Fancy pet burials: Kenyans go over the top to honour loved pets -Video

A growing number of Kenyan pet parents are grieving in different ways. 

What you need to know:

  • From taking their pets to funeral homes to cremation to holding to their fur, pet parents are sparing no expense for their deceased loved ones.
  • This is what is driving the trend. 
Video: Pets send-off gaining popularity among Kenyans

Most pet lovers go through a period of grief and pain when they lose their pets. It does not end with pampering them with massages, grooming, quality healthcare and more, some pet parents go the extra mile to give their fur babies a proper send-off at the time of their death.

A growing number of Kenyan pet parents grieve in different ways, some take their deceased pets to funeral homes for cremation while others prefer to bury their beloved pets and have a funeral service with family and friends.

Still, some choose to hold on to their dead pet's fur and ashes in urns on a shelf in the house as a memento.

Brenda Michelle who owns 15 dogs and cats in her Nairobi home lost one of her favourite dogs Helsinki mysteriously.

‘’Losing Helsinki was really tough for us; we have lost other pets before but it was very hard with Helsinki because she was perfectly healthy nothing wrong with her. I did not know how I could explain it to my children when they came back from school,’’ Brenda says.

She tells Nation.Africa that before they would leave it up to the vets when they lost a pet, but with Helsinki she wanted to make her burial special.

“My husband and I decided to transport her body back to our village home and have a small funeral service. Since Helsinki was very dear to my children I did not want them to experience this because they are still young to understand the weight of loss and burials,’’ she adds.

On honouring deceased pets, Anne Kamau, who has two sibling dogs, says losing one of her dogs Bobo was devastating because it felt like losing a family member.

“When we decided to get Bobo and Coco, it was a family venture, we looked through the dogs on offer and chose to settle for the German shepherd, we even identified a family where we would get them,’’ says Anne.

What you do with your pet's body is a matter of personal preference, and Anne and her family chose to give their dogs to their vet for burial.

“We paid a figure and they came for Bobo’s body, after some time of preservation they took him for burial. We did not go physically for the burial but we did the procedure at home,’’ she adds.

Pet funerals gain traction in Kenya

Brenda also adds, “Some people plant a tree in honour for their pets as others keep fur or nail clippings.’’

The cremation

Lee Funeral Home is well known for its human body preservation and cremation services. However, Anne and her family identified a gap in the market for alternative pet cremation services.

Just 16 kilometres from the funeral home in Hardy (near Ongata Rongai in Nairobi), a private entity that does not allow pet owners inside the premises has been operating a pet crematorium for almost three years.

Mr Paul Van Brussel, co-director of the Lee funeral home, tells us about a special pet ambulance that transports the pet corps for cremation.

“The cremation will either happen immediately or the next day in the pet incinerator and the process takes about an hour or an hour and a half depending on the size of the pet. Once the incinerator is cooled down we take the ashes out and they get processed and it is put in a pet urn,’’ Mr Lee describes the process.

Mr Brussel says the cost of cremation depends on the size of the animal and ranges from Sh 30,000 to Sh 65,000.

Additionally, the cost will depend on whether the pet will be collected from your home, and the size and type of urn used to store the ashes.

Elsewhere pet owners are opting for aquamation, which is a more environmentally friendly way of disposing either human or pet remains using alkaline water.

In the USA, it can cost from $550 to euthanise a dead pet which is almost Sh 80,000 depending on the size of the pet.