Debameeta Bhattacharya lost her pet cat eight years ago. The pain of losing her, she says, still haunts her at times. Nannu was born at Debameeta’s house in Kolkata. For four years, she would be the family’s youngest daughter — joining them for meals, ignoring their calls at times, staring outside from the window sill but most of all, being the love of their lives. Her death was unexpected.
“She passed away in her sleep. We got to know only next day when she didn’t turn up for food. It was an emotionally draining period for the entire family. We didn’t lose an animal but a member of our family. We buried her in our backyard,” said Debameeta.
Sumantika Choudhury lost both her Pomerenian dogs, Doodle and Dudley, in quick succession.
“Doodle was 12 years old when he died in 2015. I think Dudley was grieving his companion’s death. He passed away six months later. I had got them both when they were puppies. The only burial ground I knew was in Thakurpukur area, some 20 kilometers from my home. Both died at night and I had to wait till next morning to bury them.”
As far as pets are concerned, Kolkata does not have a provision for a dignified burial. Most owners would either be forced to abandon their pets bodies outside or bury them wherever convenient.
But that will soon change with the government planning a 2.5-acre pet burial ground, to be managed by the New Town Kolkata Development Authority, in Rajarhat’s Action-Area II.
“This project was started on June 30 and is likely to be completed by the year-end”, said Debashis Sen, Chairman and Managing Director, Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO).
The project will also include a veterinary facility and a pet crèche.“This is an excellent initiative,” said Rohit Kumar, whose life revolves around his pet dog August.
“We treat our pets as our family member so in death too they deserve to be treated as one,” he added. The idea of a crèche has impressed Praveen Jha too.
“My wife and I go for short holidays frequently and try to take our dog Bravo with us whenever we can. But at times we have to leave him at private crèches. Money is not an issue as he is like our son but if a government facility comes up at par with private facilities, it would be a great option for pet parents like us,” he said.