Sunday, September 09, 2012

What happens when your pet dies in Kuwait?

Ok, so this is going to be a rather somber post, but maybe someone can answer my question. If you are an animal lover or have had a pet, you will probably understand; while some out there will probably scoff at the whole concept.
Our family’s beloved dog died while I was home in the States this summer.  He was 12 years old and went peacefully in his sleep.

Our pets are treated like family members; pampered and cared for during their entire lives.  My own dog here in Kuwait is the same.  She is the only surrogate family member I have. She has been with me for 15 of my 16 years in Kuwait.  We treat our pets with respect; giving back the same unconditional love that they give us.

At 150 pounds, our dog, Rascal, was too large to bury in the back yard like we might have done with smaller pets.  (I had a pony when I was 13 who died of old age.  We had to pay $1000 to have her buried with a bulldozer.  Large animals are treated similar to humans and must be buried – by law – 6 feet underground.)   So, our family called and found an animal hospital that would take his body.

Like many other animal hospitals in Western countries, pet deaths are big business.  People like us don’t mind paying large amounts of money to have pets either cremated or buried; treated with respect.  There are even pet cemeteries where you can go to visit.  I’ve seen several with marble vaults and vases for flower placement.  It isn’t cheap.

Our family chose to have Rascal cremated.  His ashes were returned to us in a lovely carved walnut box with his name on a brass plaque.  The animal hospital also provided a plaster-cast paw print plaque with his name, date of birth and death; as well as a poem entitled, “the Rainbow Bridge.”  The technicians at the animal hospital were obviously accustomed to seeing grief-stricken customers and were kind and compassionate.

As I mentioned, my dog in Kuwait is now 15 years old.  She has been with me through it all:  helping me through new-to-Kuwait insecurities the year after I arrived in Kuwait.   Being with me when I feared my mother was on the plane from Boston (AA flight 11) on September 11.  Next to me when scuds were falling on Kuwait in 2003.  With her head on my chest any time I fell sick with a cold or flu.  Through relationships and friends and jobs and house moves.  She has always been there, always happy to see me.
I worry what I will do when she passes away.  Practically, I worry about what I will do with her doggy remains.  I have heard of people being picked up by police while burying their pets in the desert.  What is the alternative?  I can’t even think of just wrapping her little corpse and putting it in the trash.  Not after so many years of love and care.  What will I do?

I have been asked my many people through the blog about what to do and I don’t know the answer to this question.  What do you do when your pet dies in Kuwait?  Is there any way to send them off with dignity?

Update (Same Day)

I wrote to International Veterinary Hospital asking if they perform pet cremations.  They said they are planning to offer the service in the future.  Hopefully, I won't need them anytime soon (Inshallah), but it is good to know that a vet hospital is looking into it (and that you can get a quick, respectful response).

September 11

I talked to Bu Merdas last night.  I was trying not to cry because every time I think of the inevitable, it makes me all sad.  He was incredibly supportive and said he would help me when the time comes.  He is usually the kind of guy who makes jokes when things get serious, but he was so sympathetic and understanding.  He has had the misfortune of having to bury many family members and assist in the burial/funerals of extended family members.  I guess this has made him compassionate.  I feel a tremendous amount of relief just knowing that I can count on him.


Anonymous said...

You should know, more than anyone, that there always is a back door in Kuwait. So I am confident that you can manage, whether it be in the dead of night, to give your beloved dog a proper burial in this country. Yes, it is against the law to bury an animal in Kuwait soil, and if you were to call any of the animal hospitals in Kuwait they will probably close the phone down on you. So, find a quiet place where you and your friends can bury your dog under the dead of night - the Kuwaitis will never know. Who knows though what you might find if you start digging in their desert, if you know what I mean. On a human aspect to this subject, the first crematorium has been built in the UAE for foreigners, possibly they could have cremated your dog, but then you would have to put him on a plane. They also have foreign burial services there honoring our burial customs, which are confusing to the Emiritis, however, as the civil people that they are, realize that we are all not alike in our religious beliefs. God Bless the UAE!

Desert Girl said...

I wrote to IVH. It would be a good business for them to look into.

As for Desert Dawg: I think she's bound for a terracota pot on my terrace under a beautiful flowering tree. (I have given this a lot of thought.) Either that, or if Bu Merdas has mercy on me, he'll let me bury her on his farm.

Luke said...

For too long the girl lived in the desert, for her only companion she had a heart.
A promise, an oath, that they'll never be apart.
The girl feared and wondered, what would happen when its all shattered?
the desert was too dry for her tears, fighting the standers, her face with sorrow smeared.
She only hopes and dreams, that when the day comes it comes with no fears.
She looks around searching for way, as her troubles sway.
The only thing i can do, is to wish her to get through.

poetic shit a side, goodluck with that its really terrible how they treat animals in here ._. whats her name btw? she sounds like a good girl c: hope this farm thing works, many years later from now c:

Anonymous said...

Wow, cremations for dogs soon...too good to be true. I would like my dog cremated and then I will take him elsewhere to be properly buried. Thanks for the info.

Anonymous said...

I believe Royal Animal Hospital has some options.

Faisal Al-Mishaan said...

what ever you do don't take your dog to royal animal hospital, they killed my far cousins German Shepard, they game him an expired injection when they wanted 2 treat him with a surgery.