You would think burying your pet would be cheaper than burying a human, but as it turns out Chengdu has proven you wrong.
Last Saturday, a reporter from West China Metropolis Daily visiting a pet graveyard in Longquanyi District in Chengdu saw several hundred graves, all belonging to beloved deceased pets. Apparently, Chengdu has three of these places, all catering to pet owners and all situated far away from the city center. Interestingly enough, all of the land is privately owned and the burial services offered aren’t actively advertised, but have mainly spread through word of mouth and can be searched for online.
A grave can cost from 300 to 120,000 RMB, depending on your preference or pocket. And it seems like people are buying into this offer, as the reporter on site saw toys and chewy bones galore on top of various graves and tombs.
“Darling Niu Niu, seven years old, lively, naughty, witty and intelligent, loved to play and sing, a devoted companion for over six years…may you find health and happiness in heaven,” one eulogy reads.
These words are carved into the gravestone, along with picture of Niu Niu stuck to the top. Mrs. Peng, Niu Niu’s owner, comes to the grave every month to clean up and occasionally leave new toys. Niu Niu was Mrs. Peng’s beloved crossbreed, who unfortunately caught a disease and passed away.
“He was with me his whole life, burying him was like burying a dear relative,” she says.
After hearing about Chengdu’s pet graveyards, Mrs. Peng visited both Pujiang and Shuliang counties, and eventually settled on Longquanyi due to the distance from her house.
“After thinking about it I thought it would be more convenient this way,” she says.
At the time of Niu Niu’s burial, Mrs. Peng also brought a bag of chewy bones to place inside the grave, so that Niu Niu could eat well in heaven.
“Niu Niu loved to play with rag dolls,” Mrs. Peng says, and last Saturday she brought a brand-new one for Niu Niu’s grave. Having no children of her own, Mrs. Peng explains, “Niu Niu was like a child to me.”
After Niu Niu’s passing, it felt like losing a friend. But recently, Mrs. Peng and her husband decided to buy a new dog, as during their ordinary days at work her mother-in-law would get lonely at home. Even thought it’s already been a year, Mrs. Peng still misses Niu Niu, and every time she visits with her mother-in-law they both shed tears.
“When visiting Niu Niu, sometimes we would meet other pet owners,” she says. “Everyone would chat, and tell their pet stories, sometimes even comparing pets to see who knew the most tricks.”
Since last May, Mrs. Peng has been coming every month to visit, and despite her 85-year-old mother-in-law having problems walking, she also never fails to come along. After visiting for half an hour, they drive home. One trip back and forth is around 80 to 90 kilometers.
As it turns, out, the graveyard is divided into two parts: cremated and un-cremated pets. Regardless of gravestones, cremation and burial services are offered at 360 RMB to 1,000 RMB, depending on the weight of the pet. Fees are a one-time, full-payment and are tax free.
Pujiang county’s “Kindness Manor” pet cemetery was established ten years ago, and now has several thousand graves. Inside the building itself, there is a white carved marble gravestone of two angels worth 120,000 RMB, if you’re up for it.
According to the owner, most people make an effort to visit their pets time and again after burial, with one touching story of an middle-aged woman, who, for two years, visited a grave every week to place fresh flowers.
At Longquanyi, the Golden Chrysanthemum Cemetery currently holds 3,000 graves, with graves and cremated remains taking up half the space. For the past three years, there has been a 20% increase in orders, particularly during China’s Tomb Sweeping Festival, when visitors double. Currently, the cemetery’ occupants are 90% dogs, 5% cats and other animals include minks, rabbits, hamsters and more.
If you are interested in extravagant pet funerals closer to home, then you can check out this story. But if that isn’t quite for you, why not make your pet into a diamond instead?
By Kitty Lai
[Images via NetEase]