Tombstones with touching messages stir ones emotions at the “Pet Cemetery” at Nehrunagar in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
The cemetery — first of its kind by any civic body in the country — has witnessed 3,000 burials since 2007, when the place was earmarked for the purpose, to early this month. PCMC veterinary chief Dr Satish Gore said 2,852 burials of pet dogs and cats have taken place at the cemetery. “Add to this over 200 strays dogs and other animals, the figure of burial has gone beyond 3000,” he said.
The pet cemetery has a trees for shade and greenery. “The pet cemetery offers dignity in death for the pets…” says Deepak Pardeshi, a local resident. However, it seems this cemetery has run out of space. The plan to set up an incinerator remained a non-starter.
“We are looking for adjacent land to expand the cemetery,” said Dr Gore.
The charges for burial of a registered pet is Rs 50 and non-registered pet Rs 100. “The families whose pets die carry out final rites,” says Dr Gore. And they return a year later to pay tribute to the “dear departed.”
For the families, the buried pet is not a dog or a cat, but “their child, friend” which goes by names like Tyson, Maggie, Hrithik, Lucy and Racy, written with pride and in bold on tombstones.
The “bereaved” families seem to leave no stone unturned to construct the tombstone and take care of it. It is best exemplified by 48-year-old Bharat Bhushan Goswami, a small-scale industrialist. A resident of Pradhikaran, Goswami runs an industrial unit in Bhosari, but makes it a point to practically everyday visit the grave of their “child” to pay floral tributes.
“Our seven-month old Lucy died on November 3, 2013, but it left happiness of ‘saat janam’ (seven births) for us. Since November 4, I have been unfailingly visiting the cemetery…” he says. The Goswami family spent nearly Rs 75,000 to construct the tomb. “It is three feet deep and concrete…I have planted small trees near every grave,” he says in a choked voice.