Thanks to Inquirer.net for this article.
All dogs (and cats) can go to heaven in style
By Jeannette Andrade
Last updated 11/02/2007
MANILA, Philippines Thanks to the Philippine Animal Welfare Society, dog and cat owners can honor the memory of their departed pets in style.
In Katipunan Valley, Loyola Heights in Quezon City, part of a 5,000-sq m lot owned by the Manila Electric Co. has been turned into a burial ground for pets. The compound also houses the animal rehabilitation center of the organization.
Anna Cabrera, PAWS program director, said she prefers the term pet memorial to pet cemetery.
We never thought of this place as a burial ground,” Cabrera told the Inquirer. Initially, we just wanted to accommodate pet owners who live in condominium units or apartment buildings who have no lots of their own to bury their dead pets.”
Wall of remembrance
Apart from a common grave site where the animals are buried, there is a memorial wall on which is inscribed, Gone but not forgotten.” Underneath the words are gray and ecru tiles on which grief-stricken pet owners leave a message for their dead pets. There are also ledges on which they can place lighted candles or pictures of their departed furry friends.
Cabrera said that since the soft opening of the PAWS Animal Rehabilitation Center in 2001, people have been asking about a place where they could give their pets a proper burial.
We could not refuse them,” Cabrera said, adding that they knew many do not just dump” the bodies of their beloved pets that had given them unconditional affection.
She recalled that some people even had tombstones made for their pets, and PAWS accommodated them because it would have been awkward and cruel to turn them away.
Pet owners are asked to make a minimum donation of P500 to the organization to cover the cost of digging a grave and the holding of a short funeral service.
For those who want to leave an engraved message on the memorial wall which was inaugurated earlier this month, they have to pay P2,000 per tile.
According to Cabrera, the proceeds from the wall will go to the shelters operations.
They (pet owners) know this is a fundraising effort and they are making a donation to the shelter,” she explained.
Its a way for them to remember their pets and give back what their pets had given them: Unconditional love and loyalty for which they never asked for anything in return,” Cabrera stressed.
Some of the tiles on the memorial wall were already filled up when the Inquirer visited the pet memorial.
In one, Oscar thanked Fifi, his cat, whose companionship helped me through one of the most difficult periods of my life.”
In another, Oscar and Lana expressed their gratitude to their pet cat, Socks, for saving their sons life. One tile contained the words: Taco, our prince, you will be missed.” (There was no indication what kind of animal Taco was.)
There was also a message from a family who described their dogs Soda, Kitkat, and Biny as the light of their lives.
Tata, also known as PAWS president Nita Hontiveros-Lichauco, paid tribute to her departed cats by inscribing on one tile the words, All our meow-meows, Always loved ” There was another tile two ledges below for her dogs. All our bow-wows, Always loved ” the message on the second tile read.
There is a tile in honor of Hollis, a dog who traveled from New York to Manila and to Heaven from May 2004 to March 2006. Your memories will stay in my heart,” was Mama Medys message for her pet.
Philippine Idol finalist, Drae Ybaez, had the words, You will surely be missed,” on the tile he took out for his dog, Lucy Pevensie.
There were also dedications on other tiles to Sasha who was described as a doctor dog and Muffin, Alyas beloved dog” for whom life was short but sweet.”
Cabrera said that the generous donations from the pet owners are vital to the PARCs operations. They spend a whopping P75,000 every month looking after 36 dogs and 31 cats housed at the PAWS shelter.
The cost of owning a memorial tile is minimal compared to the price of having a pet cremated which is pegged at P5,000.