With Leo being only two years old, I have never thought of him passing on and leaving me. The death of a pet seemed distant. Until Rio’s departure.
Rio is my cousin’s dog and the first dog that I formed such a deep bond with. He would wag his tail whenever he saw me and start barking whenever he heard my name. Everyone in the family knew I was his favourite. So was he mine. You could even say that he was my first “puppy love”.
But his departure came as sudden as his arrival. He was still playing at my house two days before his death. There wasn’t any sign of him leaving even though he was 10 years old with a heart problem and lost almost all his teeth. We thought that he would still be with us for a few more years. But he left us just like that.
Cremating Rio was the only option for us as there is no burial site earmarked for animals in Singapore. I have decided to come up with a list of must-knows, so hopefully, you will be better prepared than me when the time comes.
Here are 5 things you need to know about Singapore’s pet cremation and columbarium services:
1. There are 24-hour hotlines at your service
Death can hardly be predicted and may occur at the most unexpected timing. With 24-hour service hotlines, you are able to get professional guidance and support during this tough time.
Mount Pleasant Pet Cremation Centre: 6250 8333
Mobile Pet Cremation Services: 9455 6355
Rainbow Paradise: 8862 7922
2. There are 3 types of cremation
There are three different approaches towards pet cremation – private cremation, individual cremation, and communal cremation.
Private cremation allows the pet to be placed in the cremation chamber alone and the remains will be returned to the owner in an urn. Family and friends are able to witness the cremation process.
Individual cremation involves the pet being cremated within an individual partition while sharing the cremation chamber with other pets. Pet owners will be able to bring their pet’s ashes back in an urn with the promise that it has not been mixed with others. However, they are unable to witness the process.
Communal cremation involves the pet being cremated with others. Pet owners will not get to witness the process or keep their pet’s ashes. Depending on the company, the ashes are often buried in a common burial ground or scattered at sea.
Prices depend on the size of the pet and range between:
Private and individual cremations: S$250 – S$800
Communal cremation: S$150 – S$350
A casket is not required for cremation. Most pet owners would lay their pet on a pee pad with flowers and treats (with no bones) scattered around the body.
3. Cremation may not occur on the same day
Most owners would prefer to settle their pet’s cremation as soon as possible. However, please be mentally prepared that cremation may not happen right after the pet is brought to the cremation facility.
It may be scheduled at a later time, depending on the cremation schedule and availability of slots. While waiting for an available slot, your pet will remain in safe hands and placed in a fridge to prevent decomposition.
4. Bring your pet’s ashes home, bury them in a common burial ground, or house them at a pet columbarium
Pet owners who opt for private or individual cremation can bring their pet’s ashes home or house it at a pet columbarium. Pet columbariums will usually require an initial fee and a maintenance fee for subsequent years – around S$200 to S$300 a year.
Both Mandai Pet Sanctuary operated by Mount Pleasant and Mobile Pet Cremation Services offer columbarium niches.
Some companies like Mount Pleasant also allow pet owners to bury their pet’s ashes in a common burial ground as some believe that their pet would have company and not be lonely.
5. You can also choose to have the ashes scattered at sea or converted into gemstones
For pet owners who like the idea of setting their pet “free” or have a pet that used to love water, they may want to scatter the pet’s ashes at sea.
They may be able to opt for sea scatter to be done by the cremation company either free or at a cost.
Otherwise, they will have to charter a boat to scatter their pet’s ashes personally. Religious rites, flowers, and offerings can be arranged for the personal trip. Do note that Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore specifies that scattering of ashes must be done 2.8km south of Palau Semakau.
Pet owners can also convert the ashes into gemstones at Singapore Casket. That’s because ashes have the same carbon composition structure as diamonds and other gemstones.
Final expenses coverage
It never hurts to be prepared for the worst. Some pet insurance companies like Happy Tails Pet Insurance offer health insurance policies that also cover final expenses, such as euthanasia, cremation, and funeral service.