor as she spends a last few moments with her beloved Chico who has been prepared for cremation and laid out in a dog basket.

That is no disrespect for Chico.

Curled up as if asleep, with a garland of flowers around one paw, the Chihuahua is getting a high-class send-off at Animatrans, a funeral home that claims to be the first in Belgium to cater exclusively for pets.

"I loved him so much that I decided to keep his ashes, to always have Chico next to me," Detimmerman said.

Other customers choose to turn their dead pets into an even more tangible reminder.

"Arthur was a special duck," said Myrian Waeles, who nuzzles her nose against the mallard's green head as she poses for photographs for a Reuters Wider Image feature, at her home in nearby Lennik, a town west of Brussels.

For pictures, click on:

Arthur stares ahead with the same expression he has had for the last eight years, since he died and Waeles took him to Animatrans to be stuffed. The company also makes death masks, casting an impression of an animal's face in long-lasting resin.   Continued...

Patrick Pendville, founder of Animatrans, adjusts coffins made for animals at his shop in Brussels, Belgium April 15, 2016.  REUTERS/Yves Herman